Modernity in Old Catholicism: Catholic, but different

ALt-Catholic sounds very little like reform and modernity to outsiders. Rather old-fashioned, as well as old-fashioned, old-fashioned, long-established. Or to put it more pointedly: ultra-conservative. Gabi Sistig is none of that. The fifty-three-year-old has a management position in development cooperation and has therefore also lived in African countries for a number of years, raised two now almost adult children, is divorced and was involved in a Catholic community in the Taunus for many years. Some time ago she even took over the voluntary church leadership with two fellow campaigners, a new approach in the Catholic Church to cope with the increasing shortage of priests and to involve volunteers more closely in church work.

“Faith has always played a big role in my life. But as I got older, I questioned the institution behind it more and more, ”says the woman, who grew up in the Catholic Eifel. “A dusty, unworldly bunch”, she says today about the Roman Catholic Church – a little bitterly, despite many positive experiences with very nice and committed clergy, as she emphasizes. “But there was always Rome and the Pope,” she says, everything institutionalized as if set in stone, despite decades of reform efforts by different currents within the Catholic Church, almost irrefutable. The abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the way it was dealt with have made her persistent clinging to “her” church increasingly shaky.


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