Get out of your comfort zone

Get out of your comfort zone

With its synodal path, the Catholic Church in Germany wants to set the course for the future. Archbishop Hebe hopes that the reform process will promote unity. Bishop Wilmer appeals to also address the ie of "mission".

According to Heb, the Catholic Church must "get out of its comfort zone". The planned reform and discussion process of the German bishops could make a contribution to that. Archbishop Stefan Hebe expressed his views at the media reception of the Archdiocese of Hamburg. The so-called "synodal journey" to renew the church is set to begin in December.

The reform talks should bring German Catholics closer together, Hebe continued. "The synodal way is not meant to contribute to division, but to promote unity."The fact that there are discussions within the church about the planned process is completely normal. "It is a mistaken conviction if we think that in the Church there is always total harmony," the archbishop said. Hebe said that he hoped that this would not remain a one-time initiative, but that synodality would become a permanent element in the German church.

Warning against inflated expectations

The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, warned against false and inflated expectations of the announced reform debate within the German Catholic Church. "No one will seriously believe that next year women will be ordained as priests," he said in Hamburg on Wednesday night. But no one will be able to stop the discussion about it.

"The goal is by no means the reforms themselves, but a church that can speak authentically of God in an increasingly secular world," Sternberg said. The representative of the highest representative body of German lay Catholicism emphasized that the reform and discussion process is about eliminating the systemic causes of the abuse scandal. The establishment of further forums, for example, on the topics of ecology or new evangelization, as demanded from various sides, is therefore not sensible, he said. As it stands now, four forums are planned on the topics of power, sexual morality, the priestly way of life and the role of women.

"Atmosphere of trust"

Sternberg sees in the "synodal way", in his own words, "a great opportunity". He said he was optimistic that the talks would be goal-oriented and not exhausted in fruitless talk. The consultations between the Bishops' Conference and the ZdK for the preparation ran in a very trusting atmosphere. "The times when bishops and laity were irreconcilably opposed to each other are over," said the ZdK president.

Hildesheim's Bishop Heiner Wilmer spoke out in favor of also considering the topic of mission in the announced church reform debate. The criticism that the "synodal way" lacks a forum for the renewal of faith is something he can gain a lot from, he told the church internet portal Vatican News.

Message of Jesus at the center

The planned topics focus on the structure of the church and therefore concern more of an internal view, Wilmer said. "They are important for truthfulness, but our actual mission remains unaffected by it."The message of Jesus and the question of how the church approaches people must be at the center.

An example is the "Fridays for Future" movement, which is about the preservation of creation. Pope Francis, he said, had written a wonderful document on the subject with the encyclical "Laudato si". It ties in with people's ies. "We could and should pay much more attention to this document."

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Christina Cherry
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