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Translated from the German with DEEPL:

Press release Munich/Rome, 12.2.2020

First Statement of We are Church on the Post-Synodal Letter of Pope Francis on the Pan-Amazonian Synod

The People's Movement of the Church We Are Church sees the post-synodal letter published today as a letter that is first of all of great importance for the people and peoples living in the Amazon, but also appeals to the world community to finally take effective responsibility in view of the situation in the nine countries of the Amazon region, which is important for the whole world.

In his usual clear language Pope Francis names the social, cultural and ecological problems, but at the same time he also points out visions of hope resulting from faith and Christian responsibility.

Apart from fundamental appreciation of the letter that is dedicated to the exploitation in Amazonia, it must also become clear that what "flesh and blood" should accept, what should grow "without weakening the identity, what should be credible and help the churches to find new life" is no longer possible in Germany, in Europe and everywhere after the abuse scandal without addressing the question of celibacy and the question of ordination offices for women. The church, its teaching and its structure also needs an inculturation in Europe which can be accepted and supported by the faithful. This is not the case at present.

Thus, against the background of the synodal journey that has just begun in Germany and which is connected with justified expectations also of structural church reforms, it is very disappointing that Francis in this post-synodal letter does not promise any opening for married priests and no ordination of women. Does he lack courage or is it the Cardinals who refuse any reform, such as Burke, Sarah, Müller and Brandmüller, and also the former Pope Benedict, who prevent Francis from allowing courageous steps for the future of the Church? Is the Roman Catholic Church thus proving to be completely incapable of reform?

Some selected aspects:

His call for a missionary and inculturated Church with an Amazonian face:

► This image of an inculturated church must be and become possible in the future in the same way for other regions of the world.

His statement that the priesthood in the universal church is not monolithic and takes different forms in different places on earth. Francis avoids a concrete statement for or against the celibate form of life:

► This is possibly also a consequence of the recent very irritating article by the former Pope Benedict on the question of celibacy and shows the dilemma in which Francis finds himself.

The emphasis on the common responsibility of priests, deacons, religious and laity, that is, people from the People of the Church, for the growth of communities. Here the Pope also expressly mentions "lay community leaders endowed with appropriate powers", which includes both women and men:

► This must become exemplary also for the German situation.

His warning against a discussion about the ordination of women. He connects this with his since the beginning of his pontificate again and again very clear criticism of the "clericalization" to which the discussion is directed. Rather, he suggests "the emergence of other specifically female ministries and charisms", without however becoming concrete:

► This is particularly disappointing for women and even more so for religious women, and at least in the European cultural area it can no longer be communicated.

[ English ]

Die Reformbewegung "Wir sind Kirche" wirft dem emeritierten Papst Benedikt einen Beitrag zur Spaltung der katholischen Kirche vor. Seine jüngsten Äußerungen zum Zölibat seien "ungeheuerlich", sagte der Sprecher der Bewegung, Christian Weisner, am Montag in München.

Joseph Ratzinger habe nach seinem Rücktritt als Papst gesagt, "dass er schweigen und sich nicht mehr in die Kirchenpolitik einmischen will". Jetzt tue er sich aber mit einem dezidierten Kritiker seines Nachfolgers Papst Franziskus zusammen. "Das ist eine Kirchenspaltung, zu der er ganz entschieden und in ganz unverantwortlicher Weise beiträgt", sagte Weisner. "Das ist ein ganz ungutes Zeichen."

Weisner rief die katholischen Bischöfe auf, sich deutlich zu distanzieren und ihm zu sagen: "Lieber Joseph Ratzinger, jetzt ist es mal genug."

Auch inhaltlich ist das Festhalten am Zölibat, das Ratzinger laut Vorab-Abdrucken in der französischen Zeitung "Le Figaro" in einem neuen Buch gemeinsam mit dem konservativen Kardinal Robert Sarah fordert, aus Sicht von "Wir sind Kirche" der völlig falsche Weg. Die Kirche könne in Zeiten des weltweiten Priestermangels "eine Missionstätigkeit und die Aufrechthaltung der Gemeinden bei uns anders gar nicht leisten", sagte Weisner.

"In der ganzen Kirchengeschichte gab es lange Phasen, wo der Zölibat nicht verpflichtend gewesen ist", betonte er. "Die katholische Kirche hat sich in der Vergangenheit viel mehr gewandelt als man es uns heute weißmachen will."

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/kirche-muenchen-wir-sind-kirche-wirft-papst-benedikt-kirchenspaltung-vor-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-200113-99-457545

AUTOMATIC TRANSLATION WITH DEEPL:

"We are Church" accuses Pope Benedict of church division The reform movement "We are Church" accuses the emeritus Pope Benedict of contributing to the division of the Catholic Church. His recent statements on celibacy are "outrageous", said the movement's spokesman, Christian Weisner, on Monday in Munich.

After his resignation as Pope, Joseph Ratzinger had said "that he would keep silent and no longer interfere in church politics". Now, however, he was joining forces with a determined critic of his successor Pope Francis. "This is a schism in the Church to which he is contributing in a very decisive and irresponsible way," Weisner said. "This is a very bad sign."

Weisner called on the Catholic bishops to distance themselves clearly and tell him: "Dear Joseph Ratzinger, enough is enough."

Also in terms of content, the adherence to celibacy, which Ratzinger demands together with the conservative Cardinal Robert Sarah in a new book, according to advance reprints in the French newspaper "Le Figaro", is from the point of view of "We are Church" the completely wrong way. In times of a worldwide lack of priests, the church could not otherwise "perform missionary work and keep the congregations upright in our country", Weisner said.

"In the whole history of the church there were long phases where celibacy was not obligatory," he stressed. "The Catholic Church has changed much more in the past than we are told today.

Best wishes

C h r i s t i a n W e i s n e r WE ARE CHURCH GERMANY

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