When the German bishops meet in Fulda for their plenary assembly, a team from this site is naturally also present.de on the ground. This year's survey also includes editor-in-chief Ingo Bruggenjurgen. At this point he reports about his impressions the atmosphere of departure among the bishops.
Just in time for the beginning of the venerable plenary assembly of the German Bishops' Conference, the "Indian summer" has arrived in Fulda. A rogue, who thinks badly thereby … They look roguishly already, the completely young choir singers, who stand in the early morning in the Fuldaer cathedral directly behind the bishops around with their angel voices already brightly awake into the praise of the bishops to tune in. Thank God, school starts later today and in the church, flooded by the morning sun, there is a more interesting program after the sound of the bell than any school bell could ring.
While the organ in the back provides for Saus und Braus – move equal 67 catholic bishops solemnly into the cathedral. At the sight of the press pack and in the glow of the flashbulbs, some look sheepishly at the floor, others seek support by fixing their gazes on the evangelists on the ceiling. Most of them smile, slightly uncertain or slightly embarrassed – they know that the more than 40 representatives of the press do not necessarily want to join in the hymn of praise, but are here because they need images and sounds for their abuse reports.
The agenda for the next four days fills several pages: from the commitment to Christians persecuted worldwide to new liturgy books. But already at the opening press conference, Chairman Zollitsch was able to get an idea of the questions that mostly moved the journalists: sexual abuse in every question form – from A like offer for compensation payment to Z like state of the Catholic Church in the current crisis.
Zollitsch fights bravely
Zollitsch fights bravely – his press officer does not have to rush to his aid. The journalists may twist and turn their questions as they wish – a concrete sum for ecclesiastical compensation payments to abuse victims cannot be elicited from him. It's just stupid that the Jesuits have jumped the gun here, but of course he's not allowed to say that out loud. Diplomatically correct it then sounds like this: "The action of the Jesuits has already surprised me…"
Close listening is however not only in the first press conference announced. The bishops, too, are probably all ears when Zollitsch makes a "plea for a pilgrim, listening and serving church" in the first "Keynote address: Future of the Church – Church for the Future. One would have loved to have been a fly on the wall – but transparency or not – the bishops naturally meet behind closed doors. Only now and then a black Excellency or dark eminence flits through the dark reverberating corridors – to disappear quickly behind the next door again. At least there is a manuscript with the note: "The spoken word is valid"!" So whether Zollitsch really said it that way? "Dishonest talk and actions, lack of openness and truthfulness, tendency to cover up mistakes and overlook crimes" had led to this deep crisis of credibility.
And "Why not invite many to participate in this reflection in truthfulness courage and prudence – the priests, deacons, religious and the laity – who are often the experts?" Whether he has really asked this of his confreres? Bringing the expertise of the laity to bear for the good of the church. Fortunately for Zollitsch, these are not new revolutionary ideas – but actually fruit of the almost 50-year-old 2. Vatican Council. But whether he said it out loud and whether everyone nodded in agreement? But according to the manuscript, this year some things are really quite different from usual. The autumn conference should affirm "that we face the reality of the church!"Yes, wasn't that done in the past????
Some things remain with the tried and true
An old journalistic sleuth, who has smelled many a fat roast at the bishops' conferences and who this year again is not content with the sandwiches for the press, reveals that not everything is so different after all. So some things remain with the tried and true: While in the media world outside already all on-line services blow the end of the catholic weekly magazine of the Rheini characteristic by the world and indicate blithely sources for it, the chairman in the time-honored baroque library does not know during the press conference allegedly yet, what next door its Mitbruder straight decided.
But what is not, can still become – or is perhaps, eschatologically speaking, already in the process of becoming good.
The young mischievous lads with their angelic voices at the early service may be able to sing a song about it in later life. About how in Fulda the Catholic bishops set out on a hard and exhausting pilgrimage into a new, as yet unknown church land. You took off your somewhat old-fashioned dark clothes and simply left everything dark behind in love for the truth. And pilgrimage towards the warm life-giving light in great joy of life. And thereby enthusiastically testified, back then, when the Indian summer arrived just in time for the time-honored autumn plenary meeting of the German Bishops' Conference.