Cardinal receives death threats for criticising Synodal Path

The Swiss Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch, who has come under criticism following a Nazi comparison, has cancelled all his appointments planned for the weekend in Germany. This was said by the Ellwangen pastor Sven van Meegen on Saturday, citing a call from Koch's Roman office. The Christian guest centre of Schönblick in Schwäbisch Gmünd confirmed this information on request. Koch justified his decision with an atmosphere that had arisen in the public arena.



Koch was to have celebrated a Mass and given a lecture at Schönblick on Sunday; a Mass was planned for Ellwangen on Monday. The city of Schwäbisch Gmünd had cancelled an event with Koch, at which the Cardinal of the Curia was to have signed the Golden Book on Saturday. According to the police, there were no registered demonstrations against Koch.

When asked, Koch said it did not make sense to speak in Schwäbisch Gmünd now. The date for the lecture "Why it is worthwhile to be a Christian today" should therefore be postponed. The Cardinal did not want to comment on whether he would make further public statements on his dispute with the Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing. The Bishop of Limburg knew, however, "from previous meetings that I am always ready for talks".

Conflict not resolved

Van Meegen also cited hatred and threats of violence in e-mails, which are also said to have been received at Schönblick, as reasons for Koch's absence. The Cardinal of the Curia is under criticism because of a Nazi comparison in connection with the Catholic reform process, the Synodal Path.

In the weekly newspaper "Die Tagespost" he had spoken about parallels between current church discussions and those from the Nazi era. It irritates him that in a text of the Synodal Path "new sources are accepted in addition to the revelatory sources of Scripture and Tradition; and it frightens me that this is happening - again - in Germany. For this phenomenon has already occurred during the National Socialist dictatorship, when the so-called German Christians saw God's new revelation in blood and soil and in the rise of Hitler."

Bätzing then demanded a public apology. Koch then defended himself against the accusation that he had compared the reform project with the evangelical "German Christians" who were close to the National Socialists. Bätzing replied that he could not "accept Koch's answer as satisfactory". The Cardinal had "in essence not apologised for the indefensible statements, but - on the contrary - exacerbated them", the Limburg Bishop said. The Federal Government's anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, also criticised Koch's statements.

Anti-Semitism Commissioner criticises Cardinal Koch's statement

The Anti-Semitism Commissioner of the German government, Felix Klein, has criticised the Swiss Curial Cardinal Kurt Koch for his statement on the Catholic reform project, the Synodal Path and on the "German Christians" in the Third Reich. "The fact that the comparison with the darkest chapter of German history has to be used to take a stand on an internal church conflict is irritating," Klein told the Swiss press service kath.ch.

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