Polish bishops reject German reform demands

Poland's bishops have pledged to resist changes to Catholic teaching on marriage and family life at October’s synod on the family and have rejected reform demands from some German and Austrian Catholics.

“We certainly won't be going in the theological direction presented by certain German-speaking circles”, said Poznan’s Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, president of the bishops' conference, adding, “We believe the output of Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and recent statements by Pope Francis, are enough to view church teaching as a continuum, not as a revolution.

“Polish church delegates will certainly stick to the understanding of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II,” confirmed Msgr Jozef Kloch, spokesman for the Polish bishops' conference, after the bishops approved a position paper for the synod.

“As the vicar of Christ, the Holy Father will decide what can be accepted. In this sense, we've nothing to fear. At the Second Vatican Council, there was also intense debate, so arguments and conflicts are quite normal," said Msgr Kloch.

Adding that the Polish Church was determined to resist calls for reform of issues such as homosexuality and Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, he said there were no plans to publish Polish responses to a questionnaire circulated to dioceses with the outline, for the Oct. 4-25 synod.

“This wasn't an academic research project, just a survey to help the Apostolic See know our position, nothing more,” he said, adding, “I don't think our bishops would place the results on such a high level as to publish them.