Theologian: Christ is the great absentee from Synodalist discourse

Theologian Tück sees German Catholic Church in massive crisis

Viennese dogmatist: German wave of departures indicates "total church meltdown", but without church, society as a whole loses - "Only where pruning takes place can new shoots grow"

The Viennese Catholic dogmatist Jan-Heiner Tück sees the Catholic Church in Germany in a massive crisis. "Things can hardly get worse for the Catholic Church in Germany. More than half a million Catholics have left in 2022," writes the theology professor at the University of Vienna, who himself comes from Germany, in a guest commentary for the daily newspaper "Presse" (Sunday). He sees reasons not only in the outrage over sexual abuse by clerics and the cover-up by bishops, but also in "secularisation thrusts and a crisis of faith that has been smouldering for some time".

The wave of departures indicates a real "church meltdown", says Tück. The theologian was convinced that society as a whole loses when the church erodes. He referred to the Church's commitment in the areas of education and care, but also to its clear position on the inviolability of human dignity from the beginning of life to the end, which is increasingly being eroded in secular societies in bioethical, legal and political terms. He warned of an increasing loss of the "vertical horizon", without which the view of the accelerated life worlds threatens to become flat.

Church presence remains important "even if the wave of departures continues and the Church becomes a qualified minority", Tück emphasised. The Church counters the "pitiless treatment of modernisation losers" by standing up for the weak. The Church counters the "widespread accusatory furore to fixate others on their mistakes" with a culture of forgiveness. "Humanity is threatened where grace is lacking and people are reduced to their achievements. The social temperature in society could become colder without the Church," the theologian said.

The gap between church preaching and today's knowledge society has also widened, he said. "Concepts like creation, sin, grace or redemption have lost their orienting power," Tück wrote. Many have "settled into a framework of immanence and live as if God does not exist". Finally, there are financial reasons. "Why should one, when life becomes more expensive, still pay church tax and pay compensation sums for which one bears no responsibility?" was a justified question that many asked themselves.

How the Church reacts to "this epochal dawn" is crucial, Tück said. In its "ecclesiological narcissism and concern for securing power", the Church had betrayed victims and in the process forgotten Christ, the Crucified. "He is also the great absentee in many reform discourses," Tück said, probably alluding to the German reform process "Synodal Path". The "dying churches, standing like defoliated trees in the late-modern landscape" would only find new life, however, if they recollected their centre and learned the lesson of self-circumcision. "Only when they are pruned can new shoots grow.


Cathcon: This is quite a major concession given the Professor's theological background which includes a liking for Catechisms to suit personal taste and culture 


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