Warning against “new German schism” in Catholic Church


Central Europe


Catholic Enlightenment. Criticism on the church on a cartoon postcard. Photo EPA, Philipp Guelland

On the same day as the opening of the so-called Synodal Path, a new initiative in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany warns of a schism in the church. In a letter to the bishops worldwide, the organisers of “New Beginning” (Neuer Anfang) describe a “spirit of rebellion and betrayal of the Gospel”.

The letter has “Seven Questions for the Catholic Church in Germany on Autonomy and Freedom”. The initiative warns against a new way of thinking of radical self-determination, which, in their opinion, threatens to lead the German Church into a schism.

According to its own information, the initiative “New Beginning” is an association of theologians, philosophers and anthropologists who advocate radical reforms of the Catholic Church but do not see a solution in the German “Synodal Way”. The German version of Catholic News Agency reports this.

The text of the #SiebenFragen action says: “It is no longer the Lord –His word and will– who is the focus, but the human being – his will, his interests, his identity, his desire, his freedom should determine what is the matter in the Church, what still seems plausible before the tribunal of modernity, what may be taught and lived and what not.”

Luther was not irrelevant

The letter appeals to the international bishops to use their influence to prevent another schism: “The fact that Pope Leo X once dismissed the theses of Martin Luther as irrelevant “monk bickering” was perhaps the most momentous mistake in church history. Exactly 500 years later, the Roman Catholic Church is once again about to play down a theological debate in a not-too-distant country, ignore it and consider it a German problem. The next schism in Christendom is just around the corner. And it will come from Germany again.”

The New Beginning Initiative had only presented Pope Francis with its own “Reform Manifesto” with 6,000 signatures at the beginning of January 2022. It accuses the operators of the Synodal Path of “abuse with abuse” – an instrumentalisation of the urgently needed abuse debate to bring about a different Church.

According to the initiative, in addition to the 67 German bishops, around 2,000 international bishops as well as 500 Catholic religious congregations, movements and institutes worldwide received an explanatory text entitled “This is not the Gospel” as well as a specialist theological invitation to scientific debate: “Seven questions for the Catholic Church in Germany on freedom and autonomy”.

Two clerics plea for change

There is a lot at stake in the Catholic Church in Europe at the moment. Only this week, two well-known clerics expressed their support for change. First, the Archbishop of Luxemburg, Jean-Claude Hollerich, pleaded for a different view on homosexuality, in an interview published at Katholische Presseagentur Österreich. According to him, the teaching that homosexuality is a sin is not right anymore. Also, this week, the Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, argued for the abolition of celibacy in the Church, as reported by CNE.news as well.



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