News

‘Not grumpy, not dogmatic’

‘Not grumpy, not dogmatic’

Cologne gets a new Catholic Archbishop, and he’s not hostile to homosexuals

THE Vatican has appointed the Archbishop of Berlin, seen by German media as part of a “new generation” of less dogmatic clergy, to take over the Cologne archdiocese, the largest and richest in Germany.

According to this report, the move makes Rainer Maria Woelki, (above) who turns 58 next month, one of the most influential Roman Catholic cardinals and is an indication of the type of person Pope Francis wants to see in prominent Church roles.

Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper called him:

The prototype of a new generation of bishops … not grumpy and dogmatic … these men speak of mercy and mean it. They’re open to people, even their critics, to a point and have a heart for the disadvantaged. Still, they’re theologically conservative.

Woelki is a Cologne native and served there for years under his retired predecessor, the staunchly conservative Cardinal Joachim Meisner, before becoming bishop of Berlin in 2011.

When his Berlin appointment was announced, some politicians and Catholics in Berlin said he was too conservative for a city with such a large gay community, pointing to comments he had made that homosexuality was against “the order of creation”.

They also noted that he did his doctorate in theology at a pontifical university in Rome run by the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei.

But Woekli surprised Berliners by saying he respected all people and would gladly meet with gay activists.

A year later, in 2012, he said:

If two homosexuals take responsibility for each other, if they are loyal to each other over the long term, then one should see this in the same way as heterosexual relations.

Berlin’s Alliance against Homophobia nominated him for its Respect Prize that year, an honour he politely declined by saying it was normal for a Christian to respect all people so he should not receive an award for it.

In July 2013, the newly elected Pope Francis changed the tone of Vatican comments on homosexuality in comments on the plane returning from a visit to Brazil, saying

If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?

It remains to be seen whether Woelki’s appointment will bring disaffected German Catholics back into the fold. According to this report:

A full, 65 percent of German Catholics consider their Church less, or not at all, trustworthy.

A poll conducted by Forsa last years showed that there had been a significant increase in people filling out paperwork at town halls to leave both the Catholic and Evangelical churches between September and October.

The trend, experts said, was linked to the “bling Bishop” scandal, in which Catholic Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was found to have spent millions of euros of church money on his own private house – including hundreds of thousands on cupboards alone.

Costumed revellers pictured with a float satirising the bishop. With the the motto 'Living like God in Limburg' the float delighted crowds when it appeared at a parade March 3, 2014, in Mainz, Germany. (Photo Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Costumed revellers pictured with a float satirising the bishop. With the the motto ‘Living like God in Limburg’ the float delighted crowds when it appeared at a parade March 3, 2014, in Mainz, Germany. (Photo Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Church officials called it the “Tebartz-effect”, with dioceses across the country reporting receiving letters from congregation members saying that they had lost faith in the Church’s handling of its finances.

When a person leaves the Church, they become exempt from church tax which is levied by the government.

12 responses to “‘Not grumpy, not dogmatic’”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Today we have proof positive that there is a God and that he is a Catholic, as we have two popes – one German and one Argentinian. Just one small problem – which team do we pray for?

    http://www.ucatholic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/10395813_686929094688994_6250506831510276186_n.png

  2. TrickyDicky says:

    Of course their is a lot of German blood in the Argentinians, I believe the Catholic Church assisted with the migration of Germans there in the late forties.

  3. barriejohn says:

    TrickyDicky: It goes back much earlier than that. Many right-wingers also emigrated when Germany lost the First World War. There wasn’t that much difference between the views of Hitler and the Kaiser, actually.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Argentine

  4. Brummie says:

    Immutable Roman Catholic Rules, that millions have adhered to at great cost in suffering over the centuries, turn out to be elastic. Its what I call the Limbo syndrome.
    Someone wrote to the Times when Limbo was abolished recently asking when the RCC was also going to abolish Mumbo and Jumbo.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Brummie: And the CofE General Synod is being asked to vote in favour of women bishops on Monday, after centuries of saying that that would be against the will of God, and as someone pointed out on the news, due to defections of Anglican priests to Catholicism, the RC Church now contains married priests (again). Oh to be able to follow that immutable will of God, as you say!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28281345

  6. barriejohn says:

    An admission from Frankie, but what will he do about it?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28282050

  7. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Simple. Pray. Then he can forget it. As usual.

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    They are against it until they are for it, at which time they take all the credit. Where society follows the secular lead, the choking vine of religion creeps up and covers all.

  9. JohnMWhite says:

    Berlin’s Alliance against Homophobia nominated him for its Respect Prize that year, an honour he politely declined by saying it was normal for a Christian to respect all people so he should not receive an award for it.

    That’s rather impressive, though the cynic in me can’t help but wonder if the real reason was he didn’t want to get in hot water with the faithful by appearing at a pro-gay award show. It certainly isn’t normal for Christians to respect all people, in fact it’s pretty much against their core article of faith, which is that women, children and homosexuals are inferior beings who deserve to suffer.

    Sure, their holy book says a whole lot of other things (but it does say that as well, very clearly and explicitly, despite their endless lies about a ‘new covenant’ and Jesus loving everyone), but that’s pretty much how Christianity defines itself today. Hobby Lobby wasn’t fighting to keep cheeseburgers out of its staff canteen, and it wasn’t poverty the Catholic Church in Scotland spent hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to defeat via a PR campaign. The only way Christian churches appear to make themselves known now is by fighting to make people they do not care for suffer for longer, digging in their heels out of spite to slow the tide of secular ethics that involves caring what happens to people, not god’s ego.

  10. charlie says:

    Ah yes, in that “interview” that wasn’t an interview notice how the spokesperson for the poop denied that the poop actually said 2% were pedophiles. This same spokesperson denied a few other things the poop supposedly said as well.
    Funny how the “infallible” poop can say one thing, only to have one of his “handlers” later “clarify” or even “deny” the poop said what he did say.
    OK, fine, BUT, how then is the poop actually “infallible”? I may not be highly educated, school wise, but this doesn’t make sense to me. Of course I AM just an old heathen so I suppose these religious deals are quite way beyond my (not so very) humble comprehension. Oh well, and so it goes.
    @barriejohn, love that photo of the 2 poops playing football. Yeah, even though I AM a US citizen I CAN call the game by the name it is known world wide by. US football is a totally different game and cannot be considered “beautiful” unless one enjoys seeing overweight, pumped up, over muscled, and no doubt steroid injected men banging into each other, with a time out after nearly every damn “play”during the game.
    Also, US football was never meant to be played indoors in a covered stadium. It should be played outside in any weather. Oh well, it IS just a silly game, US football that is.

  11. Robster says:

    Cologne would have to be the best smelling city in Europe wouldn’t it? As the catholic church is on the nose, a sweet smelling Archbish with hints of citrus and musk can’t be a bad thing. Does he get a silly hat with the new gig?

  12. barriejohn says:

    The Daily Mail is having another go at favourite bete noir and “so-called personality” Stephen Fry today over remarks that he made about Operation Yewtree:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2690864/YOU-ARE-WRONG-MR-FRY-Comedian-condemned-campaigners-rant-attacking-sex-abuse-inquiry.html?ns_camp

    It is ironic that a paper which stated that it would never run bingo (though it promptly included scratch cards and now “lucky numbers”) has become almost a parody of the red-tops that it once so roundly condemned.

    We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality, (Macaulay)