Didn't mince words in the Pentecost service broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk: Erding's city pastor Martin Garmaier. © Michaele Heske
Erding's parish priest likes to speak plainly. This time it could be heard all over Bavaria - not everyone in the church will have liked it.
Erding – Erding's city priest Martin Garmaier is known for clear words. For years, he has positioned himself clearly against the right and criticized the church's handling of sexual abuse in its own ranks. Now he has openly clashed with the Vatican and arch-conservative forces in the Catholic Church – and in front of an audience that went far beyond the parish church of St. John. Garmaier held the divine service on Pentecost Sunday, which was broadcast live by Bayerischer Rundfunk on its "Bayern 1" program.
He called for equality for women in the Church, as well as all the sacraments for remarried divorcees and same-sex marriages. He did not base his criticism on specific names and institutions. Nevertheless, it was clear against whom the words were directed.
On Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter, it is well known that the descent of the Holy Spirit to mankind is celebrated, just as Jesus had promised at his crucifixion. For the disciples, this was the signal that Jesus lives and reigns.
At the beginning of his sermon, Garmaier quoted Apostle Paul: "But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." The pastor recalled that Paul wanted the laws to be observed, but at the same time "dared to look beyond the letter of the law." He went on to quote: "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life".
Garmaier applied these words to the Catholic Church of today. He openly criticized the Vatican for its handling of the Synodal Way of the German Bishops' Conference. As is well known, this has been completed, and Rome rejects any liberalization of canon law. Garmaier recalled that the Synodal Way had been accompanied by criticism from the very beginning – and drew a parallel to Apostle Paul: "Very quickly, letters of various laws were put on the table, objections were made known and an attempt was made to counter supposed fears with dogmatic arguments." Some had "tried to prevent new things and cement old rules with the help of letters and laws".
Garmeier spoke of "power games within the Church of Jesus Christ." For him, however, God's Spirit does not manifest itself in letters, dogmas and laws, "but in the vitality of faith and life".
The Vatican and other forces of perseverance prevented the "freedom that Christ has obtained for us" from unfolding. Freedom could manifest itself, for example, in "how the love of remarried divorcees or same-sex people could be appreciated and celebrated as a gift from God and not the blessing of the latter being rejected and forbidden."
The "truly divine Spirit would probably also be felt where women in the Church are fully recognized and valued as created in love by God – and thus the consecration of them is not simply rejected with the argument that Jesus was a man". There are many more examples.
Not only the sermon was worth listening to, but also the musical-artistic program. The Great Choir and the Orchestra of the Parish Church, with soprano Katharina Peschl and choir director Georg Rothenaicher on the Rieger organ, impressively performed Joseph Haydn's "Missa Johannes de Deo", better known as the "Small Organ Mass".
Erdingerin (19) murdered - her ex-boyfriend (22) is also dead
Series of accidents over Pentecost in Erdinger Land
Freedom of expression versus defamation
"If necessary, they just put camp beds in": Municipality wants to prevent occupancy of new gym with refugees
Abitur at the Gymnasium Dorfen: "One of the best years we have ever had"
Fancy a voyage of discovery?