“Church is moving away from the everyday life of the faithful”

Communication and the church: if Jesuit Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig has his way, the two don't go well together. But communication is not the church's only construction site, according to the theologian.

Theologian and Jesuit priest Ansgar Wucherpfennig criticizes church communication. "There is a danger that the church, especially in its magisterial statements, moves very far away from the people to whom it actually has to proclaim the Good News," he said in an interview with the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (Thursday). In the scientific operation of an ecclesiastical university, "the statements and documents of church doctrine" are nevertheless to be taken into account.

In mid-November, it became known that Wucherpfennig would be able to work again as rector of the Catholic University of St. George in Frankfurt. Asked whether the hierarchical forms of communication were contemporary with regard to his own case, Wucherpfennig said, "I don't think so." A direct inquiry with him would have been sufficient from his point of view, in order to clarify disputed statements.

Long struggle over "Nihil obstat"

Wucherpfennig had already been re-elected for a third term as rector in February. However, the Vatican had not yet given him the necessary declaration of no objection ("Nihil obstat"), which had met with massive criticism. In interviews, the Jesuit had been critical of the church's treatment of homosexuals and women and had advocated, among other things, blessing ceremonies for same-sex partnerships.

The Jesuit priest also rejected Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller's accusation of "practical atheism". In an interview, Muller had said that the Wucherpfennig case showed an intrusion of atheism into the church. "I suspect that he never listened to me or read what I wrote," says Wucherpfennig. He does not hold the view that God plays no role in the moral actions of Christians: "That is not the case, I never said that."

Role of women and church sexual teachings

With regard to the sexual morals of the church, not only homosexuality plays a role, "but also the question of how the church can respond to the fact that an orderly bourgeois family life has long ceased to be representative in society," Wucherpfennig continued.

The inclusion of women also seems to him to be an urgent ie. A first step could be a transformation of the diaconate. For him it is "a question of justice whether women have the possibility, as soon as they are in need of God's mercy, to turn to women who are allowed to give them the sacrament of reconciliation."

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Christina Cherry
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