Present catches up with future

Present catches up with future

A somewhat different view of Cologne Cathedral © frederikloewer (shutterstock)

Parish reform Pastoral path to the future in the Archdiocese of Cologne paused. Only a working group on parish structures continues to work under the provisional leadership of Canon Markus Bosbach, according to the Archdiocese of Cologne.

Until recently, Auxiliary Bishop Ansgar Puff chaired the working group. Since the 19. March, however, the latter leaves his office after an expert opinion attested him mistakes in dealing with a case of abuse.

Puff allegedly failed to dutifully question a clergyman accused of sexual abuse during his time as the archdiocese's human resources director between 2012 and 2013. Bosbach, who heads the department of pastoral care in the archdiocese, was already a member of the working group.

Interim results by May

The group first formulated work assignments to compare the various models for parish reform, the Archdiocese of Cologne told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) on Monday. Interim results should be available by mid-May. It is still unclear when the Diocesan Pastoral Council – Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki's central advisory body – will deal with these results, it was said.

That would depend essentially on the progress of the abuse processing. Woelki had said on the weekend: "We cannot – and must not – simply skip over the cracks that are there or putty them up."His vicar general Markus Hofmann said the pastoral future way paused in principle.

"Parishes of the future"

In August, the archdiocese announced its intention to restructure its 180 pastoral areas with a total of about 500 parishes into 50 to 60 large parishes – the "parishes of the future". There had been objections to the plans, whereupon a group around Auxiliary Bishop Puff developed an alternative proposal – the "Dynamic Mission Rooms". With about 1.9 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Cologne is the diocese with the most members in the German-speaking world.

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