Munich/Freiburg (dpa) – When Joseph Ratzinger announced his resignation in 2013, he promised to live “hidden from the world” in the future. Every time he has spoken out publicly since then, critics fear that he is failing to keep this promise.
So now after announcing an interview that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. the “Herder Korrespondenz” published in Freiburg. First of all, in the written interview, he talks about his time as a pastor in a parish in Munich – but on the sidelines he makes remarkable and rather political statements.
Because with the officials of the Catholic Church in Germany he goes to court rather harshly. “As long as the ministry, but not the heart and mind, speaks in official church texts, the exodus from the world of faith will continue,” he wrote in response to questions in the Shepherd Correspondence. He expects “a real personal testimony of faith from the spokesmen of the church” – and with it, according to the assessment of the reform movement “We are the church”, especially the bishops.
Benedict criticizes: “In the ecclesiastical institutions – hospitals, schools, Caritas – many people are involved in decisive positions that do not support the internal mission of the church and therefore often obscure the testimony of this institution.”
Official Church texts in Germany are largely written by people “for whom faith is only official,” writes former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. “In that sense I have to admit that the word official church does indeed apply to a large part of the official church texts in Germany.”
Distance to word choice in “Freiburg speech”
In this regard, he also distances himself from the choice of words in his famous “Speech from Freiburg”, in which he called for the Catholic Church “to be removed from the world”. “I don’t know if the word ‘de-worldization’, which comes from the vocabulary developed by Heidegger, was cleverly chosen by me as the last key word in Freiburg,” he writes.
In his speech at the end of his 2011 visit to Germany, Benedict noted the “greater distance of significant parts of the baptized from ecclesiastical life”. Thus, the Church must “keep her distance from her environment; she must, as it were, keep herself “out of the world”. And: “To fulfill her proper mission, the Church must make a constant effort to break free from the worldliness of the world.” he said at the time.
Critics speak out immediately
Critics have repeatedly denounced the statements of the pope, who resigned in 2013, on church politics, fearing conservative forces in the Catholic Church could position him as a counterpope to the incumbent Francis.
This fear is also expressed by “We are Church” spokesman Christian Weisner: “With all due respect to his life’s work, many believers find it disturbing that Joseph Ratzinger repeatedly breaks his word to “live hidden from the world” that he wrote in his Hadith. resigned,” he told the German news agency. “The controversies over the course of his successor Pope Francis demonstrate the vexing effects of the former pope’s repeated meddling in current debates, such as the issue of celibacy.”
“When he specifically criticizes ‘the official church,’ he is mainly referring to fellow bishops in Germany,” Weisner said. 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 could 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 a decision of his predecessor.
Theologian describes statements as “naive at best”
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 ecclesiastical constitution, one cannot simply be a cleric, but with this office a class social and gender-discriminatory basic order is always confirmed, or the individual office holder personally wishes to do so. or not,” says the professor of theological ethics at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland of the German news agency.
Bogner uses the word “paradox”: “The institutional architecture exerts a weight that cannot be so innocently separated from the personal actions of government officials like Ratzinger,” he said. “For the former top official of the Catholic Church to speak of the office of ordination with such a list is naive at best.”