German Catholics challenge the Pope and the Vatican

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Despite the warning blows: the Catholic Church in Germany continues its reform process after the scandal of abuse. C & # 39; is a huge conflict between the pope and the German clergy.

German Catholics are following the planned reform process and therefore continue to move towards a conflict with the Pope. A two-day preparatory conference of about 50 bishops and laity ended Saturday in Fulda "with a clear appeal to continue with courage the synodal path chosen and committed in the spirit of the Gospel ", said the German Bishops' Conference. A letter from the Vatican, which became public on Friday, strongly criticized the reform process and warned against attempts alone.

Power, sexual morality, celibacy, women

After learning about the sexual abuse of children and young people by clerics, the bishops had decided on a reform process in the spring. Under the title "Synod", Catholics in Germany want to deal with power in the church, church sexual morality, celibacy and women in the church. For each of the four thematic areas, a working document has now been prepared. The so-called representation of the laity is definitely involved in this: the Central Committee of German Catholics.

The other part, c & # 39; is a strong resistance from the Vatican. The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, had warned against decisions on controversial issues such as celibacy and women in the Church and had also criticized lay participation in decisions. In a letter to the German Bishops' Conference, he clarified from an expert opinion that the particular German church could not decide on questions such as the position of women, because they concerned the entire world church. Non-clerics have no right to decide: the church "is not democratically structured".

Letter to Pope Francis

The participants at the Fulda meeting, however, rejected the Vatican's objections and wrote a letter to Pope Francis. They wanted "to have in mind both the unity of the whole church and the situation on the ground," he says. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops' Conference, also defended the involvement of lay representatives: "The church is not there for its own sake". He refers explicitly to Pope Francis – the German religious brothers and sisters, however, had clearly warned against loneliness in the summer.

The conference has already taken a step back on an important point: on important issues, the bishops' vote should be decisive only in the Synod Way. Cardinal Marx will travel to Rome next week to dispel "possible misunderstandings" surrounding the "Via Synodale".

Thomas Sternberg, president of the lay representative, said that there are "systemic problems" in the church that promote abuse. Now it is a question of "regaining confidence to speak credibly about our faith".

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