Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Bishop Oster: “The Danger is a Split is Greater”

Passau Bishop skeptical about possible changes in sexual teaching by DBK: "We might then be out of the media focus, but at the same time religious indifference would grow.”

Passau ( The Passau Bishop Stefan Oster has commented on his blog once again at the spring plenary meeting of the German Bishops' Conference in Lingen and once again addressed the painful topic of "abuse.” Oster recalled that the phenomenon of abuse of children and adolescents naturally also existed in the rest of society. In the case of the victims, however, the ratio of girls to boys is around 4: 1, whereas in the Church it is usually the other way round, that is to say rather 1: 4. So he asks himself: "Who is drawn to the ‘Church system’ here - and how do we deal with it? How does priestly life today succeed under such radically changed social conditions? What role does the phenomenon of same-sex orientation play, even among priests?”

Oster once again praised celibacy, stressing that he considers life in the example of Jesus to be a great spiritual treasure in our Church, while he considers a farewell to priestlycelibacy “a great spiritual loss". "Our way of life already points to the actual, life completely filled with Him in the reality of God, in which one is loved not less but more and more deeply loved - but just not married anymore (Lk 20,35) .. Successful celibate life testifies to a fertility which comes from the Lord, and which exceeds purely biological fertility, contributing to the birth of new children of God (cf Jn 3: 3),”  writes Oster. His option is therefore that one must try everything to preserve the way of life of Jesus as a way of life for the priests. But one must also look honestly.

He also saw a direct connection between the "spiritual substance of a believing people" and the "spiritual substance of priestly life" and thus also the number of priests the Lord gave to the people. For Easter, therefore, a change based merely on structural "needs" was much too short. In a free election of celibacy for priests, according to the bishop, the celibate form of life among the diocesan priests would disappear rather quickly and be confined to the monasteries.

He was also skeptical of Cardinal Marx's promotion of sexual morality. It is necessary to justify here why what was previously sin is now no longer sin and now perhaps even should be blessed. These questions also touch upon the doctrine of faith and ethics so much that at the same time there must be a development on the world Church level. "Some hope for an impetus from us in Germany, which would then be so intense and convincing that it could prevail  in the world Church or just could apply to us because of regional differences. I think both ideas are not realistic,” said Oster.

The bishop also criticized the fact that in Lingen reference was made to "new human scientific insights" without actually putting them into practice. He did not really hear anything substantial here. "Rather, I am convinced that the theology of the body developed by Pope John Paul II unveils the constitution of human beings as a personal, relationship-oriented, sexual being in a well-grounded way. At the same time, it does justice to our biblical tradition and, in my opinion, also addresses the heights of humanistic sciences," emphasizes the bishop, while there are all too many of the “reform minded” that rather want to “dampen further development”  in the area of sexual morality, since otherwise the frustrations afterwards would only be all the greater and likewise offers the danger of a split. With this topic, however, Oster is focused upon the trust in the Lord and that this can actually change and deepen the ability to love. This always includes and does not exclude the dimension of sexuality and, in his view, leads to a sexual morality as the Church teaches.

Oster also points out that, even if there were a possible change in the Church's sexual morality, the Church would not be implicitly less the Church nor would the teaching somehow be more humane, more forgiving, and more acceptable to all. The situation of Protestant cousins makes this hope seem deceptive to Oster. "Maybe we would be out of the media focus, but at the same time, religious indifference would grow with not a few - when the Church is finally like a liberal society would like to have it. But I hardly see growth opportunities for the Church," said the bishop

In conclusion, the bishop believes that many faithful believers simply want to be Catholic and receive and live the faith as delivered and celebrated by the apostles, scripture, tradition and liturgy. He himself just wants to be Catholic and let himself be changed anew. I want to do that too, and I have repeatedly promised in my ordination as deacon, priest, and bishop that I will stand up and fight for this very belief with complete conviction, and I am sure that the Lord will bless all and anyone can also experience joy, who embarks on this path - no matter how challenging the times are,” writes Oster.

Diocese of Passau - Bishop Stefan Oster on the Church code of conduct (Vatican Codex) in the face of the sexual abuse scandal

Trans: Tancred


No comments: