The Synodal Path will not resurrect German Catholicism
Source: The Catholic Herald
A left-turn by the German Catholic Church is unlikely to resurrect Catholicism in the country, as Germany’s progressive Synodal Path seemingly draws the wrong conclusions about why Catholics are abandoning the faith. The Synodal Path comprises a series of conferences of the German Catholic Church to discuss many questions. A majority at a conference in February endorsed women’s ordination, same-sex partnerships getting a public blessing, reforming teachings on sexual ethics, and allowing married priests.
The Synodal Path seemingly got another boost this week after it was revealed that most German Catholics back abortion. A survey conducted by INSA Consulere on behalf of Die Tagespost asked responders if it is good that the Pope and Church speak against abortion. Just 17 per cent agreed, compared to 58 per cent who opposed it. This can be contrasted in Poland where data from one Kantar poll found 62 per cent of Poles support abortion only in certain circumstances.
The INSA Consulere poll is hardly shocking, however. German Catholics have been trending liberal for some time, much like Catholics in the rest of western Europe. Indeed, what the Pew Research Center discovered with regards to a divide on social values across Europe – which is effectively split now between a progressive west and a conservative east – is also mirrored among the Continent’s Catholics, with US Catholics basically trending along with western European Catholics.
According to Pew: “In Western Europe, large majorities of Catholics said in 2017 that they support legal same-sex marriage. That was the case in the Netherlands (92%), the United Kingdom (78%), France (74%) and Germany (70%). Same-sex marriage is legal in most of the Western European countries surveyed.” Pew found, however, that “in almost all of the Central and Eastern European countries surveyed by the Center in 2015 and 2016, most Catholics oppose same-sex marriage”. This included “Nine-in-ten Catholics in Ukraine” who “said same-sex marriage should be illegal, as did 66% of Catholics in Hungary and 62% of Catholics in Poland.” Moreover, the majority of “nations in Central and Eastern Europe do not allow legal same-sex unions”.
The data for general acceptance of same-sex partnerships is more ambiguous, but the trend lines are also clear. In Germany, for instance, 93 per cent of Catholics are supportive. Figures for the UK and US were 86 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively. This drops to 48 per cent in Hungary, 46 per cent in the Czech Republic, and 45 per cent in Poland. Given such numbers, one could see why the Synodal Path assumes a progressive turn by the Church in Germany will save Catholicism.
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