Archbishop Georg Gaenswein has voiced renewed criticism of the Synodal Path reform project of the Catholic Church in Germany.
“This enterprise was supposed to be administered as a medicine to the Church as patient to enable it to recover in the abuse crisis. But how can a flawed diagnosis lead to the right therapy?” Gaenswein told the Munich-based magazine Bunte in an interview published on Thursday. Wrangling and debating about issues of structure or power wasn’t the appropriate answer to the current challenges.
The archbishop said Christianity had not gone out of fashion in the Universal Church. “Germany is not the yardstick for a living and powerful faith. Unfortunately.” At the same time, Gaenswein admitted that the “shameful issue of child abuse” was a deep wound in the Church that would require all its strength to heal.
In this context, Gaenswein, 66, also highlighted the work of Joseph Ratzinger (1927-2022). As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later as Pope Benedict XVI, he had been a “pioneer in the reappraisal of this evil”.
Benedict had been the first Pope to meet victims of abuse during his apostolic journeys, said Gaenswein. In addition, as head of the Church, he had dismissed more than 400 priests who had committed such crimes. To accuse him of knowing and tolerating these acts was “malicious and wrong. It has an incendiary effect”.
Gaenswein also revealed how he had come to study theology. Originally, he had wanted to study economics and business administration. Two years before his final high school exams, he was particularly fascinated by the stock exchange. It was like a fairground there: “loud shouting, great confusion, chaotic – and that was the soul of economics”.
The turning point came when his home parish priest gave him the book “Introduction to Christianity” by the young professor Joseph Ratzinger, the archbishop recalled. “I read the book; although there was a lot I didn’t understand, the content captivated me and gradually brought about a change of heart.” One could say, Gaenswein added, that Benedict had inspired him to study theology and then also to become a priest.
Originally reported by KNA Germany.