What can the Irish Church learn from Germany? – Zoom presentation with Fr Bernd Hagenkord SJ Tues 6th Oct 2020 @ 7.00pm – All welcome!

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.

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  1. Michael Forde says:

    Full marks to to Gerry and Bernd and everybody who joined the Zoom Meeting! It was very worthwhile and encouraging and stimulating to share expertences of Church and to feel the diversity and hear the voices of women and men.

  2. Tim Hazelwood says:

    What stayed with me from the presentation was the realisation and acknowledgement from the German bishops that the ‘old way’ is gone, over. Even though they are unsure of what the future holds they see synodality as the way forward.

    Oh for some reality treatment for our leadership in Ireland.

  3. Phil Greene says:

    Great first conversation – the time went in so quickly!

    My takeaways as an ordinary Jane looking in were :
    The church is very rich in DE. Rome stays very close to DE (so they must exercise quite a lot of power I surmise).
    The synodal Church is made up of clerics, lay people with degrees etc. in Theology and religious studies. (My own thoughts- thereby excluding many, but a good first step.)
    Open communication is actively promoted and good relationships seem to exist between all involved.
    The Church cannot move forward in many areas without solving the problem of how it treats women first.
    “Be patient” was the key message surrounding solving the CC difficulty with women.
    Priests everywhere want to focus on their core calling rather than on all the administrative work. (The words “be patient” scream silently from me.)

    I was quite disheartened to be told that we need to be patient so many times surrounding the difficulty the CC hierarchy has with women and with changes to the CC’s relationship with lay people in general, but quite heartened to hear so many genuinely concerned questions about these issues asked locally, and thank you John for your kind words too.

    Well done to all, more please!

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