Hollerich, Changing Doctrine. Synodal Path to the Unknown. Between Luther and Erasmus. : STILUM CURIAE

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The Roman Catholic Church must change its assessment of homosexuality, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SI, said in an interview with KNA, in which he was asked to assess a campaign in which some 125 employees of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, including some priests, have come out as LGBTQI+ and on the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. “I believe that the sociological and scientific basis for this teaching is no longer correct,” Hollerich said. “I think it’s time for a fundamental overhaul of doctrine.” Without going into the aspects of Church teaching that he deems necessary to revisit, Hollerich said, “I also believe that we think about the future in terms of doctrine. The way the pope has spoken in the past can lead to a change in doctrine”. It is recalled that Bergoglio sent messages of appreciation to priests and nuns who serve gay Catholics and said parents of gay children should never condemn them, while the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, said that Catholic priests cannot bless same-sex couples.

Admonition – The Church of Christ is not in the world to change itself according to the air that blows in the world, but it is in the world “to penetrate the hearts of men with the Gospel.” This should always be the way of the Church” (Pope Benedict XVI, 2012).

Jean-Claude Hollerich, SI (Differdange, August 9, 1958) was ordained a priest on April 21, 1990 for the Society of Jesus, which he joined in 1981. He has been Archbishop of Luxembourg since July 12, 2011, President of the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) from 8 March 2018 (COMECE aims to examine European Union policy and legislation from the perspective of the social doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church), rapporteur General of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from July 8, 2021, First Vice-President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) from September 25, 2021, Member of the Congregation for Catholic Education from September 29, 2021.

According to Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, YES, the Roman Catholic Church must change radically. “We cannot give the answers of the past to the questions of tomorrow,” he said in a recent interview with the German Catholic News Agency. Katholische Nachrichten Agentur (KNA). The church needs to stop reacting and instead think about how it wants to present itself in the future. “We are in year 0 of the digital age. And it will lead to changes so severe that we will die if we don’t position ourselves differently,” Hollerich said. He called the current shift in civilization the greatest change since the invention of the wheel. The Roman Catholic Church has always evolved with the times and adapted. However, today he must be faster, otherwise he will lose touch and never be understood again. But even in the digital age, the message of Christianity can be proclaimed “by being very human,” Hollerich said.

In the interview with DNA, Cardinal Hollerich also argued for a change in Catholic teaching on homosexuality, as he considers incorrect assessment a sin: “I believe that the sociological and scientific basis of this teaching is no longer correct. It’s time for a thorough examination, and how Pope Francis has commented on homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in teaching, he said.

Cardinal Hollerich said he knows gay priests and lay people in the Archdiocese of Luxembourg: “And they know they have a home in the Church. No one gets fired by us for being gay, and no one has ever been fired by us for that.” In his archdiocese, remarried divorcees are also active: “I cannot chase them away. They would become unemployed. How is it possible that such a thing is Christian? “, underlined the cardinal.

He considers the Catholic Church in Germany to be “very divided”, said Hollerich: “”I always regret when I see how left and right argue on Facebook. “It is important to walk the same path together – and sometimes to hold back a little: ‘I think reform can only happen if we live the mission of the Church at the same time,’ the Cardinal said. This includes, for example, advocating for people on the margins of society, refugees and social justice.

According to Hollerich, listening is on the agenda of bishops in the synodal process of the universal Church proclaimed by Pope Francis. This path also means that “I have to change as a bishop. That we all have to change after listening”. It is not enough to convince a party. It is also important in the process to listen to people distant from the Roman Catholic Church or belonging to a “marginal group”. “In my diocese, we also talked about the synodal journey in prison. And for me it was important to seek an opinion from the lesbian and gay association,” Cardinal Hollerich said.

Hollerich was placed by the Pope in a key position in the Synod on Synodality of the Roman Catholic Church. As General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome in the fall of 2023, he will play a key role in the preparation of the Instrumentum Laboris (the working text). Opened by Pope Francis in the fall of 2021, a course in several phases is planned until 2023 on the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”.

A new interview book has also been published these days, in which Hollerich talks to journalist Volker Resing, editor of Herder Korrespondenz. and with theologian Alberto Ambrosio on the life, faith and future of the Roman Catholic Church. In the book Was auf dem Spiel steht. Die Zukunft des Christentums in einer säkularen Welt (What’s at stake. The future of Christianity in a secular world) (Verlag Herder 2022, pp. 144), Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SI, speaks in five chapters of experiences, interruptions and twists of his life. He enters into his Catholic character in the “province of Luxembourg”, into his decision for the Jesuits and how his stay in Japan changed him. Content focuses on Europe, migration, youth work and the future of Christianity. The book presents itself as a journey “towards very different realities and ways of life of the Catholics of this world”.

Post Scriptum

We are on the path of the “synodal path” towards the unknown. The heresiarch Martin Luther waits, while Erasmus van Rotterdam warns.

We remember Erasmus van Rotterdam’s response to the heresiarch Martin Luther, who reproached him for remaining in the Catholic Church despite the corruption that reigned there: “Fero igitur hanc Ecclesiam donec videro meliorem: et eadem me ferre cogitur donec ipse fiam melior [Sopporto questa Chiesa, in attesa che divenga migliore, dal momento che anch’essa è costretta a sopportare me, in attesa che io divenga migliore](Hyperaspistae Diatribes [Difensori del Dialogo]Book I, March 1526).

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