The head of the Catholic Church in Germany on Sunday faced fresh calls for "courageous reforms" in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated nearly 1,700 clerics.
Eight well-known theologians and Catholics wrote an open letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx urging the Church to "free diocesan priests to choose their own way of life," in other words, recommending a relaxation of strict celibacy rules.
The letter, published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper, also called for a limitation of church powers, the extension of full priesthood to women, and a "reasonable and just evaluation of homosexuality."
"If you position yourself at the top of the reform movement, you will have our determined support," the appeal read. "Turn a new page, write '2019' on it, and make a start."The signatories included Ansgar Wucherpfennig, rector of the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt — who has long called for the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of women. Read more via DW
Open letter to German cardinal urges changes to Church teaching on sexual morality
MAINZ, Germany - In an open letter published Sunday by a German daily, nine German Catholics, including two prominent Jesuits, demand a break with the Church’s teaching on sexual morality.
The signatories call for a reworking of ecclesial structure, namely a “separation of powers,” the priestly ordination of women, an end to mandatory priestly celibacy, and other changes.
Published in the Feb. 3 edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the letter is addressed to Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, president of the German bishops’ conference, and tells him that if he and other bishops were to decide to “spearhead the Reform movement,” they would be assured of the signatories’ full support.
Among those who signed the letter are the rector of the Sankt Georgen Graduate School in Frankfurt, Jesuit Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, as well as Jesuit Father Klaus Mertes and the Frankfurt City’s Catholic Dean, Father Johannes zu Eltz.
Wucherpfennig re-election as rector was recently called into question by the Vatican, because of comments made in 2016 in which claimed, among other things, that passages condemning homosexuality in the Bible had been “misread.” He has since been reinstated. Read more via Crux