MAINZ, Germany (ChurchMilitant.com) - The German bishops' conference's trumpeting of dissent is slated to continue.
Bishop Georg Bätzing of the diocese of Limburg was elected on Tuesday as the next president of the German bishops' conference. Bätzing, age 58, has been head of the Limburg diocese since 2016.
Bishop Bätzing's election as conference president comes in the midst of the "Synodaler Weg" or "Synodal Way" of the Church in Germany — a program for proposing and implementing reforms that is being used by leftists to push theological dissent and undermine the Church's traditions. LifeSite reports that the Limburg bishop is head of the Synodal Way's discussion forum on sexuality.
The working document stated, "Homosexual acts also realize positive meaningful values, insofar as they are an expression of friendship, reliability, loyalty and support in life."
It said of masturbation, "The joyful experience of one's own body (self-sex) can also mean a responsible approach to one's own sexuality."
On the issue of artificial contraception, it opined, "Not every sexual act must remain open to procreation: the principle of responsible parenthood is extended to include the element of family planning through the free choice of a means of contraception appropriate to the respective life situation."
Catholic teaching has always maintained that homosexual activity, masturbation and contraception are gravely immoral.
The Limburg bishop is known for being sympathetic toward liberals and theological dissidents. Earlier this week, German Catholic multimedia outfit DOM Radio ran the headline, "Bätzing wants a more modern style in the bishops' conference."
In another article, DOM Radio drew attention to previous comments by Bp. Bätzing in favor of letting priests marry. It quotes him as having said in an interview, "I believe that it does no harm to the Church if priests are free to choose whether they want to live marriage or live without marriage."
Bishop Bätzing went on to say that, even if clerical celibacy becomes optional in the Roman Rite, he would still like to see the tradition of celibacy preserved.
Last year, Bätzing asked the people of the Limburg diocese to discuss a proposal for Catholic priests to give blessing to homosexual couples.
In the first news conference after his election, Bp. Bätzing argued that combating racism is a central part of the Catholic Church's mission in the world. He said, "We must be so strong, as we have so far always been, in standing up against racism and agitation in our country."
As noted by LifeSiteNews, the Limburg bishop has spoken favorably towards the idea of intercommunion between Protestants and Catholics. He gave his support to an "ecumenical" theological study which argued for allowing non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion during Catholic Mass.
"It is my personal conviction that what is written there is justifiable," Bp. Bätzing said in a recent press conference.
Published in the fall of 2019, the study pointed out that Martin Luther believed in the Real Presence, but adopted a different explanation for it than what is found in Catholic theology.
But in January, Cdl. Kurt Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, spoke out against the idea of Protestant-Catholic intercommunion. He pointed out that even Protestants who have some notion of the Real Presence still do not believe the Eucharist is a sacrifice.
Catholic theology holds that the Eucharist is "both a sacrifice and a sacrament," as stated by St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae, Part III, Question 79, Article 5: see also Part III, Question 83, Article 1).