Picture does the Luther: Tuesday's headline © DR
Will all be well now? Bild newspaper "hammers the pope with 12 theses on his church" and makes twelve demands for a "modern, open church". our site puts the claims through the fact check here.
What is there to the theses and demands of the Bild newspaper on the Catholic Church?? We do the fact check!
1. Thesis: Open the files and archives! A new beginning begins with credibility! As long as the Vatican locks up investigation reports on thousands of abuse cases of the Catholic Church in secret archives, this is not possible. This is why Pope Francis must open all files in all churches around the world to investigators and research.
Fact: Bishops in Germany are currently considering how to open sexual abuse files. Privacy must be respected because, if necessary. Even the names of completely uninvolved persons are listed in the files. Individual dioceses – such as the Archdiocese of Cologne – are cooperating with the public prosecutor's office and have hired independent law firms to conduct a full and unsparing investigation. Cardinal Marx in Rome also questioned "papal secrecy" in abuse cases – a point critics link to many cover-ups.
2. Thesis: Allow control! Shady alliances of men, organized crime, obscure circles: In real life, it's a case for police and prosecutors. The church may no longer evade the investigative authorities of the states by its own laws and rules. Not only before God, but also in court, all are equal!
Fact: Germany already has a rule that all possible crimes related to abuse are consistently reported to prosecutors. The accusations are investigated and reported not only when crimes are actually committed, but also when accusations are made. The only exception is that victims explicitly do not want it. In other countries, only serious crimes must be reported until now. In the Vatican a tightening of the regulations is in work.
3. Thesis: make zero tolerance true! For far too long, the Catholic Church has been considered a hotbed of abuse of protected persons. Where are the publicly denounced cases of abuse, where are the excluded confidants and cover-ups?? Show us how serious you are about the pope's promise of zero tolerance.
Fact: In Germany, all the bishops had already imposed the zero-tolerance rule on themselves. The pope has already dismissed high-ranking cardinals like McCarrick (Washington) and Pell (Australia) from their posts in the run-up to the recent abuse summit. The former was even completely removed from the priesthood.
4. Thesis: Abolish the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith! The church does not tolerate any contradiction in the faith, it suppresses and fights it through its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 300 years after the Enlightenment, this overpowering institution is no longer compatible with a church of free, open faith. Abolish them!
Fact: Even if there are individual problems with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the universal church, the abolition of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not currently under discussion.
5. Thesis: End of hypocrisy! Priests are human beings before and after they are ordained to the priesthood. The human soul needs love, the human body sexuality. No one believes the Catholic Church that a majority of priests adhere to celibacy. That's why it would be sincere to open up the rules, relax them, modernize them – and in the process end the far too frequent condemnation of homosexuality!
Fact: Individual bishops have also openly spoken out in favor of a relaxation of celibacy and want to put access to the priesthood to the test. Other bishops strongly oppose abolition of celibacy. Since there have been married priests for centuries in the history of the Church, and since married priests also serve in the Orthodox Churches linked to Rome, it would be easier to adapt the Church's regulations here, precisely because priests are lacking in many Western countries. Whether individual bishops' conferences are pressing ahead here? Outcome at least open.
Also in questions with the evaluation of homosexuality there is a lot of movement within the Catholic Church. More and more German bishops would like to see the scientific findings being taken into account more and more. Worldwide, however, there are great differences among those responsible for the church, especially in the classification and evaluation of homosexuality.
6. Thesis: Allow women! Women have the right to speak in every place in Europe – just not in the churches. The dignity of priests continues to be barred to them. The Catholic Church is a men's church, thus denying the equality of men and women. This path leads to the past, not to the future!
Fact: Bishops have been calling for years for women to be more involved in leadership positions. In more and more German dioceses and also in the Vatican, women can now be found in leadership positions. Overall, however, men still clearly dominate everywhere and at all levels. The demands of catholic women's associations and the ZDK (lay representation) for the admission of women to ordination offices are being discussed. A fast implementation is not in sight here also in view of the universal church. Most recently, Pope JP II had "authoritatively determined" that no new regulation is possible here. Pope Francis also says here the "door is closed"!".
7. Thesis: Become humble! The rings you wear, the places of worship you preach in, the palaces you live in: all these belong to the members of the Church. They serve the glory of God, not self-congratulation.We know that God hears us even without you. Do you know that too?
Fact: Pope Francis has already declared war on all clericalism, pomp and ostentation since he took office. He has not moved into the papal apartment and continues to live in the guest house because he does not want to live in isolation. He also sets symbolic signs by renouncing luxury cars. At least at the top, the Pope consistently sets a good example and wants to follow Jesus in this way.
8. Thesis: Dare more democracy! Those who pay taxes are allowed to have a say through their right to vote, that's how it is in democratic societies. But not in the church! It must make a choice: Either it abolishes the church tax, or in the future it lets its members have a say in important personnel matters – bishops, cardinals.
Fact: Church does not see itself as a democracy. It is difficult to vote on truths of faith. Lay people already have a say in many areas. In Germany, however, there are z.B. in elections only a very low participation. Regulations for even more say and control of power are currently under discussion in the Vatican.
9. Thesis: Church must become younger! Up to the age of 80 cardinals can participate in the election of the pope – a conclave of old men! If the church wants to be modern, it must rejuvenate its leadership ranks. An association dominated by old men is out of touch with the reality of life for ordinary people.
Fact: In the church, there is only a minimum age for a few offices at all. But it is a fact that in many cases high offices in the Catholic Church are only given at a certain age. Compared to other institution and businesses, the church lags in age – but could rejuvenate without legal problems.
10. Thesis: children belong in the church! God keeps putting the future of the world in the hands of our children. Where does the church show that it has internalized this? A church that offers no care, not even clarification, to abused persons, and that conceals illegitimate priests' children and deprives them of their childhood, protects itself at the expense of the most vulnerable.
Fact: Since the time of Jesus, the church's program has been: "Let the children come to me!" is actually implemented everywhere. Whether it's daycare, kindergarten or communion and confirmation – church is well positioned here.
11. Thesis: Enlighten Argentina! The pope must lead by example with his head held high! Therefore, he must finally clear up: What did he know about the atrocities of the military dictatorship in his home country Argentina, what did the military bishops, the chaplains, the priests know? All archives must be opened!
Fact: The Pope himself has repeatedly explained his role in times of the Argentine military dictatorship. In Buenos Aires, those on the sidelines called him only "cardinal of the poor". Whether he himself still has black spots on his white vest, but in the end only he knows himself.
12. Thesis: Speak Benedict! Pope Benedict XVI., the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, knows the darkest secrets of the recent church history. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, protecting the Vatican was his duty. What happened in the Vatican Bank? How many cases of abuse are known, how long have they been going on?? What drove him to resign? Benedict, speak to the faithful – they have a right to do so!
Fact: The Pope Emeritus has decreed his own seclusion from the world. On rare occasions, it intervenes in current debates, mostly in writing. Pope Francis meets him also publicly regularly and is grateful for his advice. Benedict unlikely to speak out in current abuse debate. Whether there are other reasons for resignation besides the ones he himself gave is and remains an open question. At the end of the year for priests, Benedict XVI said. Already: "Today we see in a truly frightening way that the greatest persecution of the Church by enemies does not come from outside, but arises from sin within the Church."
Conclusion: Some of the image theses have long been best Catholic program. Other points are currently being worked out in Germany and in the Vatican. Some of the theses have been hotly debated for years – others are currently difficult for the universal church to imagine. But when the popular newspaper BILD, with a circulation of 1.5 million and a good 10 million readers, puts these theses on the front page, it becomes very clear what challenges the Catholic Church is currently facing if it wants to proclaim the Good News to the whole people.