02 May 2018, The Tablet

Nuncio berates Cardinal Marx over Bavarian crosses

'If the cross is just seen as a cultural symbol, then it has not been understood,' Cardinal Marx said

Nuncio berates Cardinal Marx over Bavarian crosses

The Austrian nuncio, Archbishop Peter Zurbriggen, has lambasted the German bishops who criticised Bavaria’s decision to put up crosses in the entrance ways of all public buildings.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, the president of the German bishops’ conference, told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on 30 April that the decision had “triggered division, stirred up trouble and played people off against one another”.

Defending the new ruling Bavaria's new leader, Markus Söder, insisted the cross was “a fundamental symbol of our Bavarian identity and way of life”.

Cardinal Marx rejected this idea. “If the cross is just seen as a cultural symbol, then it has not been understood”, he said, insisting it was a sign of opposition to violence, injustice, sin and death but not a sign against other people.

The debate about the cross was still important, he said, as it had brought to light the need to discuss what it meant to live in a country moulded by Christianity. “The cross means including everyone, Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers,” Marx said.

Archbishop Zurbriggen vehemently took issue with Marx’s position. “As nuncio, as the Holy Father’s representative, I am deeply saddened and ashamed that when crosses are erected in a neighbouring country, bishops and priests of all people protested,” Archbishop Zurbriggen said at a lecture he was giving at Heiligen Kreuz Abbey in the Vienna Woods on 1 May.

The German bishops’ criticism was a “disgrace which one cannot accept”, he underlined and added, “My dear Brothers and Sisters, this religious correctness – the political sort – is slowly getting on my nerves”. He was loudly applauded.

The action on placing of crosses comes into effect on 1 June.

PICTURE: Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising gives the homily at the installation Mass of Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne at the cathedral in Cologne, Germany, Sept. 20, 2014. (CNS photo/Jorg Loeffke, KNA) 

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