Is catholic church facing a 'caesura'?

Is catholic church facing a 'caesura'?

The Amazon Synod planned for October in Rome will lead to a "caesura" in the Catholic Church, according to Adveniat Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck. "Nothing will ever be the same again," the Ruhr bishop told journalists.

The hierarchical structure of the church is under scrutiny, as are its sexual morals and the image of the priesthood. The role of women in the church also needs to be reconsidered, he said.

According to Overbeck, other problems include the decline in the faithful – not only in Europe, but also especially in Latin America. In addition, the church must react to the "immense exploitation" of nature and the disregard for human rights. "All this will have to be talked about at the Amazon Synod," said the person responsible for the Catholic Latin America relief organization Adveniat at the presentation of Adveniat's annual balance sheet in Essen on Thursday.

Synod in October in the Vatican

Pope Francis has commented on the Amazon synod of 6. to 27. October invited to the Vatican. The bishops' meeting will focus on ecology, theology and pastoral care, indigenous ies and human rights. Francis, with his South American perspective, has ensured that an awareness of these challenges has emerged, Overbeck said.

The "Eurocentric structure" of the Catholic Church will change, explained Bishop. This can be seen in the fact that in Latin America the local churches and their clergy are becoming more and more independent. There have been many priests from Europe who are now no longer available.

Priest shortage also in Latin America

At the same time, there is a shortage of priests in Latin America. He knows dioceses in which a bishop still has just ten priests available for a huge pastoral area. Already now, he said, local churches are dominated by women religious. "The face of the church on the ground is a face of women," the Adveniat bishop said.

Overbeck referred to figures according to which even in Brazil, the largest country in South America, the percentage of Catholics has declined from once 90 to now just under 70 percent. In other countries, it is still close to 50 percent. The development continues. Something similar has taken place in Europe, where in many countries only about half of the people still belong to a Christian church.

The bishop emphasized that the church must react to all this and find answers. The church will do this "step by step" through several synodal processes.

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Christina Cherry
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