As a German, a Catholic and a university lecturer with an international background, I wonder how the Synod can be interpreted. This is a path in communion between the groups seems difficult at the moment. To borrow Romano Guardini’s thought, instead of seeking an ‘ethos of power’ together, it would be necessary to take responsibility for the consequences that a ‘culture of looking the other way’ has caused throughout the Church. Instead, attempts are being made in political power struggles to push through or prevent reforms. However, this “construction error” of the Synod path has its roots in the history of German Catholicism, which immediately after the Council split into irreducible groups. Discussions are dragged into church politics: from liturgical reform, democracy, peace, environmental sustainability, all moral and theological questions about sexuality and the protection of human life. Even the issue of abuse. A simple new “redistribution of power” cannot create a “new ethos of power”. In this context, even if there are “more women” it will bring no fundamental change.
In his letter to Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez as Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope explains the new task as “To guard the teaching that flows from faith to give reason for our hope, but not as enemies who point and condemn”. Here he is citing from Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’, inspired by Guardini. The Guardinian principle of polar opposition comes to the rescue for the Church to rethink these basic categories, as well as the contemplative understanding of the world. Perhaps one should better understand the Pope’s focus on the synodal path as a multifaceted reality in ecclesial communion. This could precisely prevent mutual stigmatization, which does not follow the principle of polar opposition, which is distinguished in the relationship of opposites, either by contradiction (of a primacy of the opposite), or by the simple synthesis of the two poles in an integration of one into the other. The truth consists in the courage to stand within the tensions to encourage “a healthy integration of knowledge”.
By Yvonne Dohna Schlobitten