Judging from their joint declaration, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo (pictured) has succeeded in achieving soe measure of resolve in the ongoing dispute between Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst and the cathedral chapter and other bodies of the Diocese of Limburg.
Both the bishop and the cathedral chapter have made assurances, the first to allow openness about the expenses of the new bishop’s house as well as making more use of the advisory bodies at his disposal, and the second to follow the bishop’s direction in a spirit of loyalty.
Cardinal Lajolo will be reporting to Pope Francis, as the declaration, translated below, states, but the general tone of the Assurances make it unlikely that the Holy Father will decide on drastic measures, such as, as some have suggested, a new appointment for the bishop (although his name is still being mentioned for Cologne, a see that will most likely become vacant before the year is out).
Joint Declaration from the Bishop and the Cathedral Chapter of Limburg at the Closing of the Visit of Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo to the Diocese of Limburg:
The paternal concern of the Bishop of Rome, Pope France, who “leads in love”, has been convincingly expressed in the fraternal visit of Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo.
We have gratefully received the urgent appeal of the Holy Father to us in the Diocese of Limburg to seek peace and maintain unity.
- The purpose of the visit was to gain a clear and nuanced picture of the situation in the diocese and to move all to mutual understanding and harmony.
- Over the course of the week, the cardinal has held numerous conversations with the bishop, the cathedral chapter, representatives of the council of priests and synodal bodies, and also with other religious, priests and laity, and will inform the Holy Father about this in detail.
- The bishop has assured that he will immediately allow all costs for the construction projection on the cathedral hill to be published in the diocese and will make available a special audit by a commission, which he has requested from the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference. The commission’s final report, which will determine and record all costs, funding and means, will be published.
- The bishop has once more expressed his firm desire to make regular and reliable use of the advisory bodies in the management of the diocese, as provided for in general and particular Church law.
- In accordance with the wish of the Holy Father, the cathedral chapter will attentively and loyally follow the bishop’s path.
- The bishop is confident that the conference and councils will contribute in this way to resolve the current problems in a spirit of openness and fraternity.
Limburg, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 14-9-2013
Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Dean of the Cathedral Günther Geis
Photo credit: picture-alliance/dpa