okt 172009

Nesten 10 år etter den berømte enigheten om rettferdiggjørelsen mellom katolikker og lutheranere, undertegnet i Augsburg 31/10-99, har man de siste månedene hatt stadig større problemer i de økumeniske relasjonene i Tyskland. Anna Arco skriver om et dokument produced for the Protestant EKD (Evangelische Kirche Deutschland) and subsequently leaked to the German press, the document was written for a conference in July but not published in full until recently.

The report (German) set out to look at three points and was less than complimentary. 1) Where does ecumenical dialogue stand? 2) “An awareness of irritations which are emanating from Rome” 3) What could these mean for the standing of ecumenical dialogue between the two Churches before the Ecumenical Church Days 2010. The “irritations” listed included the publication of Dominus Jesus in 2000 with its “famous-infamous description of the churches of the reformation which are not churches in an actual sense” which caused consternation and confusion as well as general criticism towards Pope Benedict. The report mentioned the Pope’s by now infamous address in Regensburg, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and of course, lifting the excommuncations hanging over the Lefebvrist bishops in January this year, among the problems they perceived to be coming from Rome.

It also listed the clerical child abuse scandals, lack of vocations and declining church membership as well as a defensive approach to Pentecostal Christianity in Latin America among further obstacles in ecumenical dialogue. It effectively accused the Vatican either of being incompetent in matters diplomatic or of having a strategy and intention which sets out to reverse the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Turning their eyes towards German ecumenism, the drafters of the report became more specific in their criticism. They viewed the appointment of Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg to follow Cardinal Karl Lehman as the head of the German bishops conference with scepticism. He was marked as a “controversial and therefore weakened candidate” from whom a “leading and marking force does not emanate”.

The paper concluded that the Catholic Church was in the middle of an internal wrestling match between modernisers and traditionalists—those who wanted to accept the Second Vatican Council and those who did not. This would affect the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church in Germany.

“Like a wounded boxer, the Catholic Church will sway between open gestures and rough delineation of boundaries, between ecumenical invitations and profile making delineation.”

Et annet sted leser vi at det sist onsdag ble avholdt et oppvaskmøte mellom katolikker og protestanter; et møte som gikk noenlunde bra. A memorandum by a senior German protestant clergyman heavily criticizing the Pope and the Catholic Church in Germany has thrown interfaith relations between the two denominations in the country into turmoil.

The paper describes Catholic Pope Benedict XVI as incompetent and unwilling to promote interfaith dialog between Protestants and Catholics. It also finds fault with the Catholic leadership in Germany for failing to take a consistent approach to the interpretation of church dogma.

On Wednesday, a crisis meeting of the leaders of the two denominations resulted in apologies but also in the growing realization that the cracks between the two have only been papered over.

The meeting lasted more than two hours, and, according to the head of the German Protestant Church, Wolfgang Huber, succeeded in re-establishing a level of trust

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