Switzerland: An "explosive" publication before the Synod on the Family
In Switzerland, in view of the upcoming Synod on the Family, a work presents the portraits of five families committed to the Church, including a female "couple". Written in Swiss German by Arnd Bünker and Hanspeter Schmitt, it is entitled Familienvielfalt in der katholischen Kirche (Diversity of Families in the Catholic Church). According to Apic on July 28, 2015, the work unsurprisingly comes to the conclusion that "most Catholic ecclesial communities in Switzerland are very open to the alternative forms of families that exist in present day society." The book also includes "discussions with specialists on science and pastoral theology, as well as reflections on the questions of gender and rites."
In the July 15 edition of the Zurichese newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), journalist Simon Hehli, voiced the idea that the work's goal is "to take the opposite view of the more conservative positions" of the bishop of Chur, Bishop Vitus Huonder, on the family. This claim was denied in the same edition on July 28 by Daniel Kosch, secretary general of the Central Roman Catholic Conference of Switzerland (RKZ).
Daniel Kosch explained that the book's goal is "to document the reality of the diversity of families and to arouse awareness of the challenges the Church has to face." According to him, the book draws attention to the "urgent need for a further development of the proclamation of the Church's message, her ethics and her juridical order." For the secretary general of the RKZ, "the pastoral practice and the language of the Church should take into account the fact that the situations of couples and families of believers and faithful are more diverse and more fragile than the Church in this country is often willing to admit." Daniel Kosch grants that the publication is potentially "explosive", as Simon Hehli suggested.
The work written by Arnd Bünker, director of the SPI (Swiss Institute of Pastoral Sociology), and Hanspeter Schmitt, professor of theological ethics at the High School of Theology of Chur (THC), was funded by the "ecclesiastical corporations" of the cantons of Zurich, Argovia, Lucerne, Nidwald, Saint-Gall and Bâle-Campagne, known for their intemperate progressivism.
The bishop of Bâle spoke out in a long interview broadcasted on July 26 by the Zurichese weekly Schweiz am Sonntag. Without directly mentioning the work in question, Bishop Felix Gmür wished that the Church would "go out of herself to go towards people." And he claimed: "On the level of my personal belief, I can imagine women at the altar." The head of the largest diocese in Switzerland declared that the ecclesial communities and parishes should "act on the level of the important social issues, be it through concrete acts to protect the climate or in the matters of immigration and the changes in the structure of the population." The prelate declared he is "convinced that we have to discern what preoccupies the faithful" and wants to believe despite the alarming official statistics that the Church in Switzerland "continues to grow".
(sources: apic/blick – DICI no.319 dated August 7, 2015)