“Real changes”

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode © Lars Berg (KNA)

The starting signal for the reform process in the Catholic Church in Germany has been given. What will dialogue between laity and bishops bring? Osnabruck Bishop Franz-Josef Bode hopes the synodal journey will bring "real changes".

This applies "especially with regard to a church of participation and, if possible, new forms for women in ministries and offices, with regard to various questions of priestly ministry and the different ways people live," Bode said in an interview published Wednesday by the Viennese theological feuilleton "feinschwarz.net".

All these questions concern the credibility of the church, said the deputy president of the German Bishops' Conference. And credibility is a prerequisite for evangelization, he said. Only in an "attitude of synodality" could the church enter the future. For resolutions that are conveyed as votes to Rome in the Synodal Way, he hopes for "a fraternal response from there, such as an invitation to a regional synod".

Regaining confidence

In their reform dialogue, called the Synodal Way, the German Catholic bishops and the Central Committee of Catholics want to discuss the future of church life in Germany. One goal is to regain trust lost after abuse scandal and address systemic causes of abuse.

Osnabruck theologian Margit Eckholt opposed the exclusion of women from ordination in the Catholic Church. She criticized a "narrowing of the argumentation to the sexuality of man". This leads to the fact that the church argumentation has less and less plausibility and acceptance with the Christians. "And this concerns not only the churches in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, but also the churches of the South."

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