Traveling in Europe, even on a complete different topic, seems in these days impossible without being asked about the “blink bishop” – especially when you are a Catholic priest. And obviously the temptation is big then just to comment and say what has to be said and what everybody else in saying anyhow. For me there are several layers of problems and facts which has to be looked at.
First of all I must say – despite all criticism I have towards the Bishop of Limburg I have to admit: on a human level I feel sorry for him. It is tough to be drawn down from where ever he thought he was standing into the realities of life and media. It’s really tough luck and it needs inner strength to survive such an onslaught.
The questions people raise – and I do too – are: Can it be, that the responsible people of the Limburg Domkapitel pick a bishop only on the grounds of knowing some of his publications, as one can read as a justification for his election? Is the way, bishops are chosen without any involvement of the laity and councils really working in our days? Or is it time to change the regulations and look back how it was in the beginning of church life?
The system church with the strong role of a bishop and the system society with a strong yearning for transparency and democracy – how do we avoid in the future that church personal falls into that gap or trap?
Money matters need transparency – even for money outside the regular budgets. And even having councils to control – the causa Limburg shows that even matured people seemed to fail the test to stand up to a bishop if they feel he is acting wrong.
I am convinced that “Limburg” will be a turning point for many habits, the German Church has cultivated also through the concordance which was agreed about during a dark time of German politics. Times have changed and people have changed and it is our all task to learn out of it and try to develop a church which is transparent, when it comes to money matters, more open to changes in how decisions are made in many instances. “Limburg” is a wake up call we should hear as a church.
And I guess, the discussion has just begun.
- Honesty and Trust are essential (stefanhippler.com)
- Pope meets with German ‘luxury bishop’ (omaha.com)
- ‘Bling bishop’ called to explain himself to Pope Francis (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Catholics in Germany Aren’t Happy With This Bishop’s $42 Million Residence (theatlanticcities.com)
- Catholic bishop spends EUR 350,000 on wardrobes (thelocal.de)
- The Bishop of Limburg’s inner courtyard at his residence (sandystrachan.wordpress.com)