Seventy-four Catholic bishops from four continents have signed a “fraternal open letter” to their episcopal counterparts in Germany, expressing concern over the German Church’s controversial “Synodal Path.”

While noting the need for reform in the life of the Church, the letter states that “Christian history is littered with well-intended efforts that lost their grounding in the Word of God, in a faithful encounter with Jesus Christ, in a true listening to the Holy Spirit, and in the submission of our wills to the will of the Father.” The letter states that Germany’s controversial “Synodal Path” — a reform effort, backed by the majority of German bishops, that calls for fundamental changes to the Church’s teaching on sexuality, blessings for same-sex sexual unions, and the priestly ordination of women — “risks leading to precisely such a dead end.”

The letter, released publicly this morning at 8am ET, follows other recent expressions of fraternal concern over the German “Synodal Path,” also known as the “Synodal Way.” On Feb. 22, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, wrote a letter to the German bishops expressing his “deep concern and anxiety” over the process, while the Nordic bishops cautioned against “capitulation to the Zeitgeist” in a March 9 letter.

Today’s letter, however, is differentiated by the international scope — and in some cases, prominence — of its signatories. Bishops from Africa, Australia, Europe and North America, 10 countries in total, have added their names to the letter. The list includes four cardinals — Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and Australian Cardinal George Pell — 15 archbishops, and 55 bishops.

Currently the letter’s 74 signatories include 48 Americans, including seven archbishops: Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, Archbishop Emeritus Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, who previously wrote his own criticism of the first texts to emerge from the German “Synodal Path.”

Notably, the letter does not include the signature of Archbishop José Gomez, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Additionally, none of the six cardinal metropolitans in the U.S had signed the document at the time of its publication.

Full story at NC Register.