“Sword of excommunication is in need of correction”

Archbishop Georg Ganswein © Andreas Gebert

Archbishop of the Curia Georg Ganswein calls on German church to end excommunication for church resignations. In addition, he commented on the possible amption of a bishop's seat.

"The sharp sword of excommunication for leaving the Church is inappropriate and in need of correction," the secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said. and prefect of the papal household under Pope Francis told the "Schwabische Zeitung" newspaper.

Exaggerated handle

It is exaggerated and incomprehensible that one is no longer part of the church if one no longer wants to pay the church tax, the 59-year-old added. "You can question dogmas, it doesn't hurt anyone, it doesn't get anyone kicked out. Is not paying church tax a greater offense against the faith than violations of truths of faith?", he asked.

Ganswein also complained about the lack of faith and charisma of the church in Germany. While the coffers are ringing, the pews are getting emptier and emptier," he asked. "Who is served when a diocese is super rich but the faith gradually seeps away?", he asked.

Stimulate discussion on church funding

The question must be discussed, he said, whether the church tax obligation is the only correct and appropriate form of financing church tasks. "The much money makes many things possible, holds in itself however always suffocation danger."

No ambitions for bishop's seat

Ganswein, in his own words, has no ambitions to take a German bishop's seat. "Do you think that a cathedral chapter, if my name ever appeared there, would vote for me? Hardly. It doesn't hurt me at all," said the archbishop of the Curia. "The church establishment
has a negative image of me. I am not one of their favorites."

"Mark of Cain

As a longtime employee of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as secretary to Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict, he obviously bears a "mark of Cain," Ganswein, who hails from the Black Forest, added. "It has somehow succeeded in labeling me in public as a right-winger or hardliner, without ever giving concrete examples of it."Conversely, "the cathedral chapters are not exactly collections of the highest loyalty to Rome."

In Germany's Catholic Church, cathedral chapters outside Bavaria have some say in the selection of bishops.

Pope Francis sometimes "flippant"

Ganswein also commented on Pope Francis in the interview. In the words of the archbishop of the Curia, the latter "sometimes speaks somewhat imprecisely, even flippantly". This leads to occasional confusion and uncertainty, said the native of the Black Forest. "It is his way of speaking, even at the risk of giving rise to misunderstandings, sometimes to adventurous interpretations."This is also connected with the media coverage.

At the same time, the 59-year-old emphasized that between Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI. that there is continuity with regard to the basic lines of their theological conviction. He still considers his earlier statement to be correct, that in theology no sheet of paper fits between the views of the two. Pope Francis, he said, unflinchingly follows through with what he is convinced of and also takes no account of political correctness. "He will continue not to mince his words." As a result, he said, he has gained a lot of sympathy for the church.

Looking back at the Synod on the Family

Looking back at the recent World Synod of Bishops on family ies, Ganswein acknowledged that there are different positions in the church on ies of family, marriage and sexuality. However, he does not think much of the statement that a rift is running through the church. "For the sake of truth, however, it should also be added that some bishops are genuinely concerned that the doctrinal edifice could suffer losses due to the lack of crystal-clear language."

Ganswein demanded clear definitions in the teachings of the church. According to the archbishop of the Curia, uncertainties, occasional confusion and a mess have grown in the Church. "If a pope wants to change something in doctrine, he must say so clearly so that it is binding," he said. "Important doctrinal statements cannot be changed by half-sentences or somewhat openly formulated footnotes."Statements that allow for different interpretations are a risky business.

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