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German bishop demands change in Church teachings on sexuality

March 05, 2014

A German bishop has said that the unpopularity of Church teachings on sexuality points to the need for a change, igniting an open debate within the German hierarchy.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier said that a recent survey found most Catholics see Church teachings as “repressive.” In an interview with the Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz, he said that the general rejection of Church teaching on contraception shows that teaching is no longer tenable. He also called for reconsideration of Church teachings regarding extra-marital sex, homosexual unions, and divorce the remarriage.

Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen of Fulda and Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg sharply disagreed, reports Christa Pongratz-Lippitt for the National Catholic Reporter. Those two prelates admitted that pastors had failed to persuade their people on the wisdom of Church teachings, but said that Catholic doctrine cannot be altered by popular opinon.

Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, however, came to the defense of Bishop Ackermann, saying that the Church cannot “keep on repeating prohibitions or reservations.”


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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Mar. 07, 2014 8:19 PM ET USA

    Indeed it is disheartening to hear that members of the episcopacy, who together with the Pope, make up the Magisterium - the teaching office of the Church - would challenge this authority given to it by Christ himself to teach on faith and morals. Our Lord showed us that the truth is not always popular. When Jesus spoke to the people about eating his flesh and drinking his blood to have life within them, St. John tells us that "Many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him."

  • Posted by: abc - Mar. 07, 2014 6:22 PM ET USA

    It seems that for many German Bishops, the only remaining sin is not paying the Church Tax.

  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 06, 2014 12:09 PM ET USA

    Part of problem is the pope seems to throw things out there without thinking, which has allowed the clergy to "interpret" things. Is this age or just "being Jesuit"?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 06, 2014 9:52 AM ET USA

    Now that we know who the bad guys are, why aren't they replaced with good guys??? Yikes!

  • Posted by: feedback - Mar. 05, 2014 11:10 PM ET USA

    Rogue priests are suspended, censured, defrocked, laicized, and what have you. But what is the Church going to do with rogue bishops? The damage bad bishops can do is so much greater.

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - Mar. 05, 2014 9:47 PM ET USA

    Maybe he could be sent to room with the German bishop who thought the donations of the faithful were intended to buy him a lavish lifestyle.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Mar. 05, 2014 8:41 PM ET USA

    I hope that this will prove to be a career-limiting move for Bishop Ackermann.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Mar. 05, 2014 6:11 PM ET USA

    "A German bishop has said that the unpopularity of Church teachings on sexuality points to the need for a change...." And the good bishop is entirely correct, it IS time for a change, a change in the occupancy of his episcopal seat.

  • Posted by: florentine - Mar. 05, 2014 5:46 PM ET USA

    What this shows is that "bishop" Ackermann should be removed subito, should never have been a bishop, and explains why so many Catholics don't have a clue what Scripture says and what and why the Church teaches what it does.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Mar. 05, 2014 4:52 PM ET USA

    This is NOT a "debate...;" it is a rebellion. JP

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Mar. 05, 2014 2:47 PM ET USA

    How especially tragic it is that the Bishop of Trier should prove to be heterodox, for, during the first of his five exiles, that great defender of orthodoxy, St. Athanasius, was given refuge in Trier. Athanasius-Against-the-World, never worried whether a teaching was "tenable," and, against all odds, eventually, orthodoxy carried the day. I suggest His Excellency study the history of his own See and see what a falling off is there.