A summary by Christian Weisner:
The Synodal Path is a joint project of the German Bishops’ Conference and the official lay organisation “Central Committee of German Catholics“.
It is influenced by the so-called MHG study, a research project initiated by the German bishops on sexual abuse in the German Church since WW2, published in September 2018.
It is not a Synod according to Canon Law. But after intense discussions with the Vatican there are now Statutes of the Synodal Path for a process of discussions and resolutions of clerics and lay people scheduled for about two years on the following topics:
Translated from the German with DEEPL:
Press release Munich/Rome, 12.2.2020
First Statement of We are Church on the Post-Synodal Letter of Pope Francis on the Pan-Amazonian Synod
The People's Movement of the Church We Are Church sees the post-synodal letter published today as a letter that is first of all of great importance for the people and peoples living in the Amazon, but also appeals to the world community to finally take effective responsibility in view of the situation in the nine countries of the Amazon region, which is important for the whole world.
In his usual clear language Pope Francis names the social, cultural and ecological problems, but at the same time he also points out visions of hope resulting from faith and Christian responsibility.
Apart from fundamental appreciation of the letter that is dedicated to the exploitation in Amazonia, it must also become clear that what "flesh and blood" should accept, what should grow "without weakening the identity, what should be credible and help the churches to find new life" is no longer possible in Germany, in Europe and everywhere after the abuse scandal without addressing the question of celibacy and the question of ordination offices for women. The church, its teaching and its structure also needs an inculturation in Europe which can be accepted and supported by the faithful. This is not the case at present.
Thus, against the background of the synodal journey that has just begun in Germany and which is connected with justified expectations also of structural church reforms, it is very disappointing that Francis in this post-synodal letter does not promise any opening for married priests and no ordination of women. Does he lack courage or is it the Cardinals who refuse any reform, such as Burke, Sarah, Müller and Brandmüller, and also the former Pope Benedict, who prevent Francis from allowing courageous steps for the future of the Church? Is the Roman Catholic Church thus proving to be completely incapable of reform?
Some selected aspects:
His call for a missionary and inculturated Church with an Amazonian face:
► This image of an inculturated church must be and become possible in the future in the same way for other regions of the world.
His statement that the priesthood in the universal church is not monolithic and takes different forms in different places on earth. Francis avoids a concrete statement for or against the celibate form of life:
► This is possibly also a consequence of the recent very irritating article by the former Pope Benedict on the question of celibacy and shows the dilemma in which Francis finds himself.
The emphasis on the common responsibility of priests, deacons, religious and laity, that is, people from the People of the Church, for the growth of communities. Here the Pope also expressly mentions "lay community leaders endowed with appropriate powers", which includes both women and men:
► This must become exemplary also for the German situation.
His warning against a discussion about the ordination of women. He connects this with his since the beginning of his pontificate again and again very clear criticism of the "clericalization" to which the discussion is directed. Rather, he suggests "the emergence of other specifically female ministries and charisms", without however becoming concrete:
► This is particularly disappointing for women and even more so for religious women, and at least in the European cultural area it can no longer be communicated.