WASHINGTON — The head of the German bishops’ conference responded to an open letter from more than 70 bishops from four continents and expressed surprise at some of what they said — and did not say. Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the of the German bishops’ conference, thanked the bishops for their April 11 letter and said he was glad that the bishops were taking the process of Germany’s Synodal Path seriously. But he assured them that “the Synodal Path in no way undermines the authority of the church, including that of Pope Francis, as you write.” In a letter dated April 14 and published on the website of the German bishops’ conference, the Limburg bishop reminded Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver and other letter signers from North America, Africa, Italy and Australia that the decision to embark on the Synodal Path was to confront the systemic causes of the abuse and its cover-up. He said it was “our attempt to renew a credible proclamation of the Good News. This occasion and context is particularly important to us, but, unfortunately, it is not mentioned at all in your letter. I would be very surprised, however, if you and the signatories of the open letter did not see the importance of the necessity to face the question of abuse as a church and to draw consequences for the church and its structures.” Bishop Bätzing said it was important to speak openly about power and abuse of power in the church. “Euphemistic dressing up, as you try to do in your letter, does not really help,” the bishop said.