More harm than good

More harm than good

Archbishop Ludwig Schick © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

The new Vatican document on parish reforms and the role of the laity also preoccupies the German pastors. Bamberg Bishop Ludwig Schick regrets the instruction from Rome. It would have been better not to publish this.

It brings "more harm than good" to the church and its missionary mandate, according to a statement released Thursday. The paper is theologically deficient and does not address the particular situation of the church on the ground. But this would be necessary.

"Vague and inaccurate"

As a "major shortcoming," the archbishop criticizes the fact that neither cause nor purpose are explicitly mentioned in the paper. "What the Congregation for the Clergy ied this instruction for is nowhere made clear." This opens "room for all kinds of speculation that causes harm".

For an ecclesiastical lawyer, it is "unacceptable" that the paper only recalls individual provisions of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, without taking into account the development of doctrine since then and the concrete conditions on the ground, writes the archbishop, who himself holds a doctorate in canon law. "Vague and imprecise" in its main part, the Instruction reminds us of the meaning and purpose of the parish, as well as of the leadership mandate of pastors. The ecclesiastical sense of the ministry of the priests and ministers in the parishes does not come however to the effect.

No need for action for the archdiocese

On the positive side, Schick notes that, according to the Vatican paper, the whole church and every parish should be mission-oriented. "This corresponds to the intention of the structural changes in the archdiocese of Bamberg and strengthens our intention to be a missionary church."

The formation of the pastoral areas was done in the spirit of the Vatican Council, which defined the Church as the community of all the baptized, Schoe’s statement said. In addition, it corresponds to the word of the German bishops on the renewal of pastoral ministry "Being Church Together". The principle applied during the deliberations was: "What concerns everyone must be dealt with and accepted by everyone"."Therefore, there is no need for the archdiocese to act on the basis of the new instruction.

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