Rome insists on leading reform, says theologian

Paul Zulehner

According to Viennese theologian Paul Zulehner, the Vatican aims to lead the Catholic Church’s reform process before it is implemented in other countries.

In a recent interview with Croatian radio station HRT, Zulehner shared insights on the ongoing Synodal Path and Rome’s approach to church reforms.

Professor Zulehner claims Rome’s approach stems from its desire to showcase synodality, establish new structures and adapt church law before reforms can be implemented elsewhere.

The Synodal Path in Germany faced challenges due to its early start and Rome’s shortage of theological experts.

“Rome doesn’t like to take the second step. They say ‘We are taking the first step’” Zulehner explained.

Good model for democracies

The theologian wants to see more theology at the next Synod on Synodality.

“We need to do more theology and recognise what we hear: Is the Holy Spirit speaking to us? And then we need to find a good way to make the final decisions” Zulehner stated.

In this context, Zulehner picked up on thoughts from Synod on Synodality advisor and Linz theologian Klara Csiszar. Csiszar emphasised that church synodality “can also be a good model for democracies”.

Otherwise the church would ask itself what it could learn from democracy about participation.

“This is a very good task for the future, the task of the church in today’s world” Zulehner said.

Zulehner, speaking from a conference in Zagreb, Croatia, organised by the Pastoral Forum and the PosT network, reiterated the importance of theology in guiding the church’s future. Both organisations, founded by Zulehner, focus on supporting and researching churches in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Pastoral Forum, established 35 years ago, aids young theologians in developing pastoral theology through scholarships. The PosT network, a 20-year-old initiative, connects pastoral theologians across Central and Eastern Europe, fostering collaboration and research in the region.



CathNews New Zealand


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