Progressive Bishop Georg Bätzing
Title: New leader of German bishops signals no retreat from progressive line
Author: Elise Ann Allen
ROME – In a recent interview, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, the new president of the German bishops’ conference, signaled openness to both married priests and women’s ordination and appeared to criticize a lengthy essay by Pope Benedict XVI last year on the root causes of the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Bätzing responded to a question about why debate over women’s priestly ordination seems to have disappeared so quickly.
“It is not a question of fear,” he said, noting that throughout the Catholic Church’s recent history, “different popes have explained and underlined that women’s access to the priesthood cannot be decided by the Church, and Pope Francis is no exception.”
“In the Catholic Church the magisterium of the episcopal college cum Petro et sub Petro is the decisive instance,” Bätzing said. “But that does not mean that we cannot continue to talk about the issue of the ordination of women, because it is a question presented by the Church itself!”
Bätzing, 59, said the Church’s reasons for refusing women’s ordination “are no longer accepted” by large portions of the Catholic faithful.
As a result, Bätzing said he’s happy that the conclusions of a two-year “synodal path” in Germany eventually will be sent to Rome, including their resolutions on women and the role of ministers.
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