Pope appoints new archbishops for Paderborn and Bamberg

As of: December 9th, 2023 3:29 p.m

Two important positions in the German Catholic Church have been filled: The Pope appointed the former Auxiliary Bishop of Mainz Bentz as Archbishop of Paderborn, and Auxiliary Bishop Gössl is taking over the position in Bamberg.

Pope Francis has appointed two new German archbishops and thus filled the two vacant Catholic bishoprics in Paderborn and Bamberg.

The current Auxiliary Bishop of Mainz, Udo Markus Bentz, will lead the Archdiocese of Paderborn. The previous Bamberg auxiliary bishop and diocesan administrator Herwig Gössl takes over the leadership of the Archdiocese of Bamberg. This was decided by the Pope, as the Holy See and the two archdioceses announced.

The new Paderborn Archbishop Bentz is considered to be rather liberal in terms of church politics.

After a year-long vacancy, Bentz, who is considered to be rather liberal in terms of church politics, will succeed Hans-Josef Becker, who was at the head of the archdiocese for 19 years and left office last year at the age of 74.

Gössl succeeds Ludwig Schick, who also offered his resignation to the Pope at the end of last year for reasons of age, as is customary in the Catholic Church. Schick had led the archdiocese for a good 20 years since 2002.

Bätzing praises new archbishops

The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Bishop Georg Bätzing, congratulated the future Archbishop of Paderborn. Bätzing emphasized that tradition and innovation as well as popular piety and synodality belong together in Paderborn.

The new Archbishop Gössl was already an auxiliary bishop in Bamberg.

Gössl’s appointment in Bamberg represents continuity, explained Bätzing. Above all, Gössl’s “people-friendly nature and profound spirituality” will characterize Gössl’s service in the future, said the Limburg bishop. It can be felt that Gössl is someone who wants to shape the church of the future carefully and in practical steps.

Other bishoprics still vacant

After the official appointment, the dioceses of Osnabrück and Rottenburg-Stuttgart in Germany are now without a diocesan bishop.

In addition, the situation in the Archdiocese of Cologne remains uncertain. The highly controversial Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki offered the head of the Catholic Church his resignation a year and a half ago in connection with the investigation into cases of sexual abuse in Cologne. A decision from Pope Francis is still pending.

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