Today Bishop Reinhard Marx drove through Munich, and he thought as he relates: "Oh, it could be worse for me." He has arrived in a beautiful city where he has been received in a friendly manner. Marx– also because of his opinions on the financial crisis – has become the most important representative of Catholicism in Bavaria and officially became chairman of the Bishops' Conference in Freisingerstrasse a year ago. And many committed Catholics think like Marx that it could have been worse.
The Catholic Bishops of Bavaria begin their spring meeting this Wednesday- they are preparing the Ecumenical Church Meeting in Munich in 2010 and will discuss how the Catholic University of Eichstätt will continue to operate, where a new direction and a new approach must be found. They have an important personal decision : looking for a new head office director for the Catholic Office which represents the seven bishops in the regional government. The previous head, Peter Beer has become the Vicar General in Munich - a good as personal of theArchbishop of Munich. And something else is new: The bishops will meet this time in the Diocese of Passau Altötting; so far has been the venue has been Freising. Now, you are always in the spring in the dioceses drive, officially to bring the church closer to believers. "Interpret it as meaning nothing," said Marx, when he refers to the new rotation of location.
That means that interpretations exist. For example, that this is a signal in the direction of the brothers is official: I am against you, so also are loyal to me. Bayerns Bishops' Conference is a difficult Assembly - nearly all the members would have liked to become archbishop in Munich, and then came along the self-confident Westfalian.
In recent years, during the tenure of Cardinal Friedrich Wetter especially the bishops Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg, and his brother office holder Walter Mixa Weather from time to time came out publicly against the Cardinal - the hardliners felt the 80-year-old Cardinal to be too little combative. Since Marx, up to know there have been no rifts.
He has often referred to as a nationally recognized social expert - and he is within the Church accommodating towards Mixa and Müller. This was demonstrated especially in the dispute over the SSPX and their anti-Semitic tendencies (Cathcon-tarring the SSPX with one brush). Many German bishops north of the Main were appalled by the appreciation of the traditionalists by Pope Benedict XVI. - The Bavarians, mainly at the instigation of Bishop Mueller alleged a media campaign against the Pope.
When in Hamburg, the German bishops consulted on how to react to the breakdown of the Vatican , Bavaria prevented a clearer explanation. In Regensburg Bishop Mueller threatened three professors with sanctions because they had signed a Pope-critical statement, and Bishop Mixa made headlines nationwide with an unfortunate speech on Ash Wednesday, both of which exacerbated the tensions between Christians and Jews. "The Bishops' Conference on Freisingerstrasse plays well off to the right," the liberal Rabbi Walter Homolka stated angrily in the specialist periodical Herder Correspondenz.
Altötting The meeting will provide important clues as to the direction of the Bavarian episcopacy. Who will be the head of the Catholic Office- a person who is deeply involved in political disputes? How will the future profile be of the Catholic University of Eichstätt? How much ecumenism will the Ecumenical Church Meeting dare to undertake? On Friday Marx will present the results of the consultations.