Overall, Germany’s highest bishop calls this a “fundamental breach of trust in the church.” In addition to the ban on blessing LGBTQ couples, he noted the Church’s non-participation in allegations of abuse and lawsuits; the Church’s refusal to cancel Easter services, when even Christian holidays were part of the call.
The president of the German Bishops ‘Conference Georg Batzing (C) speaks at the 2021 St Michael’s annual reception of the German Bishops’ Conference. Fabian Sommer / dpa
The president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg BÃ¤tzing, admitted a “fundamental breach of trust in the Church”.
In a striking self-critical speech to around 200 guests from Church, politics and society at the Catholic Office’s annual reception in Berlin, BÃ¤tzing said on Monday that the abuse scandal resulted in profound loss of confidence.
“The testimonies accepted and the reluctance to intervene reinforce this development and lead to long waiting times for those wishing to leave”, declared the bishop.
BÃ¤tzing was referring to Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who refused an expert opinion on how to deal with allegations of abuse due to legal issues.
BÃ¤tzing said the recent renewed Vatican ban on blessing same-sex couples also caused “outrage and nodding.” Open resistance to the Rome directive had been the result, illustrating “the inner turmoil of the Catholic Church” for all to see.
As in so many areas of society, the coronavirus crisis has added fuel to the flames and accelerated developments, he said.
The Church’s loss of status had become openly apparent during the pandemic, BÃ¤tzing said, citing that even Christian parties had joined in calls for the Church to cancel Easter services last spring.
The already notable drop in church tax revenues would be compounded by the ripple effects of the pandemic, which will require painful cost-cutting measures.