Eklat at the Curiencardinal | Church newspaper

In an interview, Cardinal Koch compared the Synodal Way to a racist group from the Nazi era.

Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch says he didn’t mean to hurt anyone. But his words remain in the world. Photo: kna/Francesco Pistilli

The autumn plenary assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference in Fulda ended with a scandal. The bishops reacted with great indignation to a Nazi comparison made by the Swiss Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch.

In the weekly newspaper “Die Tagespost” he spoke about parallels between current church discussions and those from the Nazi era: “It irritates me that new sources are accepted alongside the sources of revelation from scripture and tradition; and it frightens me that this is happening – again – in Germany.” Koch added verbatim: “For this phenomenon already existed during the National Socialist dictatorship, when the so-called ‘German Christians’ experienced God’s new revelation in blood and soil and in ascent have seen Hitlers.”

The German Christians were a Protestant group that tried to transform the Evangelical Church in Germany in a Nazi way. She represented racist, anti-Semitic and leader-oriented content.

Koch feels misunderstood

The conference chairman Georg Bätzing demanded an immediate apology: “If this public apology is not made immediately, I will file an official complaint with the Holy Father.” The cardinal had disqualified himself. According to Bätzing, Koch has been trying for a long time to weaken the synodal path reform project. The new statement was an “unacceptable derailment”. This shows the “pure fear that something is moving”.

Koch himself felt misunderstood. He in no way compared the synodal path with Nazi ideology, he said in his statement.
Koch said that with his statement he had those Christians in mind who wanted to change the teaching of the church, citing the spirit of the times. “I hope to continue to assume that this claim is not the opinion of the Synodal Path.”

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He also emphasized that he did not want to hurt anyone. “I assumed that we can still learn from history today, even a very difficult one. As the violent reaction of Bishop Bätzing and others show, I have to say afterwards that this attempt failed. And I have to realize that memories of apparitions and phenomena in Germany during the National Socialist period are obviously taboo.” However, he could not withdraw his critical question.