Ansgar Wucherpfennig © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
The Vatican apparently wants to prevent a further term of the rector of the Theological-Philosophical University Sankt Georgen, Ansgar Wucherpfennig. Among other things, the Jesuit priest had expressed himself positively on the subject of homosexuality.
As reported by the "Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger" and the "Frankfurter Rundschau" (Monday), the Congregation for Education in the Vatican refuses the clergyman the "Nihil Obstat" (declaration of no objection) and demands a public retraction of his positions. In February, Wucherpfennig was re-elected for a third two-year term with a large majority, he said.
The 52-year-old confirmed on inquiry that he had informed the university conference at the end of September about the procedure. His direct superior, Provincial Johannes Siebner SJ, told the newspapers that he stands behind Wucherpfennig without reservation. In a letter in response, he had expressed his "astonishment" at the Roman approach. "There is not the slightest doubt in my mind about Father Wucherpfennig's expertise, his loyalty, and thus also his suitability for the rector's office."
Bishop Batzing hopes for amicable solution
In 2016, Wucherpfennig, a professor of New Testament, had described the biblical condemnations of homosexuality in an interview as "deep-seated passages, some of them misleadingly formulated," according to newspaper reports. According to the report, Wucherpfennig, who also serves as a homosexual chaplain in the Catholic city deanery of Frankfurt, spoke out in favor of greater church recognition of same-sex lovers.
The Bishop of Limburg responsible for Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, Georg Batzing, presented himself before Wucherpfennig. He has given his "unqualified" consent to the re-election, said a diocesan spokesman. Batzing had also made clear in Rome that "diocese and Jesuit order are well advised to hold on to the proven university leadership". The bishop therefore continues to ame an amicable solution. (CBA)