“Daring a poorer church”

The church needs a spiritual awakening rather than an ecclesiastical-political agenda, finds Bishop Hanke of Eichstatt. A "genuine reform" grows out of the following of Jesus. Therefore, one must also fundamentally reconsider the church tax.

Catholic Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstatt can imagine "daring to have a poorer church". "Real reform" grows out of "more following Jesus" and "more witnessing and perhaps less institution and constitutionality," Hanke said Saturday in Eichstatt at the New Year's reception of the Diocesan Council of Catholics in his diocese.

Not overnight

Hanke asked whether this perspective would not have to include "renouncing the institutionalized social possibilities of the Church's influence in the current breadth". Hanke continued, "That would probably also include thinking about the future of the church tax."

The bishop said, "Certainly, the church has many duties and responsibilities to employees. She can't leave the grown system overnight. But doesn't the current shape of the church tax mean a narrow junction of grace and money?"

Not treated like a party platform

The church is in need of spiritual renewal, the bishop added. But these do not come, "if we screw around at church and faith, as if it concerned a party program, which it is to make majority capable. Church history shows that no spiritual growth results from homeopathizing the claims of the gospel anyway."Hanke added: "With reference to the sexual abuse, to now want to work off a church-political agenda, which was long before in the drawer, is for me no way into a spiritual awakening."

Furthermore, Hanke warned church employees against the "temptation" of trying to save their own image in the abuse debate. "In view of the abyss that these terrible offenses mean for the victims, we clergymen can surely not be concerned with justifying our own selves."It needs a "view from the outside", which concerns the abuse and in Eichstatt also the financial scandal. On the latter, the bishop said he stood "for clarification through the judiciary. I want to stand for transparency."

Christian Gartner, president of the diocesan council, appealed to Christians to publicly stand up for their faith. "Each and every one of us baptized and confirmed must feel co-responsible for giving a face to the church locally."In addition, he called for participation in the European elections and in the Bavarian petition for a referendum on biodiversity. (CBA)

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