Interview with German Bishop Stephan Ackerman (Trier - 6 February 2014)

 Compiled and translated from German by Bernie Aurin.


Febr. 6, 2014 - Stephan Ackermann (50), Bishop of Trier, and appointee of the German Bishop’s Conference for abuse cases, was interviewed by the “Allgemeine Zeitung” of Mainz. (Trier has a population of about 100,000 – pretty much the same it had in the 4th century when the Roman emperors resided here. Trier has been a diocese since the 3rd century – Germany’s oldest.)


The whole interview was not made available, but the newspaper article reported that the following was said by Ackermann:



BUT . . .

The Church’s teaching on morals and sexual ethics needs to change


The recent survey has shown that the moral teaching of the Church is considered to be focussed on rules and bans and to be far removed from reality.


If we strengthen people’s feeling of being responsible then we also need to respect the decisions they make before their own conscience.


It does not fit into our times anymore to consider a marriage that follows a divorce as everlasting mortal sin and not to admit the re-married to the sacraments.


It is not maintainable to consider every kind of pre-marital sex to be a grave sin.



We cannot change the Catholic teaching completely, but we can define criteria which allow us to say that in this or that specific case it is permissible.

It is not right that there exists only the ideal on the one side and condemnation on the other side.


The distinction between natural and unnatural methods for preventing pregnancies is artificial and nobody understands this anymore.



The Christian image of a person is based on the two opposing sexes . . .

. . . but we cannot say that homosexuality is unnatural.

Homosexuality may not be practiced as promiscuity and satisfaction of sexual instincts.


The Catholic Church insists on the uniqueness of the marriage between a man a woman . . .

. . . but if the registering of the relationship strengthens the fidelity and responsibility we cannot ignore this conscious act of taking responsibility.

Blessing homosexual couples, as is done in the protestant churches, is not our way.

Celibacy is not a dogma of the Church . . .

. . . but the priesthood includes the commitment to this type of life . . .

. . . but I cannot predict what changes we will see in this area in the future.