Bishop Helmut Kratzl, the popular auxiliary Catholic bishop of Vienna, has just published a new book entitled A Church with a Future.
Bishop Kratzl calls for an end to the Church’s ban on married priests and the use of birth control, arguing that a backlog of necessary reforms is draining the Church of its strength and preventing it from asserting its presence in today’s world.
He cites surveys that show celibacy to be a key reason for the drastic fall in vocations. The bishop advocates the model of the Greek Catholic Church, which is in full communion with Rome and yet permits married men to become priests, but not bishops.
The bishop says the fact the Church forbids birth control but that so many Catholics practise it has lost the Church much credibility.
Bishop Kratzl also tackles the subject of remarried divorcees. He notes a solution practised in the Orthodox Church, where a second church marriage is possible and divorcees are not barred from the sacraments.
The bishop also called for steps to be taken towards intercommunion with other churches. (The fact is more and more Catholics are now taking communion in churches such as Anglican ones. This is reform from the bottom, not the top.)
Do you generally agree with Bishop Herzl’s vision of a future Catholic church?
Why do you think so few Canadian and American bishops are afraid to even discuss these issues? Is it, perhaps, that they fear for their ecclesiastical careers?