Clearly, something terrible has gone on behind the scenes to make the conservative Bishops so very, very angry.
Cathcon sadly has no photos of Cardinal Lehmann going wild, but one taken shortly afterwards, where one
Cathcon translation of
Freiburg: Krach um Zollitsch
Freiburg: Dispute about Zollitsch
No harmony in the family of God: Four of eight Bavarian bishops on Sunday did not come to Munich for the farewell service for Cardinal Wetter. An interview from Zollitsch brings agitation.
In Munich Bishops Walter Mixa (Augsburg), Wilhelm Schraml (Passau), Friedhelm Hoffmann (Würzburg) and Gerhard Ludwig Müller (Regensburg) were missing. The last named inaugurated instead a new kindergarten, where he preached: "From the womb to old age, we are all members of the great family of God."
The scandal of Munich is but only a part of the family dispute.
The other revolves around an interview with the Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, in Der Spiegel. Zollitsch stated that homosexuality was for him a matter of social reality and the government should make rules for homosexual partnership. He distanced himself from the statements of Mixa on family policy. Words such as "child bearing machine" did not belong to his vocabulary, and broke down any discussion about the approach.
Then it came to celibacy which Zollitsch defended. But he also said: "And, of course, the connection between the priesthood and celibacy is not theologically necessary." This is anything but new, but for Bishop Mueller this went so against the grain, that he immediately he came out against the statement. Maybe he had just waiting for the occasion. Celibacy will never be repealed. The conservative "Network of Catholic Priests" leaped yesterday to Mueller’s defence. (Cathcon- more details soon)
About the motives of the four Bavarian bishops in not being seen in Munich, Hans Joachim Maier, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics, does not want to speculate. As much he said to the Badische Zeitung yesterday: "It was bad style, which is also not appropriate for a person such as Cardinal Wetter."
It was an affront not only against Wetter, but also against the non-Bavarian newcomer, Reinhard Marx, Wetter’s successor, whom the Conservatives count as one of theirs. And for Christian Weisner, spokesman for the lay movement "We Are Church", it meant a stab at Lehmann. Lehmann in the end had a considerable influence that Marx and none of the conservative Bavarians followed Wetter- and that his own successor was Zollitsch. The ranks of the hard-liners, including the Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, were empty. Lehmann’s activities sickened them.
Zollitsch, as his press spokesman Thomas Maier said yesterday, had noted the crossfire from Regensburg, but had nothing to say. Also Zollitsch was not in Munich because he, as Maier said, had an important appointment in Freiburg arranged a long time ago. He is not of Bavarian origin and on Sunday was not yet head of the German Bishops' Conference. The press office of the Archdiocese of Munich had in good religious tradition, "the directive, not to deliver a position." So, they have encouraged speculation.
The scandal of Munich and the dispute about celibacy have nothing directly to do with each other, but only indirectly: The conservatives are unhappy with the whole direction. Zollitsch understands church and society, and he knew what he was doing. He has given a sign. Some of his statements will not have pleased the Pope, but in any case it has displeased some of his episcopal colleagues, who for their part are forming up under Müller’s flag.
Zollitsch, at the outset of his tenure as Chairman of the Bishops' Conference made it clear that he is among the moderates. The toxic reaction from Regensburg shows that the arch-conservatives have understood this and find it hard to come to terms with. The gross discourtesy of Munich suits them. The fronts are now clear, the trenches visible.