Vicar General contradicts Bishop on Synodal Path

Pfeffer contradicts Oster: Synodal Path does not aggravate crisis

Does the Synodal Path with its resolutions shake the foundations of the faith and thus aggravate the crisis of the Church? This was the argument of Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau. The Vicar General of Essen, Klaus Pfeffer, vehemently contradicts him.

You will never catch this cleric in clericals

Essen's Vicar General Klaus Pfeffer rejects Passau Bishop Stefan Oster's fear that the Synodal Path could lead to an intensification of the "crisis of faith". On Facebook on Wednesday, Pfeffer wrote, without mentioning Oster's name, that such accusations were "like a slap in the face for all those who, out of the deepest conviction of their faith, stand up for a Church in which no one has to be afraid of the abuse of power and violence of any kind any more". 

To speak of a crisis of faith here is not appropriate, Pfeffer continued. The people who quarrel with the church or leave it are quite grown up and are looking for their own way of faith in all freedom. "Listening to them - and especially to those who have suffered immeasurably within the space provided by the Church - could perhaps still help to recognise and overcome the causes of a massive 'Church crisis'," the Vicar General emphasised. But he feared that there would not be much time left for this.

Criticism from Oster

In the current issue of the international theological journal "Communio", Oster had expressed fundamental criticism of the structure and contents of the Synodal Path. For the bishop, the resolutions that want to "reformulate" doctrines are "not simply further development, certainly not 'cautious' further development, as some bishops also want to see it, but actually rather a break". They are not "gradual additions to the existing doctrine", but "something essentially different". He therefore feared that the crisis of faith in the Church in Germany would not be remedied by the Synodal Path, but exacerbated.

In his Facebook post, Pfeffer also turned in general against "the warnings against the Synodal Path and against any reforms in our Church, which are repeatedly voiced from certain circles and unfortunately also by leading leaders - often in a remarkably sharp tone". More and more people are therefore "despairing of our Church and especially of the behaviour of some responsible Church representatives".