Nikola Eterovic (l.) in conversation with Cardinal Reinhard Marx (Archive) © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
Pope's ambassador Nikola Eterovic has called on the Catholic German bishops at the beginning of their spring plenary assembly to unity. At the same time he drew in his greeting the picture of a church in crisis.
The church, he said, continues to struggle "to find adequate responses to the spread of secularism, the painful ie of sexual abuse, as well as continuing departures from the church, in a new departure of evangelization". In addition, there would be "negative consequences in the social and economic sphere" due to the Corona pandemic.
Not every crisis opens opportunities
However, while crises generally represent an opportunity "insofar as they offer the possibility for growth," conflict remains negative because it divides people into victors and vanquished, into "lovable friends and enemies to be fought," Eterovic said. For the ecclesial community, the conflict is "particularly harmful" because it destroys the sense of unity.
"The Christian must always be ready for dialogue with God in prayer, but also with his neighbor in brotherly love," Eterovic emphasized. He called for a return to tradition in the debates about the future of the church.
"Forgive one another"
Eterovic concluded his address with a quote from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians, which he had also prefaced his greeting with, "Every kind of bitterness and anger and clamor and blasphemy with all evil banish from among you! Be kind to one another, be merciful, forgive one another, as God also forgave you in Christ."
Bishops' plenary session continues through Thursday. Due to Corona, the meeting will take place for the first time in a purely virtual way.