Profiling at the expense of the pope?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's request to Pope Benedict XVI. after a clarification in the case of the Holocaust denier Richard Williamson meets with criticism with Catholic clergymen in addition, in the union. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Reinhard Marx, expressed "astonishment" at Merkel's statement. CSU member of the Bundestag Norbert Geis said: "The pope knows what he is doing."Merkel had "missed the mark" with her remarks. Political scientist Heinrich Oberreuter accused the chancellor of profiling at the pope's expense.

Archbishop Reinhard Marx said Wednesday on ARD's "Brennpunkt" that the pope had already "taken a very clear stand" last week on Holocaust denial and also "clearly mentioned solidarity with Judaism". It is astonishing why a German Chancellor should ask the Pope to say something that he has already said.With regard to the lifting of the excommunication of the arch-conservative British Bishop Williamson and three other bishops of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, Merkel warned on Tuesday that the Pope must make it clear that there can be no denial of the Holocaust and that there must be "a positive approach to Judaism as a whole. The chancellor criticized: "In my view, these clarifications have not yet been sufficiently made."Several bishops had then objected to political interference in the debate, including Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa and Eichstatt Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke. Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller even spoke of a "campaign" against the pope. CSU member of the European Parliament Bernd Posselt also criticized Merkel.Bishop Marx now said, "The pope has clearly taken a stand against any denial of the Holocaust. He has made it clear that anti-Semitism has no place with us in the church. In my opinion, this says it all."The matter was "not optimal," but to accuse the Pope of anti-Semitism was "outrageous.Criticism of Merkel, a Protestant, is also being voiced in her own party. "Many CDU members don't think the chancellor's arrivals are right," said CDU politician Georg Brunnhuber, who is chairman of the Baden-Wurttemberg regional group in the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. "Public appeals to the Holy Father are guaranteed to lead nowhere.

"Vatican dismissed

After a personal conversation with Benedict XVI. On Wednesday in Rome, Brunnhuber said: "The Vatican is appalled by the discussion in Germany." He added, "The impression is that all the anti-Catholic resentments that lie dormant in Germany are now coming to the surface." CSU member of the Bundestag Norbert Geis also criticized Merkel. Geis told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that the chancellor had "missed the mark" with her remarks: "She was obviously not informed that the pope had already ied a clear statement last Wednesday.". Merkel should not have interfered here. "I think it's unfortunate," Geis said, stressing, "The pope knows what he's doing. He cannot be accused of being a Holocaust advocate." CSU politician Bernd Posselt warned the chancellor to continue to "act like the pope's teacher". It is true that some problems in the Curia in Rome need to be solved. The chancellor, however, should rather concern herself with "enforcing Christian principles more strongly in the Berlin coalition.". This is "more than necessary, for example, in social and family policy, in the protection of life and in bioethics," Posselt explained.The president of the Bundestag, Lammert, also defended Benedict XVI. "Much of what the Pope is now being accused of is almost malicious, at any rate not honest," the CDU politician said in an interview with the online portal of "Hamburger Abendblatt". The Williamson case is "no trifle" and should not be minimized. However, he added, there is now "a kind of rhetorical overbidding competition that is neither justified nor fair, nor helpful in the matter".Passau political scientist Oberreuter, who is also director of the Political Academy in Tutzing, meanwhile, accused the chancellor of trying to make her mark at the pope's expense. "By attacking the pope, Merkel is looking for a relatively convenient field of profiling to win back for the CDU the increasingly drifting bourgeois liberals without close church ties toward the FDP."

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