The wurzburg diocese has a new bishop. The vicar general of the diocese of speyer, franz jung, will in future lead the fate of the catholic church in lower franconia. This was announced simultaneously by the diocese and the vatican in rome on friday afternoon. The 51-year-old succeeds friedhelm hofmann, who retired in september 2017. Hofmann was bishop in wurzburg for 13 years.
In the only five months lasting sedisvakanz suffragan bishop ulrich boom had led the diocese. Until the new bishop takes office, he will continue to do so. Jung to boom "probably in the easter season" 89. Bishop of wurzburg to be consecrated. A concrete date has not yet been set.
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jung said of the pope's decision: "i am still getting used to the idea that i will soon be leaving the palatinate and my home bishopric of speyer, where i have experienced so many outstanding years." He sees his appointment as bishop of wurzburg as a great sign of trust and a responsibility that he is happy to take on.
The chairman of the german bishops' conference, munich archbishop and cardinal reinhard marx, congratulated jung: "the faithful of the wurzburg diocese can look forward to their new pastor." In speyer (rhineland-palatinate), the bishop has adopted a "prudent and far-sighted perspective" a name made and ten years of important decisions made for the development of the diocese.
The right man for the right place
On friday, jung's boss hofmann also expressed his satisfaction with the decision from rome. "I think this is the right man for the right place. He is a scientist, he is an organizer and he is pastorally a wise shepherd. And it has to be, because in my opinion it is the closeness to the people that counts", said the 75-year-old. This also fits in with the current challenges in the diocese. "I see the building sites in the pastoral care of the future, in the restructuring of our congregations. This is a challenge that will bind us together."
Franz jung was born in 1966 and grew up in ludwigshafen am rhein, according to the diocese. Jung studied philosophy and catholic theology in munich and at the papal university gregoriana in rome. Jung, who holds a doctorate in new testament studies, was ordained a priest in 1992 and received his doctorate in munich in 2001. Vicar general in speyer he was since 2009.
According to a statement from the wurzburg diocese, he was appreciated there as a strong decision-maker with strategic vision. The bishop of speyer, karl-heinz wiesemann, is pleased with the appointment of his vicar general, but at the same time the appointment means "a painful loss for the diocese of speyer and also for me personally.
Spaenle buries decision
Bavarian minister of culture ludwig spaenle (CSU) buried jung's appointment: "franz jung's rich experience, especially in pastoral care and church administration, has a special significance for the high office that now awaits him. I am convinced that the new bishop of wurzburg can provide valuable impulses." Wurzburg's mayor christian schuchardt (CDU) is looking forward to working with hofmann's successor and hopes that "he will quickly settle into his new home in wurzburg as well as his predecessor, who in his retirement no longer wanted to think about returning to koln.
The catholic reform movement "we are church used the appointment for general criticism of the selection process in the search for a new bishop. "The fact that this has been done in the old manor way is not desirable. He who is to preside over all must also be elected by all", said spokesman magnus lux. It is not about an election like the federal election. But church congregations should also be allowed to make suggestions, which will then be explored. In practice, the cathedral chapter and the bishops' conference propose suitable candidates to the vatican. The pope finally chooses and appoints the new bishop.