Germany, Austria and Switzerland: More than 200 progressivist theologians demand a series of reforms in the Church

Source: FSSPX News

The progressivist movement Pax Christi (on this picture) speaks of “important impulses”.

The February 4 edition of Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that, under the title “Kirche 2011:Ein notwendiger Aufbruch” (Church 2001: a new departure necessary), 143 theologians, both men and women, from Germany, Austria and Switzerland demanded a reinforced participation of believers in the designation of bishops and priests, the ordination of married men, and more respect for the liberty of the individual conscience, allowing homosexuals and remarried divorcees to receive the sacraments.

“Last year more Christians than ever before left the Catholic Church,” they remark.  The Church should understand these signs, and “come out of her rigid structures to gain in new strengths of life and in credibility”.

The German theologian Manfred Lutz describes this memorandum as “a document of resignation and despair”.  In the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung, he suggests that anyone who, as a Catholic, shares in the demands of this declaration,  “promptly join the Protestant Church”, for all the controversial questions are there tackled and treated in the sense of a Protestant solution.  According to him, these theologians no longer play today in the public media debates “any important role, for we want clear Catholic positions”.

As for the Conference of German Bishops, it has reacted with extreme prudence.  It declared that it would present its own propositions at its general assembly, in March 2011.  That scientific men should also want to participate in the dialogue on the future of the faith and the Church is a good sign, placidly declared the Secretary General of the Conference of Bishops, Fr. Hans Langendorfer, all the while admitting – with an acute sense of euphemism – that on a good number of questions this declaration “enters into a tension (sic) with theological convictions and highly restrictive religious requirements.”  Without any ambiguity, the Central Committee of German Catholics, Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholikien, the Confederation of Catholic Youth, Bund der katholischen Jugend, and the Movement of the Church, Kirchenvolksbewegung, have already taken sides in favor of the initiative of the theologians.

On February 8, four days after its publication, the memorandum of the German speaking theologians already had 200 signatures.  And new support continues to manifest itself.  Thus does the progressivist movement Pax Christi speak of “important impulses”.  According to the secretary general, Christine Hoffmann, the text reveals the importance of the participation of laymen in the Church's internal dialogue.  The Community of Catholic Women in Germany, for its part, salutes the theologians' position.  “The call underlines yet again the urgent need for reforms in the Church.  We fully and entirely share this position”, declared Maria Theresia Opladen, president of the association.  And She recalled the declaration published by her movement in June 2010, entitled “Die Chance zur Erneuerung ist jetzt” (The Chance for Renewal is Now).

For Wolfgang Beinert, professor emeritus of dogmatic theology in Regensburg, to revise the obligatory celibacy of Catholic priests “is a difficult decision that one cannot escape”.  With a relief team of priests far from being guaranteed, the Church will no longer be able to do her duty in central Europe and in many other parts of the world if she does not take action. (Sources: Apic/kna/FSSPX-Allemagne – DICI no.230, Feb.19,2011)

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