At the end of the weekly general audience in the Vatican, representatives of the “New Beginning” initiative of the “Christian Anthropology” working group presented Francis with a brochure containing their own statements about the Synod of Bishops he had called and the topics that were also discussed during the Synodal Way initiated by the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK ) and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).
The signatories of the document thank the Holy Father for the initiative started in October last year. Synod of Bishops on Synodality. “We are glad that hereby our proposals for a real reform of the Catholic Church in Germany have officially reached Rome, and also personally to the Pope, and that he had already known about our initiative” – said the authors of the Manifesto after the meeting and noted that Pope Francis showed great interest and asked some follow-up questions about the initiative and the manifesto. During the meeting, the Holy Father clearly encouraged to continue this initiative and signaled that he wanted to start a discussion with German bishops.
At the same time, the authors of the Manifesto criticize the fact that the official Synodal Way in Germany is getting out of control. “In the quarrels of politicized groups, the joy of the Gospel seems to be lost,” we read. The Manifesto and “Letter of the Pilgrim People of God to the Pope” was initiated by the publisher Bernhard Meuser and the theologian Martin Brüske, who teaches dogmatics at the University of Freiburg, Switzerland. The letter wrote, inter alia, “Dear Pope Francis, we are extremely grateful to You for the convening of the World Synod. The Church is badly wounded and needs real synodal reforms, supported by all the local Churches, so that she can regain a credible shape.”
The “Manifesto of Reform”, signed so far by almost 6,000 people, contains nine theses. They cover topics such as the legitimacy of the Synodal Way initiated by DBK and ZdK, the unity of the Church, power, women, marriage, the blessing of same-sex relationships, laity and priests, and sexual abuse. “We are criticizing what we consider to be radical demands on the Synodal Way, which would be tantamount to a self-secularization of the Church,” Meuser told the Austrian Catholic agency Kathpress in Rome.
The “New Beginning” initiative also draws its own conclusions. Every reform must be carried out in union with the universal Church; there cannot be any national special roads. Authority in the Church must serve, be legitimate and transparent. “In fact, there is also abuse of power in the Church,” we read. However, we do not want a “Church of officials and functionaries.”
They emphasize that the sacramentality of the Church must be preserved, as well as the difference between the clergy and the laity. Also, women’s abilities and charisms need to be appreciated more, but not allowing them to become priests is not discriminatory.
Moreover, they advocate the special status of marriage between a woman and a man as a sacrament. “No one should be deprived of the blessing, but the Church must avoid any appearance of giving a blessing comparable to marriage for marriage to all,” reads the Manifesto of Reform.
“We see ourselves as missionary disciples and we long for the dynamic, humble and serving Evangelii Gaudium Church,” declare the authors of the “Manifesto for Reform” and the “New Beginning” initiative, who during their pilgrimage to Rome and the tombs of the Apostles from January 4 to 8 together they pray for the spiritual renewal of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Creation date: Today, 13:28