“Church at a crossroads”

Catholic laity from Germany meet at the fall plenary session of the Central Committee of German Catholics. Above all, the processing of abuse is discussed. Also the Causa Wucherpfennig comes again to the language.

This Friday and Saturday, the autumn plenary assembly of the Central Committee of German Catholics will meet in Bonn. About 220 members of the ZdK, the highest representative body of German lay Catholicism, meet there.

In addition to the topic of abuse, ethical ies, such as the dispute over the ban on advertising for abortions, blood tests during pregnancy or organ donation, were also discussed as political topics. The UN migration pact, a possible pension reform and the protests at the Hambach Forest were brought into focus. Of course, church-political topics were also addressed. All topics at a glance:

Paragraph 219a

In the controversy over a prohibition of advertising for abortions the ZdK pleads for a retention of the valid legal regulations. Paragraph 219a of the penal code does not contradict the provision of information for affected women and legal certainty for doctors.

The ZdK president stated that the mood seems to be tipping on this ie. "Possibly this also has to do with the Church's loss of reputation in the wake of the abuse debate." Much will depend on "whether the coalition parties find a common path, or whether those who want to release the vote in the Bundestag prevail, which would in effect amount to a break with the coalition," Sternberg said.

"For us, the guiding principle remains that the counseling regulation, which was a laboriously achieved and for many difficult compromise, is not touched," he emphasized. This would best be guaranteed by maintaining Section 219a "as an integral part of the tried and tested regulation".

Blood test for trisomy 21

ZdK president warns against allowing blood tests for trisomy 21 during pregnancy. "The increasingly powerful tests will be a step towards the Vermeng of the human being, where the standard is not human dignity, but the presence of the desired characteristics and usefulness," said Thomas Sternberg on Friday in Bonn. "That is why we reject the Zulang and thus a further normalization of this variant of prenatal diagnostics."

Sternberg was critical of the position of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). "What seems important to me is the EKD's demand that independent psychosocial counseling for expectant parents be expanded before prenatal diagnostic examinations are used."But the ethically justified recommendation of the EKD for a cash admission of the tests alienates him.

UN migration pact

No country should shirk its "joint responsibility in solidarity" for the many millions of people "who are fleeing or looking for a better life," Sternberg said, defending the UN migration pact against all criticism.

Sternberg deplored the attitude of Austria and other states. The pact also contains impulses for the planned immigration law in Germany. For example, the agreement recommends, among other things, that the principle of global justice be taken into account in international labor migration. The pact also calls for consideration of the losses and gaps that occur in developing countries when highly qualified people are poached there.

Wucherpfennig case

Another ie is concern for the freedom of Catholic theology at German universities. Sternberg, president of the ZdK, expressed relief that the Vatican confirmed the Jesuit Ansgar Wucherpfennig in his office as rector of the Philosophical-Theological University of Sankt Georgen near Frankfurt after a long period of reflection.

However, Sternberg emphasized, "it is known that there are other affected persons in theological science who are accused of critical statements.". "With intimidation of those who think ahead for the church and theology, one can neither secure unity nor shape the future."

Laity and women

Lay people and women must also be given a greater say in the church; in addition, a persistent "inability to speak" on sexual morality and sexuality must urgently be ended, Sternberg said. The president of the Catholic lay body positively highlighted the recent announcements made by the German bishops at the beginning of the week at the meeting of the Permanent Council in Wurzburg. "In particular, the intention to establish a binding inter-diocesan monitoring for the areas of intervention and prevention, and the willingness to establish an ecclesiastical administrative jurisdiction point in the direction in line with our expectations."

Pension reform

According to the Central Committee of German Catholics, the pension pact passed by the Bundestag is "better than its reputation". At the same time, Thomas Sternberg regretted on Friday in Bonn that the improvements "halfway" ran out of steam. Thus there is in the mothers' pension only half an additional remuneration point for parents of before 1992 born children, led the ZdK president out. Only a full third point, however, would put those concerned on an equal footing with parents of younger children.

Furthermore, there is indeed the "double stop line" also called for by the ZdK to stabilize the level of contributions and pensions. "But the guarantee is only valid until 2025, a manageable period of time for which no social upheavals are forecast anyway."

Organ donation

Sternberg spoke out against the so-called "double contradiction solution". In this case, every citizen who has not expressly objected to organ removal would become a potential organ donor. Current law, on the other hand, provides for explicit consent, for example with the help of an organ donor card.

"The question of whether this should be changed requires a difficult consideration, for which our society and parliament should take sufficient time," Sternberg warned. However, the ZdK president said he felt "uneasy" about the idea of removing organs without explicit consent. "Wouldn't the human corpse through death then become a thing, a social good that can be disposed of? And doesn't respect for the dignity of the deceased person require that his or her body remain untouched without explicit consent??"

Protests in Hambach Forest

Thomas Sternberg criticized riots at demonstrations by lignite opponents. Thomas Sternberg stressed in Bonn on Friday that the rule of law principle applies to all citizens of the country. This principle was disregarded not only during the headline-grabbing protests in Hambach Forest between Aachen and Cologne, said former North Rhine-Westphalian CDU state parliament member.

"Occupying the forest and ignoring police orders may be chalked up by many as sympathetic civil disobedience for a good cause," Sternberg said. "But I ask myself and you: what happens if everyone only accepts the decisions that he likes?"

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