The Church has always, always been under attack from outside and within. Many of the heresies which had to be resisted originated from her own clergy. It was German priest Martin Luther who led the Protestant schism. One very significant threat today again originates from Germany. That fissure (from which “the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God”) that Pope Paul VI lamented in 1972 continues to widen.
Pope Francis has called for an open discussion to address those who feel estranged from the Church. These are people who have not known, not understood or rejected the truth given to us directly in Christ’s words, recorded in Holy Scripture, passed on in Sacred Tradition, taught by the Magisterium and believed always, everywhere and by everyone Catholic. Instead, some have succumbed to the false teaching of the modern world that taking another wife or acting on same sex attraction is not sinful.
Christ has not given up on them and neither has His vicar. The question at hand is a pastoral one: how our good shepherds may most effectively lead them back. The question is not how to change, modify, adapt, twist or diminish the true teaching of the Church to suit the world. The Church does not have such authority. Yet, there are those within who propose exactly that. Such lies do not help the Body of Christ, but are extremely damaging giving scandal that leads people away from salvation. “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path” (attributed to St. John Chrysostom).
Many in the German bishops’ conference have been strongly lobbying for (essentially doctrinal) change, if not formally then in practice. They have been the primary force behind manipulating the Synod on the Family. Their Cardinal Walter Kasper has been on a non-stop, worldwide media blitz to build support for this. The primary player however is the president of their bishops’ conference – Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
Cardinal Marx presides over a diocese which alone is worth more than the Vatican, with revenue ($650M/yr) collected by the state and supports 60,000 well-paid employees — although with near empty churches. He has spent far more money (4x) on luxuries than Bishop Tebartz-van Elst (the so called “bishop of bling”) who inherited expenses from his predecessor and was mostly set-up for his fidelity to the Magisterium. This is hard-ball politics.
Cardinal Marx now appears to be laying the groundwork in the event the fall synod does not make changes to his liking. In recent comments to reporters, his statements hint at schism. To wit:
- “we are not just a subsidiary of Rome”
- (the synod) must lead to “further progress” towards finding a common position on fundamental issues, but it “cannot prescribe in detail what we have to do in Germany”
- the German Church “cannot wait” for synodal statements
These statements suggest a possible unilateral decision to offer the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried and possibly to those in homosexual unions. They are scandalous threats to the Universal Church and in essence, are an offer of continuing communion with Her but only on their own terms. Cardinal Marx is beginning to act as the Pope of Germany. EWTN’s excellent National Catholic Register has the story:
Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the end of the bishops’ plenary meeting in Hildesheim, Cardinal Reinhard Marx said theological questions regarding marriage, the family and sexual morality could not be answered during the three weeks of the synod.
He said he hopes the synod will result in “a further discussion” and said that it must find a text that “would lead to further progress” towards finding a common theological position on fundamental issues.
But concerning pastoral practice, he said the German Church “cannot wait” for synodal statements, as marriage and family ministry has to be undertaken now, according to an article (now removed) in Die Tagespost, translated by the blog Catholic Conclave.
Cardinal Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, said as far as doctrine is concerned, the German episcopate remains in communion with the Church, but on individual issues of pastoral care, “the synod cannot prescribe in detail what we have to do in Germany.”
The German bishops want to publish their own pastoral letter on marriage and family after the synod, the article says.
“We are not just a subsidiary of Rome,? Marx said. “Each episcopal conference is responsible for the pastoral care in their culture and has to proclaim the Gospel in its own unique way. We cannot wait until a synod states something, as we have to carry out marriage and family ministry here.”
Perhaps I can be of some assistance to Cardinal Marx. He cautioned that theological questions regarding marriage, the family and sexual morality could not be answered during the three weeks of the synod. Fortunately, Jesus answered the core questions Cardinal Marx struggles with 2,000 years ago. Those “questions” are settled for all faithful Catholics.
The article goes on to quote German Bishop Heiner Koch (in line with Cardinal Marx), who laments that to “portray homosexuality as a sin is hurtful.” Quite right – it is serious, grave sin and extremely hurtful to one’s eternal life. Should it not be portrayed honestly?
Read the entire article: German Bishops: “We Are Not Just a Subsidiary of Rome”.
I believe that these statements are being made now precisely because the German agenda for the Synod on the Family is failing to lead the Universal Church down this false path. I’ll conclude with thoughts from one of many faithful Cardinals resisting this:
Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, recently stated that detaching Church teaching from pastoral practice – which critics say the Kasper proposal would do – is a form of “heresy.”
The idea of placing the Magisterium “in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice – which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions – is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology,” Cardinal Sarah said.
He added that the African Church “will strongly oppose any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and the Magisterium.”