“The church has not yet reached its goal”

Reinhard Cardinal Marx © Frank Rumpenhorst

Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx has stressed the need for a common synodal journey of all the faithful. At the same time, in his Maundy Thursday sermon, he called for the church to learn and evolve.

"The church is on the way. It has not yet reached its goal!"Above all, it is a community on the way, because that is what the word "synod" means, to be on the way together: "You cannot spare yourself the efforts and challenges of the way if you want to reach your goal," said Marx in Munich's Liebfrauendom, according to the speech manuscript.

Marx recalled that for the people of Israel the journey through the desert was "not only a necessary evil, but an essential phase of learning and development". It was more a matter of understanding what the Promised Land was all about, but also what the covenant meant that God wanted to make with them.

Bishops had decided on a synodal path

The German bishops, of which the cardinal is president, had decided on a "synodal way" at their recent spring plenary meeting against the background of the ongoing crisis in the church and the discussion about how to deal with cases of sexual abuse and physical violence. This is designed as a joint and open discussion process of clergy and laity about the future of the church, it says.

The crystallization point of the Church's journey is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Marx emphasized. Here it shows most clearly who and what the church is, what it means, "what we are sent to do". All sisters and brothers are gathered at the table of the Lord and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in their midst. The priest led the celebration and all participated.

Foot washing on Maundy Thursday

At the Holy Thursday service this year, the Cardinal washes the feet of twelve parish councils that come from all over the archdiocese. The symbolic act recalls that Jesus Christ washed his disciples' feet before the Last Supper in Jerusalem. The six men and six women, she said, are representative of all the volunteers who have been involved in parish councils and other lay bodies for 50 years.

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