The Catholic Church urgently needs decentralization according to Fr. Eberhard von Gemmingen, SJ, longtime leader of German programming at Vatican Radio, as the Catholic international press agency KIPA reports. The central leadership of the church does not perceive accurately the various mentalities in the universal church and the Vatican lacks “sensibility for central Europe,” von Gemmingen wrote in a recent edition of Christ und Welt (Bonn).
Increasingly, decisions from Rome are not sufficiently justified and communicated, von Gemmingen charged. The Jesuit priest renewed his call for a reform of the curia. “Some offices in the Vatican could very likely be abolished or downgraded,” he said. Rome needs above all a cabinet or chief of staff.
Von Gemmingen considers it “a nearly impossible undertaking” that the Pope has to hold together the Catholic world with its mentalities, situations, and problems.”
He noted that for Catholics in Africa, Asia, and southern Europe, the papacy is unproblematically a cultural phenomenon of societal life. The mission of priests, bishops, and church authority is contested much less there. “The role of women in many country and Catholic local churches is still more traditionally conceived than in central Europe. Outside of German-speaking regions, there are few laypeople among theologians.”