“Europe needs this untimely bastion”

The Vatican is in the headlines. Critics call for abolition of world's smallest state in face of "Vatileaks" affair and rumors of corruption. Also in the gospel the Vatican is not provided for. But wait, says the catholic journalist Volker Resing in the our site interview. Europe needs this untimely bastion.



Surely the Vatican must always change as well. This is also necessary, but those who hope or believe that it will now perish are mistaken, I think. It would be a pity. I believe that the Vatican is a unique institution and that the Church can be glad to have such a leader.
But the fact is, the Vatican is in crisis. Even in Luther's time, history has taught that the renewal of the Church was accompanied by a crisis of the Vatican. Too cumbersome, too outdated, say critics even today. They also see it as an opportunity. Which then?

The Vatican has a unique history, and anyone who has been there cannot resist this fascination, I believe. It has an international character. You meet there the whole universal church and that protects you a little bit from national narrow-mindedness. Of course, this does not mean that the problems of the local church are not problems, but a world church that bundles all this in such a small place is simply fascinating. Then the Vatican is also mystery and as such at least appealing to me. This idea of having carried history and tradition through the millennia on the tomb of St. Peter, that is a fascinating idea.
Now, however, many say that without the Vatican the Church could get rid of many problems, celibacy could be abolished, women could be ordained as priests or even sexual morality could finally be adapted to reality, even there you say: "Of course not!" Why are you so sure about that?
Because it would simply be nice if one could solve the problems of the world with a few strokes of the pen, but that is not the way the world is. A church with 1.2 billion members is of course very complex. Believing that individual reforms will make everyone happy is unfortunately not so. That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be changes, but in the Anglican Church, for example, you can see how a community is completely breaking apart, so to speak, over certain ies, such as the priesthood of women. There is just the idea of keeping this church together with its extreme different charisms, opinions, ideas, a great idea. That this is not easy and that sometimes something goes wrong, that is certainly so.
What changes should there be??

I think that in view of the current crisis, one has to see it on very different levels. To carry the faith through secularized times, into a modern world, that cannot be done by the Vatican alone. This is something that everybody has to do at home, every local church and also every individual Christian, but of course the Vatican has to change something as well.

The current crisis shows that there is a lack of communication and transparency. Something must happen. You can also see now already that the crisis is changing some things. There is now a press briefing every day in the face of Vatileaks. And there you see that the last few years the store has closed too much. I like to think of the times of John Paul II. back, who disagreed with his critics but cultivated a very different kind of communication and openness. I think this pontificate has to find a new way to communicate better.

The article "A Rescue Parachute for Rome" by Volker Resing appeared on Thursday in "Christ und Welt," the supplement of the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit".

The interview was conducted by Monika Weib

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