Call for reforms

The spring plenary meeting of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) ended on Saturday with a call for concrete progress in ecumenism. After intensive debate in Erfurt, the 200 or so participants adopted a "plea for an ecumenism close to life".

In the paper entitled "For the sake of the people!"The highest body of the Catholic laity in Germany calls for greater emphasis on the commonalities between the Catholic and Protestant churches in the parishes.

The call for reform in the Catholic Church was on the agenda several times during the two-day meeting in the Thuringian state capital. As concrete demands, ZdK President Alois Gluck named, among other things, more responsibility for women and progress in the relationship between the Catholic and Protestant churches. In addition, "the inability to speak and act on ies of church sexual morality" must be overcome, Gluck said. It thanked the bishops for the dialogue they had initiated on the future of the Church. The initiative has already initiated further debates in various dioceses. "It is important that we continue to work on many ies," Gluck said at the conclusion of the plenary session.

In his welcoming address, Bishop Joachim Wanke of Erfurt had previously encouraged the church not to adapt, but to master the current challenges through "spiritual profile. The dialogue process should be based on the tradition and teachings of the Church and translate them for today's world.

Phasing out nuclear energy
On the subject of energy transition, the highest Catholic lay body in Germany affirmed an exit from nuclear energy, but warned against hasty action. It is not a matter of the speed of this process, but of its successful completion, said Gluck, who is also a member of the ethics commission on nuclear energy appointed by the German government.

The panel resolutely renewed its call for a ban on preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). According to Gluck, the use of this method would mean the killing of embryos solely because of their genetic characteristics. This results in "dramatic discrimination, especially against handicapped human life.". PGD is controversial because it involves examining embryos for possible genetic damage before they are implanted in the womb and, if necessary, destroying them.

The ZdK hopes that the Pope's visit in September will provide important impulses for ecumenism. Benedict XVI. had already shown that he wanted to give the discussion with representatives of the Protestant Church an important place, said Gluck. At the same time he warned against too high expectations in the dense program of the visit. The pope comes from the 22. until 25. September and will visit Berlin, Erfurt, the Eichsfeld and Freiburg.

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