Freiburg auxiliary bishop retires, shortly before 75th birthday

Freiburg, Germany, Nov 21, 2013 / 10:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis accepted the resignation Nov. 21 of Bishop Rainer Klug, an auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, “upon having reached the age limit,” according to the Vatican Information Service.

The Code of Canon Law requests that a bishop “who has completed the seventy-fifth year of age” presents his resignation to the Pope. Bishop Klug will celebrate his 75th birthday Dec. 13.

Bishop Klug was born in 1938, and was ordained a priest for the Freiburg archdiocese in 1969. He was appointed auxiliary of the archdiocese in 2000 by Bl. John Paul II.

The archdiocese has been vacant since Sept. 17, when Archbishop Robert Zollitsch resigned, having turned 75. During the vacancy, the see has drawn criticism for a draft document released by its office of pastoral care Oct. 7.

The text of the document suggested that divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion if they can show their first marriage cannot be reentered, if they repent of their fault in a divorce and if they enter “a new moral responsibility” with their new spouse.

The document also suggested priests might offer “prayer services” for divorced faithful entering into a new civil marriage.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, responded by writing a letter on the matter to Archbishop Zollitsch, instructing that the document be “withdrawn and revised” such that “no pastoral directions are sanctioned” which oppose the teaching of the Church.

Archbishop Müller also published a lengthy essay in L'Osservatore Romano rebuking the archdiocese's document.  

Given Bishop Klug's resignation, the Freiburg archdiocese is now served by two auxiliaries, Bishop Michael Gerber, 43, and Bishop Bernd Uhl, 66. In addition to Bishop Klug, there are two other auxiliary emeriti: Bishop Wolfgang Kirchgaessner, and Bishop Paul Wehrle.

In other pontifical acts, Pope Francis today appointed Bishop Thomas Msusa as Archbishop of Blantyre, in Malawi; Fr. Paskalis Syukur as Bishop of Bogor, in Indonesia; and Bishop Celmo Lazzari as Vicar Apostolic of San Miguel de Sucumbíos, in Ecuador.

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CNA Daily News (3773 Posts)


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