Of “pastoral deadly sins”

Of 'pastoral deadly sins'

Religious educator Albert Biesinger responds to protests by women in the church by calling for a new religious network. In addition to changes in ordination requirements, he said there needs to be more quality in pastoral care.

Albert Biesinger, a religious educator from Tubingen, has called on the Catholic bishops for immediate reforms. "The protests by women and the new study on the shrinking of the churches are a final alarm call," he told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Freiburg on Friday.

"If nothing fundamental changes now, even more people will turn away from the Christian churches and be lost forever to the Christian message."

Biesinger sees two steps as crucial: first, ordaining women as deacons; second, ordaining married men in civilian jobs as priests. Only in this way can a new network of religious life emerge.

Understanding for women's protests

"Women are the pillars of church life. If we continue their grievance and continue to exclude them from ordination, the consequences will be disastrous," said the theologian.

He could understand the nationwide protests of Catholic women planned starting this weekend. Based on the Munster initiative "Maria 2.0" there will also be church strike actions in Baden-Wurttemberg. Protest actions are planned in front of Freiburg Cathedral on Sunday – on the fringes of the ordination of six men as priests.

Quality improvement in pastoral care necessary

Biesinger called an increase in the quality of pastoral and religious services necessary. It was, for example, a "pastoral mortal sin" not to address the existential questions of meaning and doubts of faith of parents in the preparation for First Communion.

"If there is no family-oriented catechesis, after the solemn service children as well as parents are gone again. Such homemade mistakes must finally be avoided."

The religious educator, who taught at the University of Tubingen for many years and has written standard works on religious education, spoke out in favor of more "faith communication with a real connection to life" in daycare centers, kindergartens and schools. Catholic youth work also needs to become more competent, he added.

"The Christian faith lives from its liberating promises. But if the church withdraws further and further from the proximity of the people, more and more people and especially the younger ones will turn away," says the theologian.

He referred to recent forecasts by scientists at the University of Freiburg, according to which the two large churches in Germany will have only about half as many members in 2060 as they have today: 22.7 million instead of 44.8 million.

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