As reported here earlier, German-speaking theologians in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland have issued a statement, “Year of Departure,” calling for massive reforms in the Roman Catholic Church – optional celibacy for ordinands, ordination of women at least to the diaconate, recognition (not marriage) of same-sex partnerships, better treatment of remarried couples, and greater involvement of the people in naming of bishops and pastors. Some updates:
* As of March 11th, 240 theology professors in German-speaking countries, and 309 professors in all, have signed the declaration. This is now well over half the theology professors in Germany. Signatures will be accepted until March 5th, and on March 6th the entire list will be publicized.
* Priests and deacons of the Diocese of Freiburg, whose bishop is president of the German bishops’ conference, have opened a signatory list of supporters of the theologians’ statement. As of March11th, 296 clergymen have signed on. (The diocese of Freiburg has 477 priests in active service and 401 retired, of which the vast majority help with sacramental ministry regularly.) On March 1st, the list of signatories was forwarded to the bishop.
* As of March 11th, 347 religion teachers in Germany have signed a petition of support for the theologians’ statement.
* In a signatory list just opened, 24 priests and deacons of the diocese of Wurzburg have signed on.
There is a Facebook page: “Kirche braucht Veränderung” (“The Church Needs Changing”).