Debate continues

Cologne Auxiliary Bishop Rainer Woelki has criticized the memorandum of Catholic theology professors on reforms in the church. It was problematic in form and content, Woelki said. The crisis of the church cannot be overcome by reforming structures.

Rather, she was suffering from a "crisis of prayer and faith," he told the Dusseldorf-based magazine "Theo" (1/2011). The result was a shortage of believers and, consequently, a shortage of priests, deacons, parish and pastoral workers, and religious education teachers. What is needed is a spiritual renewal in order to give authentic witness to the "friendship of God and Christ".

In the memorandum, titled "Church 2011: A Necessary Departure," theologians advocate, among other things, greater participation of the faithful in the appointment of ministers, the ordination of married persons to the priesthood as well, an improved church legal culture, and more respect for individual life choices. People who lived love and fidelity in same-sex unions or as remarried divorcees could not simply be excluded. A total of 307 professors and lecturers signed the appeal, including 239 from German-speaking countries and 68 from other countries.

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