The bishop's fear of the truth

The bishop's fear of the truth

It seemed that everything was settled in the diocese of Limburg. The Pope has put his foot down and confirmed the offered resignation of the bishop. But this one still wants to have a word to say. A commentary by our site editor-in-chief Ingo Bruggenjurgen.

The resigned bishop of Limburg not only did not tell the whole truth, no, he deliberately covered up, concealed and lied for years. The fact that he didn't do it alone only makes matters worse. Anyone who studies the 108 pages of the audit commission, which was commissioned by the chairman of the bishops' conference to relentlessly compile all the facts surrounding the Limburg Cathedral Hill, will find their hair standing on end: regulations and applicable rights were not observed and were arbitrarily overridden. Employees were put under prere and ordered to secrecy.

The bishop's orders and special requests are primarily responsible for the cost explosion during construction. It was not just the much-cited bathtub – point by point, the report lists the unbelievable details: be it the only 2009 for 175.000 € renovated Mariengarten, which appeared to Tebartz-vanElst as a "wilderness", and then for 667.000 to create a new "Garden of Silence," or the ornamental fish "koi tank" for a whopping 213 euros.000 €. Someone here has obviously completely lost his grip on the ground. Unfortunately, however, it seems that the heavenly ground staff also failed to bring the bishop down from his Limburg cloud cuckoo land again. The fact that the bishop, who has been dismissed from office, followed up with a four-page statement after the report was published, in which he endeavors to clarify things to his point of view and to set the facts straight, speaks volumes.

It honors the now-appointed Apostolic Administrator Grothe, who also already chaired the review commission, that he asked journalists "not to force him to pronounce a condemnation of an episcopal confrere". He expressly referred to the report, which speaks for itself. Probably true.

But it is also true that the incidents in the Limburg diocese have caused great damage to the Catholic Church. Trust in church financial dealings has more than suffered. That is why it is good that the bishops have now decided to provide clarity through transparency. But it should also be taken to heart what Grothe urges other dioceses to do: To read the report and ask themselves whether such a failure is not also possible elsewhere. There many representatives of the press became clairaudient.

It must also be noted at this point that, as with the loss of trust due to the sexual abuse cases, it was once again the non-ecclesiastical media that, through their prere, ensured that things came to light that some would have liked to quickly sweep under the carpet. Who claims in the future that the media want to shoot the church by their campaigns storm-ripe, should remove first the beam from the own church eye, before he looks for the splinter in the eye of the bad media worlds, which is undoubtedly also present.

Limburg may and must now look ahead. But the Catholic Church can also emerge strengthened from this painful crisis, if it accepts the lessons that emerge from the report. Who wants to let the report disappear as fast as possible again in the drawer against it, does not need to be surprised, if the herd becomes still smaller in the future and completely refuses the allegiance. The Pope in Rome has understood this. He does not only provide nice slogans and pictures. He can also take action. The church that not only the pope desires does not need prince-bishop-resident rulers who build their own ideal worlds high up on their cathedral hill behind high walls and bronze-colored windows and are afraid of truth and people, but are shepherds with their flocks. And many self-confident herd animals, which, if it is necessary, lead their shepherds also times again back on the correct way of the Christ follow-up.

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Christina Cherry
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