German bishops © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
In the coming week, bishops in the Vatican will discuss measures against sexual abuse in the church. For the German bishops, this continues to be an ie. Now, in this context, an internal paper has been published.
Just over a week before the start of the so-called anti-abuse summit in the Vatican, the "Zeit" supplement "Christ Welt" has published an internal paper from the ranks of the German Bishops' Conference.
In it it concerns far-reaching consequences from the church abuse scandal on national level. Excerpts from the paper were published in last Thursday's edition of the newspaper.
The paper, which the bishops discussed at their meeting in the Permanent Council in Wurzburg at the end of January, reflects the results of a discussion that took place on 20. The meeting was held in Frankfurt on December.
Thoughts about change of mentality
In order to meet a crisis of the church that is perceived as existential, "which is not triggered by the abuse scandal, but finds a focal point in it," Frankfurt spoke out in favor of a deeper examination of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). New theological answers are necessary, "which, in addition to the theological tradition, must also take into account newer anthropological insights, including secular and scientific ones, as well as a look at the lives of people".
There is a need for "real ecclesiastical change, which must begin with a change of mentality (humility) on the part of those responsible". The challenges are so profound that "even all the ecclesiastical reforms cannot simply overcome the crisis. Nevertheless, "these reforms are needed – starting concretely in Germany and demanding change in Rome – so that the church can continue to fulfill its mission of proclaiming the faith in the future.".
According to the paper, the meeting in Frankfurt was attended by Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz, his brother bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, and the two bishops Franz-Josef Overbeck (Essen) and Karl-Heinz Wiesemann (Speyer). The secretary of the Bishops' Conference, Father Hans Langendorfer, and several employees of the Secretariat of the Bishops' Conference were also in attendance.
Synod brought into play on the subject
In order to avoid "isolation of the bishops" and to initiate "as broad a movement as possible within the church," the bishops present in Frankfurt also advocated a synod. This could be decided at the next plenary meeting of the bishops in Fulda in the fall.
The "anti-abuse summit" convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican will take place from 21. to 24. February instead of.