At a visit to La Croix during a Paris conference organized by the German, Swiss and French bishops' conferences on "The common good in Europe," Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, a member of Pope Francis' advisory council of cardinals, reflects on the crisis that the Church is currently experiencing.
How to do you see the crisis that the Catholic Church is experiencing today?
Cardinal Reinhard Marx: Since Vatican II, we have asked ourselves how the Church should situate itself within a modern, pluralist society where people are free to believe or not that Jesus was raised from the dead and that they can actually meet him. What we need to imagine is not 'a new Church' but a Church that situates itself 'in another way.'
Catholics themselves have said they want change. However, this is a slow and painful process. Raising awareness does not occur at the same pace everywhere and some prefer to seek security in the past. This is reinforced today by a loss of credibility resulting from the revelations of sexual abuse, as well as from a lack of financial transparency and a culture of secrecy.
Do you have any concrete proposals in Germany to 'rebuild the Church'?
We don't have a 'German response' to the crisis! The path ahead needs to be sought with the universal Church and not just in Rome. We cannot conceive of the universal Church without the local Churches. It is not a pyramid. People can learn from the Church in Germany. But let us not forget that, like other countries, we have had our failures.
Everywhere our Churches are losing members, except perhaps, it seems to me, in South Korea. Why? Because Christianity there looks like a religion of the future.
We need to convince ourselves once again that the Church is a force for progress, a response for today and for tomorrow. And to achieve that it is necessary to return to the Gospel and to charity with the poor.
For us Christians, every man and women, whatever his or her color, religion or sexual orientation, is made in the image of God. We belong to the same family and this affirmation in its radicalness distinguishes us from other religions. That is the message that is most necessary today!