Viennese theologian Paul Michael Zulehner does not see possible splits within the Church as arguments against exceptions to the rule of celibacy. “This threat is not an argument against reason,” Zulehner said Wednesday in an interview with Cologne-based

There will only be splits “if the Church continues as up until now,” added the pastoral theologian. “If one decides for unity above all one has already decided for stagnation, and that for the Church – especially in our latitudes – would of course be a dreadful affair, if we don’t move forward.”

If conflicts were avoided it would only reinforce existing problems , stressed Zulehner. “If we continue as always, then as a Catholic Church in Europe and North America we will shrink to a completely meaningless sect.”

Resistance to Pope Francis

If the Pope should declare at the Amazon Synod that married men can be ordained in the future, he should expect further opposition, Zulehner said. “Because the Pope is moving so quickly, the resistance is also edgier and probably more personalized.” In essence, it is “about the question of modernization of the Church.”

The Synod of Bishops planned for October 2019 is titled “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and a Holistic Ecology”. The focus of the meeting will be pastoral care and environmental protection.