Call for upheaval in the church

Call for upheaval in the church

Ordination offices for women, celibacy, sexual morality and power limitation: the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung has now published an open letter from well-known theologians and Catholics who address Cardinal Marx with these contents.

The nine signatories of the letter include Ansgar Wucherpfennig, rector of the Philosophical-Theological University of Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, Jesuit priest Klaus Mertes, who made abuse cases public in 2010 as rector at the Canisius College in Berlin, Frankfurt city dean Johannes Graf von und zu Eltz, a critic of former Limburg bishop Tebartz-van Elst, Gaby Hagemans, director of Caritas Frankfurt, Bettina Jarasch, board member of the Bundnis 90 Die Grunen party, Claudia Lucking-Michel vice president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Dagmar Mensink, ZdK spokeswoman for basic political and ethical ies, and Jorg Splett, Catholic philosopher of religion and anthropologist, and his wife Ingrid.

Demands on Marx

The letter to the president of the German Bishops' Conference, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, says: "Bind yourself by true separation of powers – this fits better with the humility of Christ and within the framework of the laws that apply to all. Dismantle the exaggerations of the ordained ministry and open it to women."

In addition, the signatories appeal to the German bishops to allow diocesan priests to choose their way of life – "so that celibacy can once again credibly point to the Kingdom of Heaven". In addition, the theologians and Catholics call for a "fresh start with sexual morality," including an "understanding and just evaluation of homosexuality". They also speak of a depressed mood in the parishes: "The sun of justice no longer comes through. Under a leaden sky, the joy of faith withers away."

Expectations for abuse summit

With regard to the abuse scandal in the church, Marx himself had only recently appealed to "take responsibility" on this occasion. The signatories of the letter ask him to address in Rome the "most important result" of the abuse study (MHG study) commissioned by the German bishops. "Abuse in our church also has systemic reasons." The prospect of power in men's unions attracts people from at-risk groups, it says. Sexual taboos blocked necessary clarification and maturation processes. The call of the signatories for a thorough change is based on these findings.

Words must be followed by action

Since 2010, the German bishops have made good progress with the prevention and sanctioning of acts of abuse. After the recent study, he said, they expressed dismay and made apologies. Words alone do not help however now, as it is called. Most active Catholics do not subscribe to the "pre-modern order of the Church"
more with. "They only endure it." In the context, the letter also refers to exit figures.

Cardinal Marx said in an interview in mid-January that he hoped the abuse summit in Rome at the end of February would bring significant progress. With regard to this problem, he said, the levels of awareness among the local churches around the world are very different.

"Conference must set an example"

Pope and Curia cannot solve the problems of the entire universal church, Marx says. "But when the presidents of all the national bishops' conferences meet in Rome, I hope that they will be willing to ame responsibility."The conference must publicly set a sign: "Together we tackle the problem of sexual and also spiritual abuse in the church."It is important that the bishops' conferences, which have been dealing with the topic for a long time, contribute their experience. He will also do that himself.

MHG study

For the Catholic Church, researchers had presented the "Study on sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the area of the German Bishops' Conference" at the end of September in Fulda at the autumn plenary meeting of the bishops. In the church files of the years 1946 to 2014, the research team had found evidence of 3.677 victims of sexual assault and on about 1.670 accused priests, deacons and religious found. The experts also ame that there are further cases that are not recorded in the files.

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