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THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD ‘Schismatic climate’ awaits the Pope Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

TWO WEEKSbefore the Pope is due to visit his native Germany, Cardinal Paul Cordes, the former president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, has accused members of the German Christian Democratic Party who have come out in support of church reform of contributing towards a “schismatic climate” in Germany.

“By abusing their parliamentary legitima- tion, Christian politicians have even arrogated

the right to instruct the hierarchy,” Cardinal Cordes said on a visit to Berlin last week. He was, however, confident that the Pope’s visit would be a success. Papal visits to Israel, France and Great Britain had shown that after initial sharp protests the mood had swung over in favour of the Pope, Cardinal Cordes said. The Pope is due to arrive in Berlin on

Thursday, where he will meet the German President, Christian Wulff, and Chancellor Angela Merkel. He will address the German

Schönborn holds out for dialogue in Austria

IN AUSTRIA, where 400 priests of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative have called for disobedience on issues of priestly celibacy, Communion for remarried divorcees, and for discussion of other issues including women’s ordination, the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has signalled he is keen to work with the priests of his archdiocese. In a letter to his priests and

church employees published in the archdiocesan magazine

Thema Kircheon 14 September, Cardinal Schönborn says church reform can only succeed through genuine dialogue “which means listening to each other and seeking a common way forward”. His masterplan for the archdiocese of Vienna is based on Our Lord’s mandate, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” (Matthew 28:19) as the Church required “missionary” and not “structural” reform.

He was aware of the fact that not everyone shared his views but he did not believe that there were signs of schism in the Austrian Church as the Catholic Church had room for “many church-political options”. Its diversity and its unity were precious gifts, the cardinal underlined. The Bishop of Innsbruck, Manfred Scheuer, said he was in “constant dialogue” with members of the initiative in his diocese, who were “not opponents but colleagues”.

parliament, the Bundestag, in the afternoon, and in the evening, celebrate Mass in the Olympic Stadium. On Friday he will travel to Erfurt Diocese in eastern Germany, where he will take part in ecumenical celebrations and discussions. On Saturday he will travel to Freiburg, and in the evening preside at a prayer vigil for young people. The following morning he will celebrate

Mass at Freiburg airport. He will return to Rome that evening. His visit comes at a time when the German

Church is still reeling from revelations of priestly sexual abuse, and is divided over pro- posed reforms on priestly celibacy and other issues. However, Bishop Joachim Wanke of

Erfurt, in whose diocese the Pope will meet with Protestant leaders and theologians at the Augustinerkloster, said the Pope’s visit to Germany would be “the papal visit of the century”. The Pope will be presented with a very spe- cial window when he arrives at the Olympic Stadium to celebrate Mass. The so-called Plötzendorfer Diptychonby Berlin artist Diana Obinja is made from an original window from the notorious Plötzensee Prison in Berlin where 2,891 people, including those members of the Kreisau Circle who were involved in the 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler, were either beheaded or hanged between 1933 and 1945.

Georg Ratzinger ‘understood’ controversial Vatican II cardinal

A NEW BOOK by Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI, suggests that there may have been an unexpected sympathy on the part of the Ratzinger brothers for Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, one of the most controversial figures at the Second Vatican Council, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. In a foreword to the newly published My Brother the Pope, Mgr Ratzinger quotes Pope Benedict XVI as calling Georg his “mentor” and “point of orientation”. He then offers his own view of how he – and quite possibly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger too – came to regard the cardinal who was much criticised for his opposition to reforms. Joseph Ratzinger was a peritus, or theo-

logical adviser, at the council. In his account of his brother’s appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) by Pope John Paul II on 25 November 1981, Georg expressess understanding of the position of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, sec- retary of the Holy Office from 1959 until 1968 (by which time it was the CDF and he was

30 | THE TABLET | 17 September 2011

Georg Ratzinger, the Pope’s brother. Photo: CNS

pro-prefect). “My brother did indeed have to take over a new and most important task in Rome,” writes Georg. “His one-time prede- cessor, Cardinal Ottaviani, didn’t have a very good reputation. At the time people had the impression that the Holy Office, as it was then called, really was somewhat narrow-minded. “Later I realised that that was a mistaken

view. Where there is order, there are always those who want to disturb this order either because they don’t understand it or deliber- ately refuse to believe in it. That one then has

to re-establish order by getting back to clarity and truth, was something I only became aware of gradually. So Cooperatores veritatis [Co- workers of the truth], the motto my brother chose when he became Archbishop of Munich [in 1977], was programmatic and directly addressed this point and his task in Rome.” One of the most tense moments in the coun- cil came on 8 November 1963, when German Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne called the procedures of the Holy Office “outdated, harmful and scandalous”. Cardinal Ottaviani was understandably appalled. Joseph Ratzinger was peritus to Cardinal Frings. Georg’s recollection opens the door to fur- ther speculation regarding the Pope’s current attitude to the council. He opens the book with a quotation from the Pope on 21 August 2008, when Mgr Georg Ratzinger received the honorary citizenship of Castel Gandolfo. “Since the beginning of my life, my brother has not only been a companion for me but also a reliable mentor … he has always been a point of orientation for me,” the Pope said.

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