Are mere structural reforms enough?

Are mere structural reforms enough?

Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstatt fears a split in the Catholic Church as a result of the Synodal Way reform project. At a panel discussion in Plankstetten Monastery on Saturday, he criticized "weaving errors".

These mistakes were made at the beginning of this discussion process, said Hanke. He lacked a spiritual awakening: "We will not change things with a mere structural reform."

Church has "failed badly"

On the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, which is one of the occasions for the Synodal Way, Hanke said there is no way around a complete clarification. "Here the church has failed badly."For the diocese of Eichstatt, he announced a systematic reappraisal: "We must learn from the terrible events."

The bishop also commented on other ies currently under discussion in the Church in Germany. In doing so, he stressed that he currently sees no path toward the ordination of women to the priesthood. Instead, it would like to see targeted promotion of women in leadership positions. He also backed the Vatican's "no" vote on blessing same-sex couples. Regardless, he said, homosexuals have their place in parishes: "They are baptized, they are our sisters and brothers, they belong to us."

Celibacy "not a divine whisper"

Hanke did not generally rule out a change in celibacy, the obligation for priests to remain celibate: "Celibacy is a church law and not a divine whispering."At the same time, he stressed how precious celibacy is from his point of view: 'With it I proclaim not only with my words but with my life: There is something that has a future beyond death."

The bishop also referred to the letter written by Pope Francis to his brothers and sisters in the faith in Germany. In it, he said, the spiritual framework is set out, which he has missed so far. It was good to discuss, Hanke said, but "I hope and expect that we will not break apart on the Synodal Way – neither in Germany nor in the universal church".

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