Open letter from concerned German Catholics

Editor’s note: see our interview published on Maria 1.0 “The True Mary: German Catholic Women Fight Against Feminism”.

On Wednesday August 3, we at Maria 1.0 addressed a letter directly to Bishop Georg Bätzing. We turned to him with great concern in his role as President of the German Bishops’ Conference, because many Catholics in our country were horrified and confused by the recent statements of Dr Irme Stetter-Karp, who demanded “that the medical intervention of an abortion be made possible nationwide. Dr. Stetter-Karp is the president of the ZdK (Central Committee of German Catholics) and therefore, in purely formal terms, the highest representative of lay Catholics in Germany. Since this topic is of such importance and can in no way be ignored, in our letter to Bishop Bätzing we reserve the right to formulate and publish an open letter, and invite him to attach his own statement to our text. Having received no response to date (August 11) and with Bishop Bätzing apparently continuing to adhere to a cooperation with Dr. Stetter-Karp, we publish the following open letter. This letter has been sent electronically to several other bishops’ conferences, in particular to those who have already expressed their criticisms and concerns about the developments in Germany. We will also send the open letter to every German diocesan bishop and the apostolic nuncio by post. We reach out to the public in this delicate situation, as the people of God, so that nothing is hidden, but open for all to see. We also have Catholic signatories for the open letter; they come from different regions, are of different ages, men and women, and combine the most diverse trades.

German Bishops’ Conference
Bishop Georg Bätzing, Bishop
Kaiserstrasse 161
53113 Bonn

Dear Bishop Dr. Bätzing,

Your episcopal motto is “CONGREGA IN UNUM – ​​Gather together”. We, the signatories of this open letter, write to you today, however, out of concern for the unity of the Catholic Church in Germany, and that of the German Catholic Church with Rome and the universal Church. We have several reasons for this!

You receive almost regularly letters concerning the state of the Catholic Church in Germany from concerned bishops and cardinals here and abroad, even from entire bishops’ conferences; the repeated remonstrances of Rome are not lacking either. The Holy Father, obviously frustrated and angered by the situation in the German particular Churches, often asks in interviews why his letter of June 29, 2019 to the pilgrim people of God in Germany – a letter which he personally took several weeks to write and that he wrote as a shepherd, brother, father and believer in and of a Church trying to find its way – finds so little consideration. We would like to ask this question with him, Your Excellency!

In his letter, Pope Francis calls us to a pastoral conversion, which reminds us “that evangelization must be our guiding criterion par excellence, from which we discern all the steps that we are called to take as an ecclesial community. Evangelization is the present and essential mission of the Church. And what does the Voie Synodale, of which you are the co-president, think of it? The request to establish a separate forum on the subject of evangelism was rejected. Instead, the Synodal Way agreed during its subsequent consultations to discuss whether or not the office of the Catholic priest was even necessary at all! Under your leadership, Bishop Bätzing, the Synodal Way threatens to fall into an offside trap. According to Pope Francis, “one of the first and greatest temptations in ecclesiastical matters was to believe that the solutions to present and future problems would come only from the reform of structures, organizations and administration, but, in in the end, these would not have touched the vital points which really require attention.

We believe that matters such as the following require your urgent attention, for exampleaccording to a survey by INSA-Consulere, a market and social research company from Erfurt, commissioned by Idea, a Protestant news agency, and quoted by (April 18, 2019), only 28% of Roman Catholic Christians believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. According to a survey by the PEW Research Center, also cited by (August 6, 2019), 70% of Catholics in the United States no longer believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The numbers here are probably no better. Under these omens of the evaporation of faith in our own ranks, you argue with the Reformation churches about mutual participation in the Eucharist or Holy Communion? No, Archbishop Bätzing, we are on the fast track to that “modernized”, woke liberal and politically correct ecclesiastical body that Pope Francis has warned against, declaring that it has neither the soul nor the freshness of Gospel!

We have long been silent about all of this, rubbing our eyes in disbelief at the MHG study and the abuse of innocent children and young people – which we condemn and want to solve as much as you do! – has been used as an impetus to try to restructure our Church in such a way that we Roman Catholic Christians would no longer recognize ourselves as such if it had not been for Rome and the universal Church. All of this was orchestrated in turn by the same handful of German theology professors who are apparently about to replace the episcopal magisterium. Also don’t think that we (as well as individual bishops) have failed to notice the many deliberately placed smaller and smaller violations (even by individual bishops) against specific instructions from Rome or the Magisterium. This does not unite, Excellency, it divides!

But now your co-president of the Synodal Way and president of the ZdK [Central Committee of Catholics], Dr. Irme Stetter-Karp, has crossed a red line that requires us to speak out in public. The incident is public knowledge: Dr. Stetter-Karp in his guest article (July 17, 2022) for Christ and piping [Christian & World]a section of the weekly Die Zeit, with the programmatic title “Right to life, right to self-determination”, called for “a guarantee that the medical intervention of abortion is made possible on a national scale”. She further said: ‘A statement on how to ensure supply is on hold – which also includes training doctors in training.’ Any believing Catholic considers it a monstrosity that the co-founder of Donum Vitae abuses her position as the highest lay representative of the Catholic Church and co-president of the Synodal Way in order to press for a personal and socio-political cause, to know the so-called equivalence of the woman’s right to self-determination with the right to life of the unborn child, as Donum Vitae propagates! On top of that, in reaction to the criticism that immediately followed, Dr Stetter-Karp went even further and said that after all a (government) law had to be enforced. In this way, she makes it clear that she is not even aware of her own irreconcilable conflict of interests which places her in flagrant contradiction with current Church doctrine. Bishop Bätzing’s spokesman, Mr. Matthias Kopp, then reacted with the necessary clarity and made it clear that the position of the President of the ZdK puts him in conflict with the German Bishops’ Conference. His fellow Catholic in the bishop’s office, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Maria Renz commented (CNA): “Whoever is and wants to remain Catholic will therefore naturally demand a national offer of various aids for pregnant women in conflict situations. , but not a national offer of opportunities to get rid of one’s own offspring.

And now, Your Excellency? Although usually never short of ideas about people like Archbishops Msgr. Stefan Heße and H.Em. Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki who fell “out of favor” with the DBK last year, in the case of your co-president Stetter-Karp your silence is deafening! Instead, already on July 21, 2022, you again issued a joint statement with Dr. Stetter-Karp on the latest warnings from the Vatican Secretariat of State. Did we get the right impression? In view of the continuing German conflict with Rome, do you want at all costs to prevent the monstrous statements of Dr. Stetter-Karp from becoming a wedge between the DBK and the ZdK and thus weakening the Synodal Way? Do you want to resume your usual activities and continue to work with a co-president who – since she continues to be intransigent – ​​in the words of your colleague, Auxiliary Bishop Renz, cannot credibly remain Catholic? It is true that your influence on the choice of the president of the ZdK is limited, but it is your duty as president of the German Bishops’ Conference to decide whether, under these circumstances, you are still ready to work with Dr. Stetter-Karp.

For us, the signatories of this letter, the idea would be unbearable that you and Dr. Stetter-Karp could one day travel together to Rome as representatives of the Catholic Church in Germany; or, if it really came to that, that she, as co-chair of the planned Synodal Council, would decide the fate of the “German Catholic Church” together with you. Bishop Bätzing, we ask you and your fellow bishops, who all promised at their episcopal consecration that the deposit of faith transmitted to them by the apostles would be transmitted in a pure state and without brevity, to end your cooperation with Dr. Stetter-Karp permanently if she is not prepared to publicly recant her position and return to Church teachings on the protection of unborn children.


Clara Steinbrecher, Leader of Initiative Maria 1.0
Dr. Michael F. Feldkamp, ​​Historian and Publisher, Berlin
Dr. Beate Beckmann-Zöller, freiberufliche Religionsphilosophin
Teacher. Dr. Christoph Binninger, Director of the Bischöflichen Studium Rudolphinum, Regensburg
Dr. Christian Schmidt, Herder-Institut, Marburg
Mathias von Gersdorff, editor and author
Gisela Geirhos, Verlagsleiterin Media Maria
Dr. Hinrich E. Bues, Publizist und Dozent für christliche Spiritualität und Evangelization
Kristijan Aufiero, CEO of 1000plus/Pro Femina ev
Teacher. Dr. Manfred Spieker, em. Teacher. for christliche Sozialwissenschaften, Universität Osnabrück
Timothy Flanders, Herausgeber of OnePeterFive (1P5)
Teacher. Dr. Matthias Amen, Prof. for Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Universität Bielefeld
Teacher. Dr. Christian Müller, Wirtschaftswissenschaftler
Felizitas Küble, Leiterin Komm-Mit-Verlag and Christoferuswerk
Teacher. Dr. Berthold Wald, em. Teacher. for Systematic Philosophy, Theologische Fakultät Paderborn
Schwester M. Margreth, St. Peter-Ording
Teacher. Dr. Dr. Elmar Nass, Prof. für Socialwissenschaften, KHKT Köln
St. Boniface Institute
Schwester Veronika Reincke OCD (Karmelitin), Priorin des Karmels St. Josef, Aufkirchen
Ursula Maria Fehlner, Bundesvorsitzende des Vereins katholischer deutscher Lehrerinnen (VkdL eV)
Teacher. Dr. Wolfgang Klausnitzer, em. Teacher. of Fundamental Theology
Teacher. Dr. Dieter J. Weiß, Historian, München
Peter Esser, Diplom-Designer
Dr. Ludger Hölscher, Pfarrvikar St. Peter-Ording
Christof T. Zeller-Zellenberg, investor and publisher, Wien
Dr. Margarete Strauss, Publizistik mit Schwerpunkt auf Internetapostolat
PD Dr. Stefan Luft, Politikwissenschaftler, Bremen
Teacher. Dr med. Angelo Dell’Aquila, Klinik für Herzchirurgie, Münster
Dr. Joachim Krebs, Botschafter aD, Düren

This letter was published on the Maria 1.0 website.

James R. Rhodes