Culture News & Commentary

German Synod Fails to Pass Extreme Changes to Church Teaching on Sex and Sexuality

"In an everything-is-permissible, as-long-as-its-consensual world, the resolution inferred, Biblical sexuality isn’t just backwards, it’s irrelevant, and dangerously out of step with the spirit of the age."

A group of bishops in Germany have failed to pass legislation intended to overturn 2000+ years of tried and true Church teaching on marriage, and sex this week.

Advocates of the 30-page “pastoral care” document titled: Life in succeeding relationships – The principles of renewed sexual ethics lost 33-21.

The failure to gain a ‘two-thirds majority necessary to pass the resolution,’ effectively sank the ‘sex revolution’ resolution, PillarCatholic explained.

The chief aim of the proposals put forward by the group of left-wing bishops calling themselves the Synodal Way, is to ‘re-orient’ pastoral care, by redefining how the Church views sex, and sexuality.

Advocates claimed that overturning the ‘restrictions on sex,’ needed to happen in order to bring the Church more in line with ‘Jesus’ message of God’s love,’ and ‘the findings of sexual science.’

Through the proposal, bishops argued that contradictions between Church teaching and the sexual experiences of many in today’s society made re-orientation of pastoral care an imperative, and the redefinition of sex and sexuality, a necessity. 

They said they were ‘convinced it will not be possible to re-orientate pastoral care without re-defining the emphasis of the Church’s sexual teaching to a significant degree.’

This is because, they alleged, pastoral care orthopraxy guided by Biblical tradition, the Church (and biological science), is harmful, and abusive because current teaching was grounded in the past.

To back their claims, Synodal Way bishops argued that changes needed to happen because current teaching vs. current sexual practices proved the church was out of step and out of date.

In an everything-is-permissible, as-long-as-its-consensual world, the resolution inferred, Biblical sexuality isn’t just backwards, it’s irrelevant, and dangerously out of step with the spirit of the age.

According to advocates, ‘the Christian faith, enables joyful, liberating relationships – even in constellations that the Magisterium currently still describes as illegitimate.’

Therefore, the authors justified, syncretising Church teaching with the new normal on sex and sexuality wasn’t heretical. 

The 30-page document reasoned that suffering was being caused by, what its authors said was, a ‘fixation of sexuality on marriage.’

‘In particular,’ the document states, ‘the teaching that sexual intercourse is only ethically legitimate in the context of a lawful marriage, and only with a permanent openness to the transmission of life.’

With carefully selected texts from the Bible, the bishops called ‘love the central formative principle,’ then used that to defend their prescription for alignment with the “love is love” zeitgeist, declaring:

“The entire Biblical tradition testifies to only love constituting the path ‘back to paradise’ and to successful relationships.”

Further, the “Synodal Way” proposals demanded the Church accommodate sexual revolution cultural “norms,” by rejecting Biblical boundaries for relationships, by removing:

“The absolute condemnation of so-called artificial methods of contraception, as well as of masturbation, sexuality between same-sex or unmarried persons, or persons who have had a divorce and civil remarriage, and as well as the acknowledgement of the existence of gender identities beyond the binary nature of ‘male’ and ‘female.'”

Ruling out paedophilia in section A.5.2, only because ‘children cannot consent to sexual acts,’ the bishops affirmed ‘all [other] personal forms of sexual relations,’ as being essential to human dignity.        

In Principle 5, page 21, the resolution adds:

“Same-sex sexuality – also expressed in sexual acts – is therefore not a sin that causes separation from God, and it is not to be judged as intrinsically bad.”

After failing to secure a win, stakeholders who voted for the proposals expressed anger at the 21 who dissented, while others staged a walkout.

According to the Catholic News Agency, The Synodal Way is ‘Organized by the German Bishops’ Conference together with the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).’

The purpose of the Catholic leftist movement is to discuss ‘the way power is exercised in the Church; the priesthood; the role of women, and sexual morality.’

In July, The Synodal Way caused the Vatican to issue a ‘schism warning,’ asserting that:

“The group does not have the power to compel bishops and the faithful to adopt new forms of governance and new orientations of doctrine and morals.”

The Vatican added:

“It would not be permissible to introduce new official structures or doctrines in dioceses before an agreement had been reached at the level of the universal Church, which would constitute a violation of ecclesial communion and a threat to the unity of the Church.”

Ironically, the Catholicism’s command and control central may not have to act to avoid a macro-schism.

Anger towards dissenters, and a general fallout from the failure to pass the Life in succeeding relationships – The principles of renewed sexual ethics, may remedy the potential headache if the splinter group, splits apart in a schism of its own.