The serene

The serene

Bishop Batzing is the new chairman of the German Bishops' Conference © Andreas Arnold

Georg Batzing is often described as a mediating character. In his first appearances as president of the Bishops' Conference, the Limburg bishop remains friendly and obliging – but quite clear in his tone.

Whoever is chairman of the German Bishops' Conference must inevitably appear before the press at more or less regular intervals. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, now emeritus, who presided from 2008 to 2014, rarely seemed comfortable with the idea. His successor, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, knew how to win over the media, but sometimes acted more shirt-sleeved than thoughtful in front of cameras and notepads.

And Georg Batzing? Since a few days the bishop of Limburg leads the bishops' conference. And first pays reverence to his predecessor Marx. "There are already big footprints that have been left behind," he said at the final press conference on Thursday. Shortly after his election, however, he had already emphasized: "I am not a second Reinhard Marx."

Patient and serene

Batzing answers the questions of the journalists patiently and calmly, does not let himself be lured out of his reserve. One of the participants wants to know whether he finds it difficult to "not exclude" individual groups in the current debates within the church. "The church is a family," the 58-year-old parries. "This is not a club of friends, neither the Bishops' Conference nor the Catholic Church, nor the world in which we live."Some are easier to deal with, others harder – "but staying together is the essential thing.

At the same time, the bishop does not want to slide into arbitrariness. An abolition of the ordination offices would not be possible with him. "This is then no longer the Catholic Church!", he explained succinctly.

Batzing rejects hopes of joint communion celebrations by Christian churches at the next Ecumenical Church Congress (oKT) – although the opposite opinion would presumably have earned him public sympathy points. After all, the 2021 oKT will take place in Frankfurt and thus in his own diocese.

The son of a railroad employee stays on track once he has reached a conviction. At the same time, at his first plenary meeting as chairman, he presents himself as a team player who is not above admitting his own weaknesses – and compensating for them with the strengths of others. He relies on the support of his predecessor, Reinhard Marx, to maintain an exchange with decision-makers in the Vatican.

With a steady hand

He presides over meetings with a steady hand, but briskly, according to one participant. He doesn't comment and doesn't put anyone down; he sums up precisely what has been said and asks in a friendly way if he doesn't immediately understand another point of view.

Batzing's mandate runs for six years; perhaps, unlike Marx, he will even make himself available for a second term thereafter.

For the time being, all this is pie in the sky. At the opening service of their plenary assembly, the bishops in Mainz Cathedral remembered Cardinal Karl Lehmann. He was conference chairman for about 20 years.

Batzing will not be able to approach such a length of service due to the statutes, which have since been changed and only permit re-election. But that should not hurt him either.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: