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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Election of new head for German bishops

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RVRadio Vatikan
Cathcon translation of Jubel in Freiburg- EKD und ZdK gratulieren- Streit vorgrammiert" Joy in Freiburg- Protestant Church and Central Committee of German Catholics send best wishes- dispute pre-programmed.

Among the congratulations of Archbishop Zollitsch, the reactions are to a great extent positive. The Wuerzburg Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann cautions against a misinterpretation of the election of the new chairman of the Bishops' Conference. The decision for Zollitsch is not a "transitional solution," he said after the election. It also did not mean a defeat for the Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx who had been considered the favorite. At the forefront of the decision probably was a good understanding of whether it was reasonable at the present time given his new offices in Munich and Bayern. This does not however set a precedent for the next scheduled election in six years. By then other bishops could have developed their profile, and so be suitable for the post.

Bishops: No transitional solution
The Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa said that it was expected, as happened, that in the first two ballots the required two-thirds majority was not obtained. Furthermore, the outcome of the decision was "not as clear", as observers had suspected. Other bishops have confirmed that, in the first round of voting also a number of other names were on the ballot paper.

According to the Osnabrück Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, Zollitsch comes with a new style and a new face to the head of the Bishops' Conference. The Freiburg Archbishop also enjoys the confidence of many younger bishops and suffragans.

A man, "who has the tasks to negotiate, to build bridges and to bring into dialogue representatives of different positions ". This is how the Stuttgart Bishop Gebhard Fürst described the role of the new Bishop's Conference Chairman . He wished him well "for the demanding tasks, which he now also has to deal with".

Pride in Freiburg
With great joy, the Archdiocese of Freiburg heard the news of the election of Robert Zollitsch to the chair of the German Bishops' Conference. The unequivocal vote of the German Bishops was a great vote of confidence for their chief pastor, filling the faithful from Bodensee to Franken with joy and pride. The Vicar-General Fridolin Keck said this on Tuesday in Freiburg. In a congratulatory letter he promises Germany's new chief bishop assistance, "so that you can be a blessing to the Catholic Church in Germany and act as in your own diocese in the best way, leading and inspiring."

The call to high office at the head of the Catholic Church in Germany is from the Freiburg point of view an honour for Zollitsch. According to the Vicar General, the programme of Archbishop Zollitsch can be briefly and concisely summarised with the formula: "To fashion an awakening in the community of faith." He wanted the people in church and society by reliance on God to put away the fear of the future and progress everyday with unshakeable faith and admirable energy. "This encourages and spurs on, especially in a time marked by great uncertainty and disorientation," says the Vicar General.

EKD: dialogue
Also, the Protestant Church in Germany congratulated Zollitsch. EKD Council Chairman, Bishop Wolfgang Huber hopes that "we can continue and develop the good and stable ecumenical encounters between our churches which have taken place over the past decades." Zollitsch long has had "the reputation of being a farsighted bishop with great pastoral and administrative experience, who takes dialogue seriously," said Huber. He is looking forward to the first meeting with Zollitsch in his new role, and said "that while we have different beliefs, we share responsibility for the Gospel in our country ".

The Turkish-German Association DITIB hopes that under Zollitsch, the interfaith dialogue will be boldly taken further


Also congratulations came from the German Caritas Association. Peter Neher, who leads the association which is based in Freiburg called Zollitsch an "active creator of new pastoral place." "He is a man who always reconciles different interests and find solutions, which are supported by all," praises Neher. With Zollitsch, the good tradition of dialogue between the church and Caritas will be continued continued. The Archbishop has " always supported the work of Caritas. He is an open and skilful in his dealings with people, and who always maintains dialogue. "

ZdK: In cooperation
The Central Committee of German Catholics was delighted with the election of the bishop. ZdK chief Hans Joachim Meyer described Zollitsch as a "shepherd of souls", "who has the people in his sight and care about their salvation ". Zollitsch shows like his predecessor "a profound joy of the faith," and is "for serious dialogue and being contemporary but critical with the people of today." Germany's largest association of Catholic laity have always cooperated well with Zollitsch.

Laity in the Church: mixed Feelings
Mixed feelings are felt by the critical " Church initiative from below" on the new change at the head of the German Bishops' Conference. "A competent architect of the church reform - but from above", that is the headline of a press statement by the Association. Zollitsch was "one of the pioneers of structural reconstruction" in the dioceses and parishes, so quite a "competent" bishop in difficult times. " It remains to be seen, however, whether he " energetically tackles non-structural problems." The positive note is that Zollitsch can be seen "as a man for equality and integration. "With his election is associated the expectation that he will continue the moderate line of Cardinal Lehmann." According to the understanding of the initiative the choice of Zollitsch is simultaneously a rejection of the view from the "strictly conservative" Reinhard Marx archbishop of Munich. "Whether the election but not a strategically wise step, it remains to be seen", because as host of the 2nd Ecumenical Church Day 2010 in Munich, "he could easily be a difficult opponent of the new chairman," fearing the "church from below. "With the advocates of conservative Catholicism dispute is .. inevitable ".


The popular Church movement "We Are Church" speaks of a "good sign of continuity." Zollitsch is in line with his predecessor Lehmann. "Given the increasing centralization in the Roman Catholic Church, it can be expected by Catholic men and women that the new president - for all his loyalty to Rome – will repeatedly and confidently in Rome represent the concerns of the Catholic Church in Germany." It is "is also a good sign that the new chairman in his first spontaneous statement spoke for more progress in ecumenism."

"Heaven sent" – congratulations from the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ)to the new chairman of the Bishops' Conference. Zollitsch is now "faced with the challenge of theCatholic Church in Germany in the future. We wish him creativity, perseverance and God's blessing ". The association trust, "that Archbishop Zollitsch will have an open ear for the concerns of young people and thus for the future of the church." A change in direction in the church, according to the BDKJ will not come: You should not overextend expectations about the office . " And while there are now younger bishops in Germany, the so-called generational change is overestimated in its effect. "The biological age says little about the direction."

Agreement from Conservatives and Socialists
Positive reactions come from politics; German President Horst Koehler sent a congratulatory letter, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) hopes to have an occasional exchange of views with the newly elected. CDU Secretary General Ronald Pofalla praised Zollitsch for his special ability to dialogue with different social groups, pronounced judgement and experience in large pan-diocesan tasks. For the CDU were "his indications, deliberations and judgements about the Church ... are of particular importance ". The party is looking forward to the continuation of dialogue.

The Chairman of the Cardinal Höffner Group in the CDU, Georg Brunnhuber (CDU), described the Archbishop of Freiburg as a good good pastor and said that the Catholic Church will perform well. At the same time, he is thought of as a financial expert,which is good for the security of the Church.

Even SPD leader Kurt Beck congratulated the new Chairman. He welcomed the fact that trustful dialogue with the Catholic church on all major issues of the present will continue, he says in a congratulatory letter to the chairman. The people expected from the Catholic church orientation in social and ethical questions. Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) is pleased with Zollitsch's first words after the election. Now to maintain continuity, is the right attitude, said Thierse. Also FDP and the Greens welcomed the election results of Wuerzburg.

New Chairman of German Catholic Bishops' Conference

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According to this headline,Stands for continuity.

In the German context, continuity only means further decline.

German bishops elect Chairman with no form

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Cathcon translation of Stillstand statt Neuanfang- Standstill instead of a new beginning.

The Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch is the new Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference.

The Catholic Church has not decided on a generational change. The new head Bishop Robert Zöllitsch is no more than a temporary solution. The internal struggle for posts and positions is also still far from finished.

So it is not to be Marx. Not yet, one probably has to say. Maybe it was him, or the Episcopal voters in Wuerzburg, or both together decided that too little time had passed since the inauguration of Reinhard Marx, as the new Archbishop of Munich on 2 February. Instead, it falls to Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch to replace Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz who resigned the position due to ill-health.

As the 71-year-old Lehmann is almost the same age as Zollitsch who was born in 1938, at very least this does not indicate a generational change in the club of the German head pastors. Zollitsch can already because of his age, be no more than a temporary solution. At the end of their 75th year, canon law demands that Bishops offer their resignations to the Pope. For a term of six years, Zollitsch has now been elected. At latest at this time, the Episcopal Conference will return to the question of who represents them to the outside world and who will unite them internally.

No outsider knows him
This could have been decisive. The decision today has shown that there are factions, fault lines and clashes. Three ballots were needed before there was the result. In the first two votes, none of the bishops achieved the required absolute majority. Even so Zollitsch is a weak president. This is the one who practically nobody on the outside knows. Only five years ago, he was - still under John Paul II – made Archbishop of Freiburg. Previously, he was responsible for training priests there, and before that for twenty years head of diocesan personnel.

Both are "softer" offices, but that also require strength, human knowledge and empathy. But they are limited to internal matters, and do not require a visible confrontation with the world in which the church like any other socially relevant group has to find her profile and take positions.

Not a hopeful signal
The German bishops principally looked inwards and missed a chance to present themselves as "the church in the world". On this basis, Robert Zollitsch, however is a logical choice. Conservatives and open minded progressives can now wrestle with each other behind church and monastery walls and argue for positions that outside nobody anyway understands - or even particularly cares about. This was clearly not understood, as the 69 bishops gathered at Himmelsforten wrote the name of their preferred candidates on the ballot paper.

What signal does this give from the General Assembly? Not a hopeful one anyway. None was found that could present the host of German Bishops as a powerful, courageous community, which takes as their responsibility the search for values – and which as still uncomfortable - society could be made aware of and then act on. The opportunity to work with this group as dialogue of equals, as always occurs when it comes to an honest and open confrontation of views, is being missed.

Zollitsch has nothing to be guilty about. The most one could accuse him of that he has no previous record, and thus could act as a brake . Questions should focus mainly on why a real fresh start after the Lehmann-years was prevented. Perhaps because of the rapid ascent by Archbishop Reinhard Marx, he was suspect,envied because his grasp of the media or perhaps he himself calculated his chances that he would be elected in a few years. Ambition and jealousy is not removed on consecration from clerical souls. Before anything today the name Zollitsch on this day stands for playing for time.

And the Rhine flows into the Rhine

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Last liberal left standing elected chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, as the favourite the conservative Archbishop of Munich, Marx falls by the wayside.

Cathcon translation of Zollitsch folgt auf Lehmann -Zollitsch follows Lehmann
The new chairman of the German Bishops' Conference: Roland Zollitsch
The Archbishop of Freiburg, Roland Zollitsch is the new chairman of the German Bishops' Conference. The Spring General Assembly in Wuerzburg has elected him to succeed Cardinal Karl Lehmann. Thus, the chief pastors have opted for a bishop who always seeks the consensus.
The Spring General Meeting elected the 69-year-old on Tuesday in Wuerzburg to succeed Cardinal Karl Lehmann, who is prematurely leaving his post after more than 20 years for health reasons.
Zollitsch will have a six-year term. The current 69 members of the General Assembly of the German Bishops' Conference voted for him. The Archbishop of Freiburg was after the new Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, one of the favourites.

Bishop without airs
With Robert Zollitsch, they have opted for a bishop with his feet firmly on the ground . An exaggerated sense of his own importance as well as airs and graces are alien to the 69-year-old.
Within the Catholic Church, the cleric is seen as an efficient, dedicated and reliable worker with great organizational skills. Since July 2003, Archbishop Zollitsch has been in Freiburg and chief pastor of more than two million Catholics. With Freiburg, he heads the second largest of a total of 27 dioceses in Germany.
Concerned about consensus. The day begins for Zollitsch with sport. He starts each morning with a training session on training bicycle. In his office, Zollitsch operates silently. He clearly states his positions, but the Freiburg Archbishop is not a fan of excessively ideological debates. Zollitsch seeks consensus rather than confrontation. As Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Dioceses, Zollitsch Germany enjoys an excellent reputation. (Cathcon- responsible for the finances of the German dioceses)
"I see myself as a bridge builder," said Zollitsch in the summer of 2003, when he was appointed Archbishop. "I want to be a bishop in contact with people." The personal interview is his strength, Zollitsch is open, he can listen and bring opinions together. He remains always forthcoming. With these characteristics, the head of the Church in Freiburg is in the tradition of Cardinal Karl Lehmann. Both are friends have been friends for years.
For a voluntary celibacy. A champion of the people, Zollitsch is not. To folksy, the cleric will not become. In sermons, he takes social positions, with the themes that are contemporary. Even to church critics, he leaves himself open. "Problems cannot be hidden, but must be tackled," he says.

Zollitsch is considered a liberal. To the mandatory celibacy of priesthood, supported by Rome, he would prefer a voluntary rule of life. Celibacy, he says, is for the priestly activity positive, but does not have a theological basis. He would even be open for a reform of episcopal elections which are criticized as undemocratic .
Zollitsch was born on 9 August 1938 in Filipovo / Yugoslavia. At the end of the Second World War, his family fled to Germany. Zollitsch grew up in Mannheim in Baden Tauberbischofsheim. In 1965, he was ordained in Freiburg Cathedral. Before his appointment as archbishop, he was responsible for personnel in the Diocese of Fribourg. Within the Diocese has Zollitsch has developed, over the years , a well-functioning network. The strengthening of ecumenism and the promotion of young priests are concerns dear to his heart.
In his private life, Zollitsch loves mountain climbing. "When I exercise in the fresh air, then that is for me the best medicine," he says. During his holidays, Zollitsch is therefore always in the mountains.

The Church as Conference Hall. Zollitsch speaks.