Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller has decided not to finance anymore the Central Committee of German Catholics, an organization which is nearing closer to movements which contemplate the Church as a “power fortress,” in need of reform and democratization.
The working group of Catholics of Frankfurt am Main, the Union for the Associations of the faithful to the Pope is asking other bishops to follow the trend set by the Bishop of Ratisbonne and denounces the Central Committee, which has become ‘an instrument for the self-destruction of Catholicism”
A simple internal reform in the diocese of Ratisbon, in Bavaria, Germany is set to mark a deep trend in the Church in Germany. Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, a bishop linked to Faculty of Theology of San Damaso in Madrid, has suppressed the Diocesan council of Lay people and thirty-three other organizations, a decision approved by the Vatican, and interpreted as a means to “debureaucratize” the Church and strengthen the missionary roots of the Church as asked by former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, today Benedict XVI.
The news was confirmed by Fr Michael Fuchs to Radio Vatican and he affirmed that what triggered the process was “the constant severe charges of the Central Committee, through its President and the Assembly General.” Fuchs resents the fact that this has been a “straightforward reaction (to these declarations), but rather the consequence of year long talks.
One of the foremost critics against this reform was the Central Committee of German Catholics, the main secular organization in the Country, which receives more than two millions Euros financing from the Church. The Bishop of Ratisbon has decided to cut this financial support in his diocese.
The Union for the Associations of the faithful to the Pope (Zusammenschluß papsttreuer Vereinigungen e.V.) didn’t wait long to salute Bishop Müller's move: “It is a good thing that the bishop made this decision.” This association started in 1997 as a reaction to the Central Committee of German Catholics, “who purports to talks for all Catholics,” and fundamentally calls for an end of the Papacy. Its president for Frankfurt Main Werner Rothemberg, defined this Central Committee as an “instrument for the self-destruction of the Church.” He subsequently encouraged other German Bishops to follow his example. Particularly criticized is the association Donum Vitae created by the Committee, which was delivering counseling for women who are seeking an abortion and certificates, a necessary step for a women to have an abortion.
This row between the Bishop and the Central Committee reflects a new era in the German Church. “It is the natural consequence of an increasing missionary sense of the Church rather than a bureaucratic institution”, says Guido Horst from Die Tagespost.