Curia cardinal infuriates German bishops with Nazi comparison

Curia cardinal infuriates German bishops with Nazi comparison

A Nazi comparison puts pressure on the relationship between the German bishops and the Vatican. The cardinal who drew the parallel stands by his statements. The city of Schwäbisch Gmünd draws its first conclusions.

The Swiss Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch does not want to take back controversial statements with a reference to the Nazi era. “I will answer immediately, but I cannot retract my basic statement, simply because I have in no way compared the Synodal Way with Nazi ideology, and I never will,” the former bishop of Basel wrote in one of ​​the statements published by the Catholic “Tagespost”.

Koch (72) had previously said in an interview with “Tagespost” that it annoyed him if, in addition to the recognized sources of the Catholic faith, one also had to consult new findings in order to adapt the teaching. “Because this phenomenon already existed under 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.”

The “German Christians” were a Protestant movement that wanted to adapt Christianity to the racist ideology of the Nazis. The president of the German bishops’ conference, Georg Bätzing, had described Koch’s comparison as a “completely unacceptable lapse” and called for an immediate public apology. Otherwise, he will officially file a complaint with the Pope.

Accusing the Swiss Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch of

Accuses Swiss Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch of “completely unacceptable derailment”: Georg Bätzing, Bishop of Limburg and President of the German Bishops’ Conference.
Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

Synodal point of contention

As part of the synodal reform, German Catholics are currently debating whether Catholic education should be further developed in some places. The church’s negative attitude towards homosexuality is contrary to scientific knowledge. These must be taken into account, demand reformers.

In his statement, Koch denied that he had compared the synodal path with the mentality of the “German Christians”. “I have to realize that memories of apparitions and phenomena in Germany during the National Socialist period are of course taboo,” he explained. “I apologize to those who feel offended by me and assure them that this was not and is not my intention. However, I cannot take back my critical question.”

In a reaction, Bishop Bätzing described this statement as unsatisfactory. Koch even makes matters worse when he claims that it is apparently taboo to remember the Nazi era in Germany. “I resolutely reject this new claim,” says Bätzing. “We are not establishing a taboo, rather it is a taboo in light of the victims of National Socialism to compare National Socialist thinking, which led to those very victims, with any contemporary thinking.”

Bätzing considers Koch’s claim that he did not mean the synodal path to be convincing. On the contrary, his statements did not allow any other reading “besides that he equates the synod (…) with the “German Christians” and of course, because that is the point of a comparison, he places the synodal members in the horizon of the regime, the unthinkable brought suffering, especially to the Jewish people.” He still expects a clear distancing from Koch.

Schwäbisch Gmünd invites Koch out again

The town of Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg immediately took action and invited Koch out. A City Hall spokesman announced that he would not be writing his name in the city’s golden book this Saturday as planned. “In the context of the statements made by church officials and the discussions about it, such an event is not currently possible from the city’s point of view,” the spokesman said.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220929-99-946540/8


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