There is a historical pattern of extremes coming from Germany, be they for things that are good or bad. A very good thing was the drive from Germany to conquer, convert, and subdue the last of the pagans within Europe, many who aggressively fought against the Faith for well over a thousand years. A very bad thing thing was the Protestant Revolution, which destroyed Europe and permanently fractured Christendom.
When German groups- be they bishops, the government or another group which has some social power in some capacity –begin to speak, one must pay attention because future consequences could be deadly. Such is the warning with the recent troubles in the Church, driven in a large degree in Europe by German bishops who are now saying they are going to “clarify” their positions on these controversial issues of sexual morality at an upcoming meeting according to a report:
The German Catholic bishops have decided on a “binding synodal path” for dealing with and clarifying the cases of abuse. This structured debate will be organized jointly with the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), said Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the conclusion of the spring meeting of the Bishops’ Conference on Thursday in Lingen. Issues are the “necessary power reduction” among the clerics, the celibacy and the sexual morality of the church.
The sexual morality of the church has not yet received decisive findings from theology and the humanities, said Marx . The personal significance of sexuality has so far received insufficient attention. “We feel how often we are unable to speak in questions about today’s sexual behavior,” the conference chairman emphasized. Further, Marx said that the way of life of bishops and priests required changes “to show the inner freedom of faith and the orientation to the example of Jesus Christ.” Celibacy, however, was valued by the bishops as an “expression of religious commitment to God”. However, to what extent he must always belong to the testimony of the priest, “we will find out”.
Clerical abuse of power reveals trust
The cases of clerical abuse of power betrayed the trust of people in search of support and religious orientation, Marx argued. “What needs to be done to achieve the necessary power reduction and build a more just and legally binding order will clear the synodal path.” The bishops want to develop a proposal for special courts for criminal proceedings in sexual abuse of minors and an order for administrative courts in the area of the German Bishops’ Conference.
However, the proposed process does not involve a synod in the sense of canon law, as Marx explained on demand. “Maybe it’s a synod on the way,” he explained. The concept of the synod was not easy, because one could rub one against him, on the other hand, only an application in Rome should have been submitted. “We could not have started, but we do not want to wait anymore,” says Marx. The fact that it is not legally a synod does not mean that the planned path is non-binding.
Suitable formats for the synodal process are to be searched for later this year, according to the German bishops. These already included three forums agreed at the plenary session. Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann (Speyer) will be responsible for the forum “Power, Participation, Separation of Powers”, the forum “Sexual Morals” of Bishop Franz-Josef Bode (Osnabrück) and the forum “Priestly Life Form” of Bishop Felix Genn (Münster) . An interim report was for the 12./13. September planned. Then there will be a joint meeting of bishops, members of the ZdK and other persons.
“I tell you sincerely, we have understood it”
Previously, the DBK chair assured the victims of sexual abuse in the church to do everything possible to solve cases and to help the victims. “We will continue our consistent path of work and education,” said Marx in a kind of foreword to the final press conference.
Addressing the German Catholics, the cardinal said that bishops felt how deeply touched many believers were from the abuse crisis. The bishops wanted to continue on the path of renewal and change. “We see and hear you, your criticisms, worries, needs, doubts and your demands.” I sincerely tell you: We understand. ”
Sternberg wants more clarity about synodal way of bishops
The top lay representatives of Catholics in Germany reacted positively to the announcement of a “synodal path”. “It must be clear what should be discussed and decided,” said the President of the ZdK, Thomas Sternberg , on Thursday the Münster portal portal church and life.de. “If that was just an open-ended discussion process, it would mean frustration and people want to see reform now.”
“We can imagine a synodal process without knowing exactly what it looks like,” said Sternberg . In addition, there were agreements in the committees of the ZdK, “for example, in the presidium and in the main committee, which meet next week”. Above all, it should be made clear what quorum should be used to equip such a body and that decisions taken are actually implemented. “It must not slip in non-binding,” warned the ZdK president.
Sternberg acknowledged that he had “hoped for the courage to really call the women’s Diakonat and the ordination for proven married men” as concrete reforms of the plenary meeting of the Episcopal Conference. Nevertheless, he was glad that an administrative court should be introduced in the Catholic Church in Germany. “This is an important step on the way to overcoming clericalism.” (source, source)