Association of Catholic Priests
cordially invites you to a
members Zoom presentation
What can the Irish Church learn from Germany?
with German Jesuit
Fr Bernd Hagenkord SJ
church journalist and formerly Vatican Radio and Vatican News
Tuesday 6th October 2020 @ 7.00pm
Meeting ID will be available on the website from 6th Oct 2020
Fr Bernd Hagenkord SJ spent ten years as editor-in-chief at Vatican Radio and Vatican News, before he took over the management of the Berchmann College in Munich. Fr Bernd was born in Hamm (Westphalia) in 1968 and joined the Jesuit order in 1992. Before his time at the Vatican, he worked as a youth chaplain in Berlin and Hamburg and was federal chaplain of the KSJ. From 2009 to 2017 he headed the German-speaking department of Radio Vatican. He blogs at https://paterberndhagenkord.blog/
A Little Background: The Catholic Church in Germany
Saint Boniface is the ‘apostle of Germany’. Notable cathedrals include Cologne, Freising, St Martin’s (Mainz), Worms, Berlin, etc. There are 27 dioceses (7 of them metropolitan sees).
Population is circa 84 million of whom circa 22.5million are Catholics (26%).
Episcopal Conference led by Bishop Georg Bätzing, who took over from Cardinal Reinhard Marx. It is the wealthiest Catholic church in Europe, thanks to a church tax, deducted by the state! Many people are leaving the church, de-registering. Abuse (and the church’s handling of it) has taken a toll, as has the ‘Tebartz effect’ or the ‘Bishop of Bling.’ “Investigations revealed alleged misappropriation of church funds by Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst over several years.”
The Synodal process is underway in Germany
A two-year ‘Synodal Way’ was announced by German Bishops last year, bringing laity and bishops together to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women. In June, Pope Francis sent a 28-page letter to German Catholics urging them to ‘focus on evangelization in the face of a growing erosion and deterioration of faith.’ The first Synodal Assembly took place in Frankfurt in January. The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed plans.
Commenting on the Synodal Way, Bishop Bätzing said whilst the “substance of the Faith” is immutable, in his view, “the self-revelation of God continues steadily.” He added that the Church needs to always seek out the “signs of the times”, and where necessary “develop” its teachings.