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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Organiser of Pro Pope Francis letter hits out at critics of the Pope

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Co-initiator Zulehner for public support for the Pope

"Do not sit in the armchair"

"Pro Pope Francis". This is the name of a group in which Catholics have joined forces to publicly support Pope Francis. A co-initiator is the Viennese pastoral theologian Paul M. Zulehner, who explains this step at domradio.de.
In the shadow of Cardinal König

domradio.de: You have written an open letter to Pope Francis, signed by several bishops, theologians and well-known Catholics from public life. How did this letter to Pope Francis arise?

Prof. Paul M. Zulehner (pastoral theologian from Vienna and co-founder of the initiative "Pro Pope Francis"): There was considerable criticism of the pope by the letter from cardinals to him and finally the allegation that he was moreover a heretic (Ed: deviating from official church doctrine (Cathcon: what a world in which the word heretic actually has to be explained- part of the great problem). This is theologically as well as practically unacceptable. (Cathcon: although his Protestant ecumenical partners think many Popes up until the Reformation were heretical; he won’t be raising the issue with them any time soon. Has he not read St Thomas Aquinas among many others ?) I think you have to make a counter-position visible and put the situation back into balance by showing that a very large number of faithful and committed, outstanding personalities of the church and public life really welcome and very much support this pope.

domradio.de: Is this also indirectly a response to the writing of the so-called "Letter of the 62 "? Recently there was a letter from critics who accused the Pope of heresy.

Zulehner: We believe that the discussion with this letter can happen on a different level, in theological parlours. One can certainly discuss one or the other. But both the Viennese Cardinal Schönborn and Pope Francis, in the publication of the papal "Amoris laetitia", have said that it is practically theologically and systematically watertight and airtight, and that from a dogmatic point of view it is nothing new at all. (Cathcon: saying that it is, does not make it true. This is how Luther justified one of his erroneous translations of the Bible)

The Pope wishes that mercy, which is also identical with the righteousness of God in the Jewish Torah, is the supreme measure for the practice of the Church. (Cathcon: the salvation of souls is this measure) Then it cannot be that people can ultimately no longer participate in a hopeless situation in ecclesiastical life, because this is not God's way, so to deal with people who have been made guilty for tragic reasons and want to return to the Gospel..

It is inadmissible to say - as a Cardinal Pell once formulated in a preface to a book - that God may forgive them, but the Church cannot forgive them. This is, from a theological point of view, the self-abolition of the Church, if it does not make experienceable what God does in man.

domradio.de: The Catholic Church has its principles. Take the example of the remarried divorced. The Pope's critics say that the doorway to interpretations is opened and the Catholic sacrament of the uniqueness of marriage is fundamentally questioned. This cannot be made so easy, say the critics.

Zulehner: This is, however, a very fundamentalist understanding of the so-called indissolubility of marriage, since the early church has in fact already said that there are certain situations where someone can leave the marriage bond. And there is above all, the is the practice of the Eastern Church since third fourth centuries, which is truly Christian and has not been accused or will be accused of heresy.

The Council of Trent has expressly expressed the opinion that the practice of Eastern Churches is not condemned. So, we can say with a clear conscience that there are apparently different forms of the original power of the gospel. The Catholic Church has now gone to the school of the Eastern Church and is learning to better understand the Gospel. (Cathcon: It would be useful here to go to the Council of Trent as a whole, and the Degree on Justification as a whole )

domradio.de: In the letter, you support and praise the pastoral culture of the incumbent Pope. For what pastoral culture does the Pope stand?

Zulehner: All the great secular organizational developers say that the relationship between an organization and people is determined via culture, that is, the dealings, the content, the acceptance, via what people gain from the organization. This seems at least as important to me as the structural change, for example, the centralization of the church, for the spread of Magisterium into the entire world church.

If one- formulated in a quite stricking way, at the way that accents shifts, then it goes from sin to wound, from the law to the face, from the moralization to the healing and from the ideologist to the shepherd. These are clear accents which present the past practice of the Church at the same time as not like that of Jesus.

What Francis is doing is to dig deeper and deeper into this original power of Jesus' dealings with men. Especially with those on the margins of society. This, I believe, is the jumping point.
The Pope is not superficial, but, if one reads through his texts, one realizes that it is the image of God from which he talks that you must, becoming like the father of mercy and the Lord, make this the pastoral of mercy as a church, otherwise you would betray our God.

domradio.de: It is a public letter that you wrote to Pope Francis. Does the Pope have so many opponents that he needs this support?

Zulehner: Mario Politi (journalist and Vatican expert, editor's note) says that Francis had too little support. He does not only have too little support in the Vatican but he has too little support in the entire Church throughout the world. The Eastern European bishops are silent. The Western European bishops are also silent.

I am very curious about how we can win German bishops. We are in conversation with the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference. There will be a clarification on Wednesday as to whether and how German bishops can join. I would also like to win Cardinal Woelki. This is what I would like to publicly. For he is, for me, one of the admirable Cardinals who, in the footsteps of the Pope, is completely clear and unaffected. (Cathcon: ignoring here, for whatever reason, the Cardinal’s lack of commitment to ecumenism)

I think we are also doing a bit of awareness raising in the church that now you cannot sit in the armchair under this Pope, but that there is a historical moment in the Church, an open window, which is to be used world-wide.
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