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Catholic Church: Vatican snubs German laypeople


The head of the German Bishops' Conference in Rome wanted to debate work in parishes with reform-minded laypeople. But the Vatican only wants to speak to clerics.

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Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference and Bishop of Limburg, Georg Bätzing


Thomas Frey / picture alliance / dpa

With its "Instructions for the Parishes" published in July, the Vatican caused incomprehension and criticism in German church circles.

The instruction authorized by the Pope strongly emphasizes the role of the priest in the community and opposes the use of lay people, i.e. non-clerics, as leaders of parishes.

In view of the great shortage of priests, this model is already being used in Germany and favored by many representatives of the reform-oriented so-called Synodal Way.

The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing, wanted to discuss the controversial instruction together with the Presidium of the Synodal Way in Rome.

But the request was denied - presumably because the committee is also made up of lay people.  

Discuss with bishops only

The Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has declared that they want to discuss the paper with representatives of the German bishops, the Bishops' Conference said on Monday in Bonn.

In a letter to Bätzing, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, gave theological and canonical advice on the mission of the parishes to the German Church, according to the Bishops' Conference.

The bishops' conference did not disclose what exactly the cardinal wrote.

Synodal way should not allow anything to be prescribed

"If the church leadership in the Vatican does not finally give up its authoritarian hierarchy behavior, it will continue to lose the trust of believers and its own credibility", comments the independent movement "We are Church".

She appeals to the bishops and members of the Synodal Way "to stop being petty and discriminatory dictates how they should organize their community life as believers".

"We are the Church" criticized the instruction from Rome as being unrealistic and backward-looking and criticized the fact that although Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki from Cologne was a member of the Congregation for the Clergy, he did not address the controversial instruction before it was published.

"Sign of the times not recognized"

According to Bätzing, according to the Bishops' Conference, even with the synodal path further, the conversation appears "appropriately in terms of the matter".

"When it can take place, Bishop Bätzing will discuss with the congregation."

"The Vatican has not recognized the signs of the times," criticized the deputy federal chairwoman of the Catholic women's community in Germany (kfd), Agnes Wuckelt.

The fact that Cardinal Stella does not accept Bishop Bätzing's suggestion shows that the Vatican does not meet lay representatives on an equal footing.

In Germany, non-clerics worked trustfully with the bishops.

"We expressly welcome that Bishop Bätzing continues to campaign for a discussion with the Presidium of the Synodal Way in Rome," said Wuckelt.

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ala / dpa / AFP

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2020-10-26

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