German bishops © Arne Dedert (KNA)
Pope's ambassador Nikola Eterovic calls on German bishops to take Pope Francis' letter "To the Pilgrim People of God in Germany" seriously.
"The Holy Father's letter deserves special attention," says Eterovic in a greeting published Monday evening at the start of the bishops' autumn plenary session in Fulda.
It is in fact the first time since the encyclical of Pius XI, written in 1937., The nuncio stressed that the Pope was dedicating a letter of his own to the members of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Francis praises and exhorts to the synodal way
In the 19-page letter, Francis in June praised the commitment and reform efforts of German Catholics. At the same time, Francis urged unity with the universal church. The guiding criterion of renewal must be evangelization, he said.
The occasion for the letter is the "synodal journey" planned by the bishops. Starting in December, this reform debate will focus, among other things, on the role of women in the church. Other central themes are power and the separation of powers, as well as sexual morality and the priestly way of life.
The reform dialogue and Pope Francis' letter are the subject of deliberations at the plenary assembly of German bishops, which runs until Thursday.
Annunciation must be the focus
In his unusually long greeting, Ambassador Eterovic, citing Francis, affirmed that the focus of the "synodal journey" must be the proclamation of Jesus' message. For this, "unity between the universal Church and particular Churches is essential".
Most recently, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, had questioned the content and canonical nature of the "synodal journey" in another letter.
The president of the German Bishops' Conference, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, rejected these reservations and discussed the ie last week in Rome. At the start of the plenary assembly in Fulda, Marx expressed confidence. During his talks in Rome, he was shown "no stop sign".