Critics don't like it when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
expresses himself on church politics.
But now he has done it again - with a clear message to church people in Germany.
Munich / Freiburg - When Joseph Ratzinger announced his resignation in 2013, he promised to live “hidden from the world” in the future.
Whenever he has expressed himself publicly since then, critics fear that he is not keeping this promise.
So now after the announcement of an interview that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. the "Herder Korrespondenz" published in Freiburg. First and foremost, in the written interview, he speaks about his time as a pastor in a Munich parish - on the sidelines, however, he makes noteworthy and quite political statements.
Because with the officials of the Catholic Church in Germany he goes into judgment with some degree of severity.
"As long as only the office speaks in church official texts, but not the heart and the spirit, the exodus from the world of faith will last", he writes in answers to questions in the "Herder Correspondence".
He expects "a real personal testimony of faith from the spokesmen of the church" - and by this means, according to the assessment of the reform movement "We are the church", primarily the bishops.
Benedikt criticizes: "In the church institutions - hospitals, schools, Caritas - many people are involved in decisive positions who do not support the internal mission of the church and thus often obscure the witness of this institution."
Official texts of the Church in Germany are largely written by people "for whom faith is only official," writes the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
"In this sense, I have to admit that the word official church does indeed apply to a large part of church official texts in Germany."
Distance to choice of words in "Freiburg speech"
In this context he also distances himself from the choice of words for his famous “Freiburg speech”, in which he called for the Catholic Church to be “removed from the world”.
“I do not know whether the word“ de-worldization ”, which comes from the vocabulary developed by Heidegger, was cleverly chosen by me as the final keyword in Freiburg,” he writes.
In the speech at the end of his visit to Germany in 2011, Benedict noted the “increasing distance of considerable parts of the baptized from church life”.
The church must therefore "keep distancing itself from its environment; it has to" de-worldly "itself, as it were.
And: "In order to fulfill its actual mission, the church must again and again make the effort to break away from the worldliness of the world," he said at the time.
Critics speak up immediately
Critics repeatedly disapprove of the statements made by the Pope, who resigned in 2013, on church politics, because they fear that conservative forces in the Catholic Church might position him as an antipope to the incumbent Francis.
This fear is also expressed by “We are Church” spokesman Christian Weisner: “With all due respect for his life's work, many believers find it disturbing that Joseph Ratzinger repeatedly breaks his word to“ live hidden from the world ”that he had with his Had given resignation, "he told the German press agency. "The controversies about the course of his successor Pope Francis show the irritating effects of the repeated interference of the former Pope in current debates, such as the question of celibacy."
"When he specifically criticizes" the official church ", he is primarily referring to the fellow bishops in Germany," says Weisner.
From his point of view, there is “a great danger that conservative forces in the Catholic Church will also interpret this as clinging to the image of priests of the time long before the Second Vatican Council”.
He also finds the timing of the publication remarkable: “It may be a coincidence,” he says, that the conversation was published shortly after Benedict's successor Francis published his decision to allow the Latin Mass only under certain conditions and thus conceded a decision by his predecessor.
Theologian describes statements as "at best naive"
For the theologian Daniel Bogner, the statements of the emeritus are “naive at best”. His statement “completely ignores the fact that as a consecrated person in the Catholic Church with its monarchical church constitution one cannot simply be a clergyman, but with this office always a class social and gender-discriminatory basic order is confirmed, whether the individual office holder intends this personally or not “, Says the professor for theological ethics at the University of Friborg in Switzerland of the German press agency.
Bogner uses the word “paradox”: “The institutional architecture exerts a weight that cannot be so innocently separated from the personal actions of public officials as Ratzinger does,” he said. "If the former highest official of the Catholic Church speaks with such a list of the consecration office, it is naive at best." Dpa