Follow-up to the cologne report

Follow-up to the cologne report

The Cardinal Hoeffner Circle of Christian Members of the Bundestag seeks a debate with the role of its namesake. However, no final decision has yet been made on the future naming of the organization.

Christian Hirte (CDU), the chairman of the circle, told the "Christ Welt" supplement of "Die Zeit" published Thursday. As the paper further reports, the five-member leadership team first wants to talk to historians.

Expert opinion accuses Hoffner of dereliction of duty

Christian parliamentarians have been networking in the circle since the 1990s. Archbishop Joseph Hoffner of Cologne, who died in 1987, was a pioneer of Catholic social teaching and president of the German Bishops' Conference from 1976 to 1987. A legal opinion commissioned by the current archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, accuses Hoffner of several breaches of duty in dealing with sexual abuse cases.

CDU member of parliament Mechthild Heil, who is also the federal president of the German Catholic Women's Association, told the newspaper, "The phrase 'You don't speak ill of the dead' should not apply here".

The parliamentary state secretary in the Ministry of Development, Maria Flachsbarth (CDU), at the same time president of the Catholic German Women's Federation (KDFB), demands a hearing of experts still in this election period and added: "That we also invite affected people as experts is urgently needed." Hoffner was "an esteemed theologian of his time, but the name is up for grabs."

There are dissenting voices, too

Flachsbarth demanded at the same time that the parliamentarians must discuss the past of Hoffner also structurally. "The absolutist power of bishops – that is also an ie. Many of these structures are still as they were in Cardinal Hoffner's time."

On the other hand, a founder of the Hoffner Circle, former CDU member of parliament Georg Brunnhuber, told "Christ Welt": "You can't pull down someone who has an excellent reputation because of a single thing. There's no way I'd change the name."

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