Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker (r.) © Elisabeth Schomaker (KNA)
Paderborn Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker sees no alternative to the Synodal Way of the Catholic Church in Germany. "I am more confident than before the conference that in the end there can be really substantial resolutions."
He explained this on Friday in Paderborn. A week earlier, about 400 participants of the Synodal Way had debated online about the current state of affairs. "The quality of the discourse will continue to develop and become style-forming for the church in Germany," judged Becker.
Affected persons report
At the beginning of the digital conference, people affected by sexualized violence by clerics, who are involved in an advisory board of the German Bishops' Conference, spoke out. These interventions "have given the conference a depth that we have lacked so far," Becker said. The archbishop emphasized the "empathetic and clear explanations". Thus, he said, it had once again become clear "that the results of the MHG study had been the reason for the Synodal Way".
The paper by scholars from Mannheim, Heidelberg and Giessen (MHG) counts a total of 3 in church records from 1946 to 2014.677 children and young people affected. The MHG study is considered a kind of fundamental investigation on the topic of abuse in the church in Germany. Many dioceses have announced their own expert opinions for their area after the publication in 2018.
Contents are in the foreground
Becker defended the fact that there were no votes yet at the online conference of the Synodal Way. "For this, the focus was on the substantive debate," the archbishop said. A first overall picture is emerging, he said. There will continue to be a struggle "between those who fear a destruction of the church with a view to possible resolutions and those who expect a complete marginalization of the church without resolutions".
Nevertheless, he expects that the coming discussions will lead to a result that will be supported by many.
With the Synodal Way, the German bishops and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) want to regain trust after the abuse scandal and advance debates within the church. At ie are ies such as power, sexual morality, the way priests live their lives and the role of women in the church. The initiative was approved in 2019; the end is open, partly because of Corona.