The Central Committee of German Catholics urges reforms in the Catholic Church in Germany. In Erfurt, Germany's highest Catholic lay body also warned against a hasty exit from nuclear energy and the allowance of controversial genetic testing of embryos.
Among other things, ZdK President Alois Gluck named more responsibility for women and progress in the relationship between the Catholic and Protestant churches as concrete demands on Friday. In addition, "the inability to speak and act on ies of church sexual morality" must be overcome, Gluck said. He thanked the bishops for the dialogue they initiated on the future of the church. The initiative has already triggered further debates in various dioceses.
In his greeting, Bishop Joachim Wanke of Erfurt encouraged the church not to adapt, but to master the current challenges with a "spiritual profile". The dialogue process should be based on the tradition and teachings of the Church and translate them for today's world.
Gluck stressed that the German Catholic Church is facing a decisive year. The coming months will show whether it will be possible to make up for the loss of trust caused by the abuse scandal or whether there will be a "new wave of frustration.
The exit debate
On the subject of the energy turnaround, the ZdK warned against a hasty exit from nuclear power. What matters is not the speed of this process, but its successful conclusion, said Gluck, who is also a member of the ethics committee on nuclear energy set up by the German government. In the meantime, many people have come to realize that the current consumption of raw materials and energy is overtaxing the earth. But most people have so far shown themselves unwilling to draw the consequences, Gluck criticized.
The committee resolutely renewed its call for a ban on pre-implantation diagnostics (PGD). According to Gluck, an approval of the method would mean the killing of embryos solely because of their genetic characteristics. As a result, he said, there was "dramatic discrimination, especially against disabled human life". PGD is controversial because embryos are examined for possible genetic damage before they are implanted in the womb and, if necessary, destroyed.
The ZdK hopes that the Pope's visit in September will provide important impulses for ecumenism. Benedict XVI. has already shown that he wants to give discussion with representatives of the Protestant Church an important place, said Gluck. But he warned against expecting too much. The visit program is tightly packed. "This is not the place for long deliberations," the CSU politician said.
Gluck strongly condemned the recent attacks on Copts in Egypt. He called on the Cairo government to better protect the Christian minority. Meanwhile, the civil movements in the Arab world would have changed the Western image of Islam. In Islamic states, there is "a previously underestimated potential for democratization and social modernization". But the further development of Islam is still open.