ESSEN, Germany, May 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-homosexual German bishop has predicted that sweeping changes to the Catholic Church regarding sexual morality, the male priesthood, and priestly celibacy will follow the next Vatican-run meeting of bishops planned for later this year.
According to Katholische.de, the official website of the German Catholic Bishops, Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, the ordinary of Germany’s Essen diocese, told reporters that the October Synod in Rome will lead to a “break” in the Church and that “nothing will be the same as as it was.”
Overbeck said the hierarchical structure of the Church, its sexual morality, and the general picture of what a priest is (“Priesterbild”) would be scrutinized, and the role of women in the Church would also be reconsidered.
The bishop also related that the decline in the number of Catholic believers in Europe and Latin America would be discussed, along with “the immense exploitation” of the natural environment and violations of human rights.
The Synod will take place October 6-27, and its primary themes are ecology, theology and pastoral care, the concerns of indigenous peoples, and human rights.
According to Katholische.de, Overbeck said Francis, having a South American perspective, ensured “awareness of these challenges.”
Slated for removal from the Church is her “Eurocentric structure,” Overbeck promised, saying the local churches in Latin America and their clergy would become increasingly independent. Meanwhile, reflecting on the priest shortage in both Europe and Latin America, the Bishop of Essen declared that the local churches are already mainly run by women religious.
“The face of the local church is female,” Overbeck said.
Katholische.de reported that the bishop had offered some statistics about the lessening of the influence of the Catholic Church in countries like Brazil: Catholics, who used to comprise 90 percent of the population, now total only 70 percent. Overbeck said the Church must address this and find answers. Apparently, it will do this in a “step by step” process over several synods.
Although Overbeck didn’t mention the issue, the German Bishops’ website then suggested that the question of married priests will also be discussed.
Bishop Overbeck is known for wanting to change Catholic teaching on homosexuality. In January, Katholische.de reported that Overbeck had, in an article for the Catholic journal Herder Korrespondenz, proposed a reassessment of homosexuality.
Overbeck called for a “de-pathologization” of homosexuality that could lead to an “overdue liberation” for people with same-sex attractions. The Bishop fears that unless this is undertaken, there will be an “intellectual marginalization of the Catholic moral teaching.”
One should be glad that, with the help of new scientific insights, “prejudices” concerning sexuality are being “overcome,” he wrote.
Saying the German Bishops’ study on clerical sexual abuse had shown that neither heterosexual nor homosexual orientation “as such” was a factor, Overbeck argued that it was “absurd” for a bishop to deny homosexual men priestly ordination.