Reverend Chesler talks about celibacy and the future

DOMRADIO.DE: To clear up all the misunderstandings: When we are in a relationship with a woman, aren’t we talking about Mary, the Mother of God?

Rainer Maria Schisler (priest at Sankt Maximilian in Munich): It is also very severe, as is usual in Bavaria. But this is really about the purely human relationship.

Rainer Maria Schisler (priest in Sankt Maximilian Munich)

“Here a Catholic priest lives with a woman in a very close relationship.”

DOMRADIO.DE: You have now revealed your relationship in a book, the relationship with your partner Gonda, who you two have been together for 25 years. They have moved in and it is actually not a comfort partnership with a housekeeper, but an affair.

Schesler: In all cases. I have never found celibacy preventing any love I could have for another human being. Love means conscience, loyalty, honesty and sincerity in dealing with another person.

DOMRADIO.DE: A missing element that distinguishes a married couple’s relationship from marriage is the lack of sex.

Rainer Maria Schisler, a pastor in Munich, is launching a new book with his church secretary, Stefan Maria Alof. It will be published by Verlag Droemer-Knaur on 1 April under the title “Can You Still Be Saved?! Just Do It and Change the Church.”

Schesler: We do not live sexuality in the sense of traditional marriage. correct. Just what I would say: We single men live a special form of sex. I’ve always experienced it right from the start, for me there are encounters and touches with other people – it could be a hug, for example – and for me this means more than one person who can live sex in complete freedom. I once said that to Judith Rackers. She had to hug me right away.

DOMRADIO.DE: I don’t think I’m throwing in much when I say the church has a different understanding of celibacy. But you say: Living in solitude is not an option for me?

Schesler: I can’t imagine the church imagining celibacy as a unit. Complete dedication is a beautiful word, and it happens to me exactly the same way. I chose this way of life for myself, not to fulfill any covenants or requirements of the Church, but because I want to live a prophetic life. I want to show that there is completeness after this life. And nothing is better than a father, an education, and raising a family here. I give it up voluntarily, but I do not give it up – because this is not possible, because it is unhealthy for my entire environment – the society I need, which is not a society of comfort, not a working society, but really depends on this trust and on this each other and attraction to each other – that is based on love.

DOMRADIO.DE: Her book is called Are You Still Saved? Who is meant? you and your partner

Rainer Maria Schisler, Reverend at Sankt Maximilian Munich

“I cannot imagine the Church imagining solitude as solitude.”

Schesler: everyone. Church, world – now, with this ridiculous war. When we picked that title last year, we didn’t know what situation we were in today. Importantly, this book brings itself back to the topic of celibacy. It’s not about celibacy at all. This is about forced celibacy. The point is, people think they can legally anchor my free choice in life. I did not understand it legally. I chose it this way for myself. But we now know how far we’ve come to this legal obligation. There is no priestly ordination now in Munich, the seminaries are empty, the parishes dissolve their seminaries. We have to think of a different strategy here – if I may call it that.

DOMRADIO.DE: Would it benefit the church if celibacy was a matter of choice and no longer obligatory?

Schesler: I found celibacy voluntary because I made this statement to myself: You must bring me something. But the Church will certainly benefit the Church if she places the burden of evangelization on many shoulders, not only on imposed single men but on married men. And of course the women are playing now. I hope that the synodal path will continue very firmly. We circumcise ourselves to the point that we limit the gospel to a very specific group of people.

DOMRADIO.DE: You say the church will never paint you again because you interpret celibacy freely?

Schesler: No, but it’s all my way. I trained as a post-compound kid in the ’80s: we’ve only lived from new beginnings. It was actually clear to us that we were going to work in a church that was opening up completely. We did not anticipate what happened in the last twenty or twenty-five years. I think we are now at a turning point, as in politics. The Church understands that it must open up again – as it did after the Council – if it is to have a future. Then they will dedicate me again.

The interview was conducted by Tobias Frick.

Leave a Comment