Bishops mobilize

Bishops mobilize

German bishops © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

In coming to terms with the abuse cases, the Catholic Church is counting on greater participation by lay representatives and state experts. This is one of the results of the meeting of the Permanent Council of the DBK in Wurzburg.

The abuse commissioner of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Stephan Ackermann, will soon seek talks with the abuse commissioner of the federal government, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, the Bishops' Conference announced in Bonn on Wednesday. The Bishop of Trier will discuss with Rorig, among other things, "the criteria and standards for an independent reappraisal and for a review of the procedure for services in recognition of inflicted suffering.

At its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in Wurzburg, the Permanent Council also discussed the challenges facing the church, the statement continued. Working groups, in which representatives of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) also participate, are to deal with the individual topics.

Bishops Franz-Josef Bode (Osnabruck), Felix Genn (Munster) and Karl-Heinz Wiesemann (Speyer) have been named as those responsible for questions concerning the priestly way of life, power and participation, and sexual morality.

Clarify questions of ecclesiastical administration

Another working group on ecclesiastical law, headed by Archbishop Ludwig Schick (Bamberg), is to deal, among other things, with ecclesiastical criminal jurisdiction, procedural law and administrative jurisdiction. In addition, questions of church administration must be clarified, which includes administrative structures, the financial catch and human resources, it was further said.

The Permanent Council had decided to create a steering committee for this project. Its members are to be appointed soon. This is to include representatives of the ZdK and other external experts.

ZdK welcomes resolutions

The ZdK welcomed the decisions. In terms of content, "central expectations" of the Central Committee would be taken up, President Thomas Sternberg explained on Wednesday. It is an important step that Ackermann "will start the political and social conversation about the criteria and standards for an independent reappraisal as well as for the review of the procedure for services in recognition of inflicted suffering.". This creates transparency and provides the basis for "regaining lost trust in the actions of the Church". The ZdK is generally ready to cooperate and will be constructively involved in the talks.

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