The shortest definition of religion, according to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, is “interruption,” and some of the continuity that people look for in religion is “frankly suspect.”
According to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, Bätzing spoke during a live-streamed Mass on Tuesday in honor of the bishops’ plenary session, which is taking place in the town of Dulda in central Germany from September 26 to 29.
The Limburg bishop declared in his homily that “all too certainly asserted continuities, i.e., seamless connections according to the motto “that has always been so; that has always been believed so; what was wrong yesterday cannot be right today”… are frankly suspect.”
According to Bätzing, “God’s people spelt out their historical experiences with faith and acknowledged God’s guiding in them via wonderful imagery.”
It is true that it is “in our human nature to seek bridges between yesterday and tomorrow, to draw temporal lines and discover meaningful connections — which is often only possible in retrospect,” according to the German prelate who expressed his dissatisfaction with Pope Francis in May. We want consistency. The simplest definition of religion, however, continues to be “interruption,” as put forth by Johann Baptist Metz.
German priest and theologian Metz, who passed away in 2019, was well-known.
The recent turbulent Synodal Way meeting and the abuse report in the Osnabrück diocese with strongly incriminating statements about Bishop Franz-Josef Bode cast a shadow over this year’s fall plenary meeting of the German bishops.
Despite a report that claimed Bode handled abuse cases improperly and was published on September 20, Bode declared he would not step down.
The 71-year-old bishop has served as the German Bishops Conference’s vice president since 2017. He serves as the German Synodal Way’s vice president as well.
He has openly backed the appointment of female deacons and the creation of a Church ceremony to bless same-sex unions. Participants in the Synodal Way’s most recent meeting decided to alter the Church’s stance on a number of related subjects, such as homosexuality and female ordination.