“Attack on unity

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller sees the recent open letter by prominent German Catholics calling for reforms in the church as an “attack on unity”.

In an article for the “Tagespost” published in Wurzburg, he calls the authors of the letter a “clerical-men's alliance group”. The Jesuit Fathers Ansgar Wucherpfennig and Klaus Mertes, as well as the Frankfurt city dean Johannes von Eltz, wanted to engage the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, as “champion and enforcer” of their “favorite agenda” at the “abuse summit”.

No verifiable allegations

Muller accused the signatories of making neither empirically verifiable nor logically plausible claims. In his view, the study published in September on abuse in the Catholic Church in Germany cannot be used to demand, for example, the abolition of celibacy, the priesthood of women or the desacramentalization of the apostolic office and its transformation into a religious-social professional office.

The biggest failure in Germany at the moment is to be persuaded that the teaching of the apostles and the church is outdated and that the church can be saved by adapting it to “this world,” the cardinal said. Instead, however, it is necessary to examine oneself through a renewal of thinking in order to recognize what the will of God is.

Letter: Abuse has “also systemic reasons”

The open letter from nine prominent Catholics to the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference was printed in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” on the weekend. Background is the planned meeting on the subject of abuse in the Vatican. Among other things, the signatories call for “genuine separation of powers,” an opening of the ordained ministry to women, the abolition of mandatory celibacy, and a new sexual morality including a “just evaluation” of homosexuality.

The letter states, among other things, “the sexual abuse of wards by Catholic clergy and the attempts in the area of responsibility of the bishops to cover up such acts have brought much harm to the lives of those affected and have shaken the faith of Catholic Christians in a wide area”. Protecting protected persons is “urgently necessary”. Because “people must not look for the Good Shepherd in the Church and in doing so come under the wolves”. Abuse in the church has “also systemic reasons”.

Give diocesan priests freedom to choose life form

The vast majority of active Catholics in Germany no longer support the “pre-modern order” of the church, it continues. “They are just enduring it now. And every year it is tens of thousands who throw off the burden and leave.”

The authors of the letter ask that “exaggerations of the ordained ministry be reduced” and that it be opened up to women. They demand: “Give diocesan priests the freedom to choose their way of life, so that celibacy can once again credibly point to the kingdom of heaven. Listen to the testimony of the Bible and the experiences of believers, and make a fresh start with sexual morality – an understanding and just assessment of homosexuality included.”

The signatories conclude with a plea to the German bishops to take charge of the situation. The calls for “courageous reforms” were joined by other well-known Catholics in the appeal.

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Christina Cherry
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