Joseph annen haas’ and huonder’s mortgage is onerous

Joseph Annen*: A good rainmaker is an authentic person, has both feet on the ground, is close to people and draws from the source, which is Christ.

Who was your rainmaker and in what ways did he influence you positively?

Annen: I was privileged to experience two outstanding regents as a seminarian: Alois Sustar was a moral theologian and encouraged me to listen to conscience. Josef Pfammatter was a New Testament scholar and fostered in me a spirituality that was biblically rooted.

How did St. Luzi was so progressive after the Council? Men and women lived and studied together – whether they became priests or pastoral assistants?

Annen: Beginning in 1972, there were more and more seminarians who did not want to be ordained but wanted to be pastoral associates. The so-called integrated seminary, where aspiring priests and pastoral assistants – and a little later pastoral assistants – lived, came into being as if of its own accord. Bishop Vonderach initially affirmed this new development.

Why did Bishop Vonderach stop this experiment?

Annen: Under pressure from priests in the diocese and from Vatican authorities, he later distanced himself from it again. It was Bishop Wolfgang Haas who ended the integrated seminary and reintroduced the Tridentine model.

What did you learn in St. Luzi found when you got rained on?

Annen: I became a regent in March 2000. At that time it was open whether the Theological College would continue or not. The decision in favor of the theological college was not made until the summer of 2000. I found a seminary with six seminarians for the diocese of Chur, at the college there were 15 students. It was an absolute low.

What was your particular concern?

Annen: I said to myself: "It can only get better."My first concern was to implement the resolutions of the Commission for Formation, which drew up a new concept for the entire training and continuing education in the diocese of Chur. These included the introduction of a propaedeutic course for vocational clarification, the establishment of a mentorate and housing facilities for prospective pastoral assistants, the redesign of the pastoral course, and the accompaniment of students at other universities. Central was the human, spiritual and pastoral promotion of seminarians and all diocesan students.

Which highlights as Regens are you particularly proud of??

Annen: The new concept became reality step by step. That was the real highlight. In addition, there was the total renovation of all the buildings in the seminary and college.

What differences did you have as Regens with Bishop Vitus Huonder??

Annen: Bishop Vitus Huonder did not inwardly support the development in the seminary and at the Chur Theological College. As soon as he was in office, he promoted me away to Zurich.

Why did you give up the Regensamt?

Annen: I did not hand over the rain office. I had to go.

When you were Regens: Were there already ordinations past the Regens at that time??

Annen: Priestly ordinations past the Regens did not exist. But there were hidden candidates for the priesthood. They studied elsewhere at the request of the bishop. The bishop did not notify the Regens about this.

When and why did the Servi della sofferenza in St. Luzi gained influence?

Annen: I first got to know this movement as Regens. It was a priest from the Missione cattolica italiana who started the Servi della sofferenza in St. Luzi promoted. In 2000 he had a room in the seminary.

Candidates for the priesthood have repeatedly complained about ex-spiritual Andreas Ruf. You were part of the diocesan leadership. Did you also learn about the massive criticism and were you able to do something about it?

Annen: I found out about it. But the bishop's council had nothing to say about the seminary.

Church music lecturer Mario Pinggera takes a very critical view of Noch-Regens Martin Rohrer. How do you see this?

Annen: I do not see it differently. Martin Rohrer should be glad to be able to pass on the task.

You said in December, "Today we stand in St. Luzi and in the company of all diocesan students again there, where we stood in the year 2000: at the beginning." What to do now?

Annen: The newly appointed Regens faces a new start again. Bishop Joseph Bonnemain himself "considers the present moment favorable to take over the management of the seminary of St. Luzi to be redesigned". This sounds promising.

Some complain about the pastoral year: too much of a pattern, not enough practical relevance. Wouldn't education have to be completely redesigned?

Annen: This is desperately needed. Old concepts do not lead further. Today's challenges are different than they were 20 years ago. If nothing else, the experience of spiritual and sexual abuse in our church demands new ways of doing things.

What else seems important to you?

Annen: The most important thing now is that we support Daniel Krieg in his role as Regens.

For Pope Francis, rebellious candidates for the priesthood and religious orders are preferable to ducking mice. The Pope thinks: Young people should never be standardized. Is the Pope right??

Annen: It is best if we form ourselves in the image of Jesus Christ. Then there are no duckers, no norm Christians, but there are people with an upright walk.

Pope Francis also says problems should not be masked, but addressed. Canon Daniel Krieg also wants the wounds in the diocese of Chur to be addressed. Does reprocessing bring anything? Or is letting grass grow over it better?

Annen: Wounds also hurt under the grass. Working through this requires a willingness on the part of all parties to listen to each other and not simply push through their own position. We still have a lot of work to do on this in our diocese.

Bishops Wolfgang Haas and Vitus Huonder have ordained many men as priests who were not approved in their home bishoprics. Do the dioceses of Chur and Vaduz have many mortgages?

Annen: I can only comment on Chur. The mortgage is burdensome. It cannot be amortized like a mortgage in the bank. But then, the Church is not a bank, but always an event of the Holy Spirit as well. He may bend what has hardened.

* The priest Josef Annen has shaped the diocese of Chur for decades. Born in 1945 in Kussnacht am Rigi. After studying theology and philosophy in Chur and Tubingen, he was ordained priest in 1973. This was followed by doctoral studies in Munster. He was then vicar and youth pastor in Winterthur and Zurich, 1987-2000 pastor in St. Peter and Paul in Winterthur and 2000-2009 rector at the seminary in Chur. From 2009 to 2020, Josef Annen was vicar general for Zurich and Glarus.

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