You Will Know Them By Their Fruits (Or Lack Thereof)

German diocese under prominent bishop sees no annual ordinations for first time in 200 years.

The diocese under the tenure of the president of the German bishops’ conference and its Synodaler Weg – German Synodal Way – has ordained no priests in an annual period for the first time since its creation in 1821.

The Diocese of Limburg in western Germany, which is led by Bishop Georg Bätzing, in 2023 had its least successful year in recruiting young men to the priesthood amidst a growing vocations crisis in the country.

Bishop Bätzing is known for his progressive stances. He is a prominent advocate for the “ordination” of women to the priesthood and reform of the requirement for clerical celibacy. He has challenged the Catechism and the Church’s magisterium by holding that sex out marriage is not a sin and has praised laws recognising civil marriage amongst same-sex couples.

In an interview for Die Zeit, Bätzing revealed that he was troubled by the lack of vocations: “What worries me is that almost nobody wants to become a priest, because there is no Catholic Church without priests,” he said.

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