September 24, 2012

A spokesman for the Swiss bishops’ conference defended its newly elected president, Bishop Markus Buchel of Sankt Gallen, after he called for local bishops to have a greater say on Church reforms.

“Bishop Buchel has his colleagues’ confidence and his election has nothing to do with his views on such issues,” said Walter Muller, the conference’s information officer.

“Each bishop is responsible for Church teaching and pastoral work, and this applies to issues such as lay preaching and communion for remarried divorcees.

The bishops’ conference has no competence of its own in these domains,” he said.

Muller’s comments came after Buchel suggested during a news conference Sept. 6 after his election that while he agreed with Church teaching, it would be “pragmatic” to consider allowing lay people to preach and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

In a Sept. 13 interview with Catholic News Service, Muller dismissed claims he also held liberal views on issues such as women priests.