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Ingrid Shafer
According to an article by Matthias Drobinski in the German Süddeutsche Zeitung online (SZ   07.03.2001 page 3), 49 German priests in the Archdiocese of Freiburg have banded together to protest the loyalty oath that since January 1, 2001, is the condition of being promoted from associate pastor to pastor of a church. The oath has existed since 1989 in Latin. Until last year, German bishops managed to avoid its implementation by arguing that there was no authoritative German translation. Cardinal Ratzinger eventually had the oath translated, added an long explanation of precisely what pastors would no longer be permitted to doubt (such as the invalidity of Anglican orders and the exclusively male priesthood), and in March 2000 the Conference of German Bishops complied with the Roman directive. In the Freiburg archdiocese the oath is now obligatory. The protestors organized in response to an advertisement Christof Heimpel (a priest at the St. Boniface Church in Heidelberg), had placed in the Publik-Forum, the German equivalent of the NCR.
Here is a link to the website of  the "Priesterforum" (forum of priests) of the Archdiocese of Freiburg with the text of the statement signed by Christof Heimpel and 49 other priests (one of whom subsequently withdrew his support).  I am appending the German original and my translation of the statement on the Priesterforum website.

Erklärung zum sogenannten Treueid

  • Ich erkläre, dass ich das erweiterte Glaubensbekenntnis und den Treueid, den die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz am 14. 3. 2000 nach langem Widerstreben auch für die deutschen Diözesen eingeführt hat (Amtsblatt der Erzdiözese Freiburg Nr. 26, 25. 8. 2000), mit meinem Verständnis von Kirche, Glauben und Gewissen nicht vereinbaren kann.
  • Ich verbinde mich mit allen, die sich weigern, ihren kirchlichen Dienst auf das erweiterte Glaubensbekenntnis und den Treueid zu gründen.
  • Ich will, dass mein Nein gegenüber dem erweiterten Glaubensbekenntnis und dem Treueid öffentlich wird. Ich knüpfe die Veröffentlichung lediglich an die Bedingung, dass außer mir weitere 49 Priester, die von dem Treueid betroffen sein könnten, diese Erklärung unterschrieben haben. Ich bin einverstanden, dass das Priesterforum der Erzdiözese Freiburg diese Erklärungen sammelt und veröffentlicht, sobald diese Bedingung erfüllt ist.
Bitte sagen Sie uns Ihre Meinung. Rückmeldungen an: Christof Heimpel, Blumenstraße 23, D-69115 Heidelberg, Tel.: (06221) 1302-16,
Fax: (06221) 1302-26, e-mail: c.heimpel@bonifatius-hd.de

Statement concerning the so-called loyalty oath

  • I declare that I cannot reconcile the expanded creed and loyalty oath introduced by the German Bishops' Conference on March 14, 2000, after long resistance, for German dioceses (Amtsblatt [official publication] of the Archdiocese of Freiburg No. 26, 25.8.2000) with my understanding of church, faith, and conscience.
  • I stand in solidarity with all of those who refuse to serve the church based on the expanded creed and loyalty oath.
  • It is my will that my rejection of the expanded creed and loyalty oath be published,  provided that in addition to me, this statement has been signed by 49 further priests who may also be affected by the loyalty oath.  I agree that the Forum of Priests of the Freiburg Archdiocese will collect these statements  and publish them as soon as this condition has been met.
Please let us know what you think.  Replies to: Christof Heimpel, Blumenstraße 23, D-69115 Heidelberg, Tel.: (06221) 1302-16,
Fax: (06221) 1302-26, e-mail: c.heimpel@bonifatius-hd.de

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
e-mail address: ihs@ionet.net
Posted 27 August 2000
Last updated 10 March 2001
Copyright © 2001 Ingrid H. Shafer
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