Würzburg / Munich (dpa) – Catholic pastors openly opposed to Rome, a hashtag “#Pastoral disobedience” that is spreading fast: the Vatican’s decisive no to the blessing of homosexual partnerships has not let the discussion go, all the way in the opposite.
“It’s a word of power,” says Martin Kirschner, professor of theology in transformation processes at the Catholic University of Eichstätt, about the no from Rome. “It is an attempt to own and determine the space of the church, also to avoid open communication processes.”
And this attempt has turned into the opposite: “Now one can see how such an intervention achieves the opposite of what it supposedly aims to achieve: instead of ending a debate, this debate starts just and with full force,” says Kirschner. . “A word of power that hides parts of reality and tries to prevent conflict undermines one’s own authority. It makes visible what is excluded and denied from one’s own position. “
Roma locuta, causa finita? Are you kidding me, are you serious when you say that?
More and more priests are posting online that they think the guidelines from Rome are wrong, that they don’t follow them, that they want to be “disobedient” – a very unheard word in the Catholic Church.
The Bishop of Essen, Franz-Josef Overbeck, believes that Church education “urgently requires a comprehensive view of human sexuality”. The declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has offended and hurt many people with a homosexual orientation. Such a position is no longer accepted today. The attitude of the faithful cannot be ignored by the Vatican.
And hundreds of church people meanwhile want to inform Rome in writing that they no longer want to participate. University pastor Burkhard Hose from Würzburg and pastor Bernd Mönkebüscher from Hamm, who came out publicly as gay two years ago, have started a signature campaign. “We don’t want to fixate on this very narrow and outdated view of sexuality, but we see loving people,” said Hose of the German news agency.
According to him, nearly 2,000 people have now signed – most of them Catholic theologians, priests, religious, pastors, parish officials or parish officials. The gathering will take place by Palm Sunday – after that the list will be handed over to the chair of the German Conference of Bishops, Georg Bätzing, and the chair of the forum “Sexuality and Partnership”, Birgit Mock. An exact date has not yet been set – preferably before Easter.
“The reasoning in this decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has shocked us: it is based on a very outdated – now obsolete – concept of natural law,” says Hose. “We consider it irresponsible to formulate ecclesiastical decisions and judgments on such a basis that has long been scientifically obsolete.” The response has been overwhelming. “The large number that surprised us shows that there is a will to ignore such bizarre statements from Rome in a concrete, everyday pastoral life,” says the university pastor.
And this is exactly where theologians and Reformers see a new quality in the protest against Rome. Because the revolutionary wind no longer blows only with reform movements such as “We are Church” or “Mary 2.0”, with church associations and even not only with the members of the parishes, but now reaches the clergy, who are not afraid, openly for their opinion to express. “This spirit is growing,” said Daniel Bogner, professor of theological ethics at the University of Friborg in Switzerland.
“This is a whole new level,” said We are Church spokesperson Christian Weisner. “You dare.” This is also thanks to Pope Francis and a more open climate of debate that makes this possible. Weisner and Bogner are sure this would not have happened under Pope Benedict XVI.
“Right now, there is an opportunity that gives hope that in this supposedly rigid block, dynamism is possible and yet a change is possible that you would not have expected,” says Bogner. “Catholics, including Catholic priests, are becoming aware that the whole thing is at stake if you don’t take more responsibility for it than before. Because the church in its current form is increasingly getting in the way of its actual message. “
The crisis of abuse of recent years has “turned the unstable structure of the Catholic Church into a dead end and crisis” and hopes for reforms coming from the top of the Church “are increasingly in vain”.
Bogner sees the Congregation’s responses to the Congregation’s categorical no to the blessings of gay and lesbian relationships as something he calls a “ third way, ” a path between reforms from above and the eternal, so frustrating way of doing things for many. believers: take matters into their own hands. When asked if disobedient priests could expect canonical consequences, he said this remarkable phrase: “The ancien régime before the French Revolution was also right.” However, after a social struggle, this was replaced by a heavier right, human rights. trial is still partly for the church. “