Supporters of a completely new official culture

Supporters of a “completely new official culture”

The Viennese pastoral theologian Prof. Paul M. Zulehner spoke in the debate about the continuation of the stalled German reform process “Synodal Path”. After the ordered stop in Rome for the planned Synodal Committee or Council, the question still remains as to how it will be possible to combine the “indisputable authority of the office” with the “fundamental equality of dignity and vocation of all” in the future. This requires a completely new understanding of the role, which renounces the “dramatic coloring of absolutism”, said Zulehner in the Ö1 program “In Focus” (Wednesday). “In my opinion, the solution lies in a completely new official culture, discolored by absolutism.”

According to the theologian, the episcopal understanding of the office that prevails to this day, which is based on official conduct and authority solely at one's own discretion, ultimately goes back to a model of absolutist thinking from the First Vatican Council (1869/70). This “back door” that allows bishops to rely on their own discretion shows “that we have not yet combined the need for sustainable consultation with the indispensable concern for the unity of the Church,” Zulehner said.

Also speaking in the studio conversation was Viennese dogmatics professor Jan-Heiner Tück, who recently expressed his objections to the planned Synodal Committee/Council by publishing an interview with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn on the “” portal. The criticism presented by Rome and Cardinal Schönborn is triggered mainly by the figure of the voluntary commitment of the bishops, as this “affects the constitution of the Church”, and by the fact that Pope Francis' evangelization impulses have not been sufficiently taken into account, of according to Tück. The most recent letter from the Vatican to the German bishops, which ordered the stop, was just the “culmination of a whole series of Roman interventions”, recalled the theologian.

It is desirable that dialogue between Rome and the German bishops be resumed as soon as possible – and that it also be recognized that Pope Francis' global synodal process is the place to discuss upcoming reform issues and to put them “openly into debate.” “. table”. place.

The Viennese pastoral theologian Prof. Johann Pock asked in a guest commentary in the weekly newspaper “Die Furche” (current edition, Thursday) what exactly people in Rome are really afraid of: “In my opinion, the argument of the possible destruction of the universal unity of the Church is not correct. Because a large part of the themes covered by the 'Synodal Path' in Germany were also named this way at the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.” Furthermore, Pope Francis “from the beginning placed an emphasis on regional decisions to the detriment of central decisions – and granted the Church in the Amazon region freedom for lay participation, which is now causing problems for the German Church”.

According to Pock, this makes it clear “that, ultimately, changes in canon law will be necessary to sustainably implement reforms in the Roman Catholic Church.” According to the theologian, one must be guided by the ancient Roman legal principle “Ius sequitur vitam”, which states: “Life does not have the right to follow, but rather the right to serve people's lives”.

Source: Kathpress