As The Synod Turns

Any one who looks at Catholic stuff on these interwebs today (and for the near future) is going to be inundated with Synod stuff.

We have to be wary.

Do you remember that, just before Benedict XVI abdicated, during an audience he talked about the Council of the Fathers v. the Council of the Media?

This is what we are seeing develop around this Synod.

There is a Synod and there is a Synod of the Media.

A great example of this is found today at CRUX.

My first observation is that, when you look at CRUX’s main page the great burning question that all Catholics are focused on is “gay” marriage.  There is a disproportionate focus on this issue, just as there is a disproportionate representation of “gays” in TV sitcoms, etc.  Surely this comes from a desire not just to report news but to advance an agenda.  I circled stories on the main page that have to do with “gay” matters.  Given the percentage of Catholics who actually want there to be same-sex unions, for any reason, … well… you decide what’s going on here.

You can conduct the same exercise over at Fishwrap (aka The National Schismatic Reporter).  It’ll probably be a higher percentage yet, given that outlet’s leanings.

To their credit, CRUX has an op-ed piece by Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press which is worth a moment or two.  He explodes the canard that conservatives are against change and he clearly states that we have to embrace also the hard sayings of the Lord, the difficult teachings.  “Pastoral” doesn’t mean selling out.

On the other hand, at CRUX we see a “Synod of the Media” piece by John Allen (who now works for the Boston Globe for CRUX). Allen enthusiastically relates that married couples are stealing the show at the Synod (which is all of 36 hours old).  Highlighted are the comments of a couple who assert that the Church should be open to same-sex couples.  There are no other explanations of what that is supposed to look like other than the analogy offered: just as a parents of a son in some kind of same-sex relationship should welcome that “couple” into their home at Christmas time, so too the Church should welcome same-sex couples.  There is a lot of ambiguity here.  Say parents do allow their son and his … whatever he is called… to their home for, say, Christmas dinner.  Do they then give that “couple” a bedroom in their home for the night or longer?  Similarly, Holy Church already welcomes every sort of couple of Catholics.  As a matter of fact Holy Church obliges every sort of Catholic to come to Church and participate in Sunday Mass.  Remember the obligation thing?  What Holy Church does not do is say to people in mortal sin that they can receive Communion.  The language of “welcome” in these scenarios, namely, the Church should “be welcoming” is a red herring.  OF COURSE the Church is welcoming to sinners.  THAT’S WHAT SHE’S FOR, for the love of all that’s holy.

Moreover, Allen also expostulates about how the way annulments are handled in these USA could be a model for the rest of the world.  What he is referring to is the high percentage of cases that receive decrees of nullity, without consideration of whether those tribunals were exercising due diligence or not.  This was considered a serious problem during the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  Is it suddenly not a problem anymore just because there is, right now, an almost lemmings-to-the-cliff rush in favor of some “streamlined” annulment process?

The Synod of the Media, folks.

But wait!  There’s more.

Mr. Allen also reports that Card. Kasper has received an “endorsement” from fellow German Card. Marx of Munich, who is also a member of the fabled “Gang of Eight”.  Well, that’s a huge surprise, isn’t it!  Germans bishops support Kasperite thesis!  Sun to rise at dawn!

First of all, the fact that the German bishops, with Marx, might back Kasper’s notions during the Synod means very little, in terms of the Synod.  The Germans have their representation.  I think its at about the same level as that of the Church in, say, Croatia.

Also, could there be behind this German push for Communion for the civilly remarried a desire to defend Germany’s Church Tax?

In the UK’s best Catholic week, The Catholic Herald, there is in the print edition (you can subscribe HERE) a letter to the editor by Fr. Francis Coveney, which raises a good point:

Over at Lifesite News, there is an entry which touches on the fact that the German Church is losing members like fleeing rodents from a less than stable barque.

The issue [Communion for those in irregular situations] has been a high priority for the German Catholic bishops for whom much of the Church’s funding comes from the Church Tax, in which citizens identify themselves as affiliated with a particular church and the government pays a portion of their income tax to support it. The Catholic Church’s refusal to budge on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics has cut into Catholic revenues as thousands of Catholics in “irregular” situations have switched their affiliation on tax forms.

In 2012, the German bishops’ conference issued a statement that Catholics who did not pay the Church Tax would be refused the sacraments. German citizens are required to give an affiliation on their tax forms, and the bishops declared that changing the affiliation to one of the Protestant Churches is tantamount to a declaration of apostasy. In 2011, the Catholic Church in Germany received 5 billion euros (approximately $6.84 billion U.S.) from the government.

The bishops have repeatedly complained of the loss of membership and blame the Church’s refusal to change teachings such as that on divorce, the reservation of priestly ordination to men and clerical celibacy. [… “but for Wales?”] The German media, however, has pointed to the clerical sex abuse scandals as a major motivator for the refusal of Catholics to continue paying the tax levy. In 2011, 126,488 Catholics asked to be removed from registers.

Kasper, long a theological opponent of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, has espoused a change in the practice for years. In 2005, Cardinal Kasper refused to accept the decision of a synod of bishops on the question, [Wait just a doggone minute here!  I thought “synodality” was the bestest and most wonderfulest way ehvurrrr to work out problems in the Church.] saying “It is a question that exists, and we have to reflect on it in order to be able to respond…Every bishop in every Western country recognizes that this is a grave problem.” Of the Synod’s conclusion that the practice of withholding Communion could not be changed, Kasper said it “is not the final result.”  [I guess there are Synods and then there are Synods.]

In 1993, as Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Kasper released a pastoral letter along with Karl Lehman, then-Bishop of Mainz that allowed divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion after “serious examination” of their conscience. [And the CDF shot that down right away.]

There’s a lot more to say, but that’s enough for now.

Bottom line: Keep your eyes open and your ears tuned to the problem of the Synod of the Synod v. the Synod of the Media.

Please share!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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36 Responses to As The Synod Turns

  1. PA mom says:

    With all of the trouble within the sacrament of Matrimony, it is inconceivable that the first point raised by a married couple should be that of advocating rights for homosexuals or any other group.

  2. SaintJude6 says:

    Oh, how I miss Papa Benedict.

  3. McCall1981 says:

    Yes, we have known for quite a while that Card Marx supports Card Kasper, Crux is trying to present as “picking up support” to advance their agenda.
    On a positive note, Card Vingt-Trois (Archbp of Paris) said that he does not support Kasper, and this actually is “picking up support” because he hadn’t revealed his opinion before.

  4. Sonshine135 says:

    Yes. Strange information coming out of the Synod, but interesting news on Lifesite about a request to drop words like “disordered”, “living in sin”, and “contraceptive mentality” from the Catechism. If this is the case, and I take all of this with a grain of salt, it is an attempt by someone (we won’t know who) to soften the church’s language and thus its stance towards those in irregular relationships. If any of this is true, which I don’t doubt, their is a concerted effort at delivering some really soft-serve Catholicism.

  5. HeatherPA says:

    Wow. I guess I have missed the vast reporting that Card. Kaspar is in support of the tax and of not giving sacraments to those who eschew the tax (sarcasm).
    So it appears this is all mainly motivated by money. What a big surprise.
    I enjoyed the letter to the editor written by Fr. Coveney. I hope the US print picks it up.
    I am NOT surprised that Kaspar disdained the theology of our dear Holy Father Benedict XVI.
    And how illuminating to see that tax revenues and monies received are much more important than what The Lord said about marriage to these priests. God have mercy.

  6. Cesare says:

    I certainly understand the need to be wary of various media outlets reporting on the synod. Unfortunately, the official dispatches coming from the Vatican Information Service on the synod discussions are in and of themselves greatly disturbing. I find it hard to imagine any Catholic who takes their faith seriously would not find them so.

  7. Martlet says:

    Oh, Heather – I live in Germany but fortunately attend Mass at a US military base, but I have friends who tell me they cannot register because they literally never have a euro left over at the end of each month. And the German church tax isn’t a proportion of your taxable income, but is an additional 8-9% on top of normal taxes. Don’t know if you heard of the “Bishop of Bling,” over in the Limburg diocese, with his $43 million renovations to his residence, which included a $20,000 bathtub (I don’t know how a tub can cost that much, but still), and don’t know if you are aware, but the Cologne diocese is reputed to have a wealth that at least equals that of the Vatican. Maybe it is something to do with all this money/taxes that people are actually leaving?

  8. excalibur says:

    Anyone doubt that Cdl. Kasper is a dyed-in-the-wool leftist, these remarks are typical of the left and how they work.

    [i] In 2005, Cardinal Kasper refused to accept the decision of a synod of bishops on the question,
    saying “It is a question that exists, and we have to reflect on it in order to be able to respond…Every bishop in every Western country recognizes that this is a grave problem.”

    Of the Synod’s conclusion that the practice of withholding Communion could not be changed, Kasper said it “is not the final result.” [/i]

    That is proof enough of his far leftist bent. Only and until they get what they want they never give up, and afterwards? No more discussion, ever.

  9. Martlet says:

    I agree, Cesare. I was hoping to come here and find some consolation from Fr. Z, telling us that the English interventions in no way reflect those of the rest of the Church. Alas, no. Instead, I hear that we have to change our language, some stuff about stepping stones and a lot of waffle about pastoral practice. The only hopeful thing I heard was about better marriage prep., in one case along the lines of preparing catechumens, but then there was something about using art and music to teach people and I think my eyes glazed over.

  10. excalibur says:

    Dear Father Z, an edit button would be nice.

    [Think before posting! o{]:¬) ]

  11. Peggy R says:

    Bingo! I realized too this is all about the German bishops seeking to reclaim their church tax in Germany. Surely there are other ways than throwing the teaching of Jesus under the bus.

    Also, Fr Z, it just hit me there is an old song by the 52s (that’s “B-52s” to the rest of you) called “Channel Z.” Great tune. Theme song for your blog?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB4G9WBYMFo

  12. teejay329 says:

    Fr. Z…
    So worried and praying constantly for the Bishops attending the Synod. Homily this morning was all about how glorious and fluffy the Synod is and how unicorns and rainbows are seen over the skies of Rome…right. Was a hard one to stomach.
    Had come across the “CRUX” but got a weird feeling as I was reading some articles. As some readers here say, it didn’t pass the smell test, at least for me.
    Will we find ourselves splitting in two over these issues? Will be become like the Anglicans? I miss Papa Benedict too.

  13. teejay329 says:

    Fr. Z…
    So worried and praying constantly for the Bishops attending the Synod. Homily this morning was all about how glorious and fluffy the Synod is and how unicorns and rainbows are seen over the skies of Rome…right. Was a hard one to stomach.
    Had come across the “CRUX” but got a weird feeling as I was reading some articles. As some readers here say, it didn’t pass the smell test, at least for me.
    Will we find ourselves splitting in two over these issues? Will we become like the Anglicans? I miss Papa Benedict too.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Martlet,

    Not to defend the project, but the Limburg construction was not just a residence. It was a diocesan center with offices, sisters’ residences, conference rooms, museum, etc.

  15. KG says:

    I was shocked that this was news to Allen. There have been numerous reports over the last several months that Marx was friendly to the Kasper position. I believe Marx gave a statement to the press during or following a meeting of the German bishops last March in which his position was already clear.

  16. HeatherPA says:

    I guess the “Thesis of Mercy” does not trump the “Thesis of Money”.

    As exhibited by Cardinal Kaspar’s stunningly unChristlike behavior, people offending God by receiving Communion unworthily are allowed to be shown mercy and receive the Sacraments, not the poor who cannot afford the financial burden of additional taxes.

  17. Martlet says:

    Rob – I know what it was. I live not far from there. I also heard the outrage among German Catholics, especially as Limburg had implemented so-called austerity measures. If you read German, this might interest you:

    http://www.dbk.de/fileadmin/redaktion/diverse_downloads/presse_2014/2014-050b-Abschlussbericht-Limburg.pdf

  18. Rachel K says:

    Am I being a bit slow here? If the divorced and remarried are permitted to communion, then is that what the German bishops want, thinking that their revenue will increase by these people putting money in the coffers again? No-one should be paying a Church “tax” anywhere! Not one which is enforced anyway, but we are obliged to support up our pastors and church buildings, that is a law of the Church.
    I am a bit baffled by the comments about Pope Francis in relation to this article. We have no idea what he thinks at all except that he is bound to uphold the Doctrine of the Faith, which is that those in a state of mortal sin cannot receive communion.
    I can’t see any mention of his views or comments in the article.
    Cardinal Kasper can express his “opinions” but they do not hold water. And of course there will be a few who will follow and support him.
    “It is hard to scrape up any feelings of charity for Pope Francis or any who would endanger souls”
    First, StJude6, don’t conflate the two of these!
    Next, try harder to scrape up some feelings of charity! Or better still, start with an intellectual commitment to having charity and the feelings will follow.

  19. WesleyD says:

    PA Mom wrote:

    With all of the trouble within the sacrament of Matrimony, it is inconceivable that the first point raised by a married couple should be that of advocating rights for homosexuals or any other group.

    And it wasn’t. The first couple to speak offered praise for Humanae Vitae and pleaded with the bishops to explain Church teaching more clearly to Catholic couples, especially because many Catholics find it hard to read Church documents and need someone to explain it to them. Toward the end of their long speech, they mentioned some other issues, including the issue of whether to invite one’s gay children to Christmas. (They never mentioned anything about “integrating gay couples into parishes” or anything like that.) Read it for yourself (scroll down for the English version)… and discover just how different what they said was from what the media claimed they said.

  20. Martlet says:

    Heather – I feel really strongly about it, as you can probably tell. I cannot speak to Kasper’s motives, but most Americans can understand that if you are at the bottom end of the tax scale, having to pay an additional almost tenth of your taxable income is enough to cause hardship. Also, the notion of having to register your religion with the state is anathema to me – and especially when not doing so means the Church might deny you the Sacraments. Some of my ancestors only survived by NOT announcing their faith to anyone, let alone to England’s Protestant government, and you never know when the next persecution will come. And no, I am not paranoid. Just realistic.

  21. incredulous says:

    The Church Tax came out of the Weimar Republic.

    From wikipedia:
    “About 70% of church revenues come from church tax. This is about €9.2 billion (in 2010).
    Article 137 of the Weimar Constitution of 1919 and article 140 of the German Basic Law of 1949 are the legal basis for this practice.”

    I have no historical basis for where the Catholic Church was during the rise of Hitler, but one can assume in addition to being persucuted, the distribution of the Church Tax was probably used as a weapon to hold the Catholic Church in line.

    Nothing good came out of Weimer. Is the entire Catholic Church going to be defiled by this Weimar tax and Weimar philosophy of progressivism by Kasper?

    Thank goodness for the internet as this is no longer the stuff of smoky back rooms and we all know up front we are being attacked and by whom. It’s always the same pro sodomites, liberals and progressives doing it, too… Whether it’s church politics or secular politics. They are all the same and the tactics are always the same.

  22. CrimsonCatholic says:

    I think many here have missed Father’s point and bought into the “Synod of the media.”

    Cardinal Kasper’s remarks are wrong, against Church teaching, etc. So are many of the comments here just as bad as his, like “I don’t love the Pope”, “I want the Pope gone”, and “I hope for schism”. Instead of using despairing, we should be praying for the Bishops and the Pope.

  23. greg3064 says:

    To their credit, CRUX has an op-ed piece by Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press which is worth a moment or two. He explodes the canard that conservatives are against change and he clearly states that we have to embrace also the hard sayings of the Lord, the difficult teachings. ”Pastoral” doesn’t mean selling out.

    Too true. The irony here is that people speak of the need for the Gospel to “challenge” us today, and… here it is. You have Kasper saying, “Adultery? Oh it can’t be that.”

  24. Charles E Flynn says:

    Here is an eye-opener, linked from Mark Shea’s blog:

    Kasper, German Bishops, and the Church Tax, by Amy Welborn.

  25. Gail F says:

    Wait’ll you hear this one: Last night, the local Fox news affiliate here (Cincinnati) said Pope Francis told bishops to speak their minds about divorce, gay marriage, and abortion at the “HISTORIC SEX CONFERENCE AT THE VATICAN.” Yes, those exact words.

  26. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Perhaps the German bishops should see church tax from the layman’s point of view. An additional personal tax, a juicy 8% or 9% of gross income, is often the last straw for many less well-off employees, in a country with historically high levels of basic income tax squeezing living costs.

    The basis of Kirchensteuer is intrusive and coercive – the state allows the churches to examine the tax details of all citizens who declare a confessional allegiance, and transfers their church tax to the ecclesiastical coffers (Catholic or Lutheran) unless the citizen formally abandons the Church.

    As happens elsewhere, the bishops and priests could manage their diocesan income by encouraging personal giving (in the offertory plate and with pledged, tax-aided weekly donations), also using bequests, endowments, appeals etc. Elaborate local structures would be slimmed down – to great advantage in many cases.

    Surely the point of personal giving is that it should be a gift freely given *personally* to God, not an automatic and inflexibly-calculated penalty, coldly abstracted before the employee has even handled it, and transferred to the local diocese by the state. With the change from an enforced redistribution to a personal giving, everyone has the discretionary right to consider how much they can truly afford. The giver is then more directly confronted by the call of charity, so it becomes much more of a conscious decision, and one of conscience.

  27. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Fr. Z quoted, and wrote:

    In 1993, as Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Kasper released a pastoral letter along with Karl Lehman, then-Bishop of Mainz that allowed divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion after “serious examination” of their conscience. [And the CDF shot that down right away.]

    The consistent lightning response of Rome (in the past) to suggestions of Communion for the divorced-and-remarried makes Rome’s nearly non-existent response to the near-universal practice of Communion for pro-aborts all the more scandalous. Hundreds of photographs of pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion have been sent to Rome. Dozens of theologically and canonically despicable statements on the subject have been made by Cardinals Wuerl, Dolan, O’Malley, and many others. Rome has yawned. After the American bishops approved a policy in 2004 that flew in the face of Pope Benedict’s letter to the bishops (the one that Cardinal McCarrick concealed, and lied about) Rome declared that “Catholics in Public Life” was consistent with what the Pope had said!

  28. HeatherPA says:

    Isn’t this tantamount to selling the Sacraments?
    I don’t really care about the non-Catholic Churches that benefit from the tax and ban people from things internal to their religious belief for leaving due to the tax… we are talking about the Catholic Church refusing the sacraments unless they are paid for them in Germany. This is a huge scandal.
    Aren’t all Catholics guaranteed the right to the Sacraments, regardless of how much they tithe?
    How in the world is this allowed by the Vatican???

  29. Landless Laborer says:

    The synod could actually help families by exposing to the world what the German Catholic Church is doing to its poor flock. And I’m sick of all this hand-wringing over sexual rights when Catholics are being tortured and murdered for their faith on the poor side of the world.

  30. Aegidius says:

    Dear Martlet, I, too, live in Germany (Bavaria) and am aware of the circumstances of the Limburg desaster. And I pity the poor bishop who has made personal failures, mainly in communicating and leadership. He held the position as “family bishop” within the German episcopal conference and got in the way of the progressists because he tried to reinstall church teaching and discipline in his diocese. He faced rigid opposition from the leftist church personnel and media who had been fed by his predecessors, bishops Kempf and Kamphaus, the very bishop who openly refused to comply with St. John Paul’s decree to leave the German system of pre-abortion counselling, by law required to commit legal abortion. You are not being fair with poor Tebartz van Elst, and I think he has suffered enough hatred, disinformation and contempt from his clerical brothers. Concerning the bathtub myth, the 20.000 € was the bathroom in total, the bathtub alone was something about 3-5000€. Just to get the dimensions right.
    For me as a German, trying to be faithful to Christ and the church, and still loving my own country, it is hard to have to do with bishops and priests of the Kasper, Marx, Zollitsch (and Luther, Rahner) etc. kind. However, looking upon us from the outside, please do not forget that there is still a considerable list of holy men, such as recently deceased Card. Scheffzcyk, and Card. Cordes, Card. Meisner, Bishop Hanke, Bishop Oster, Msgr. Imkamp, and so many more, crowned by the best jewel Germany could give to us all, our papa emeritus, Benedict The Beloved. Well, Bavarian rather than German.
    I agree, though, that Germany will hardly be a help to the salvation of the church in the future. As is the case in many other, worldly, matters, much will depend on the thriving leadership of the United States. A good priest told me so more than 15 years ago, and I refused to believe then. Now I know.

  31. Martin_B says:

    The german concept of “church-tax” is often misunderstood.
    Perhaps some points to clarify the situation:
    1.) The idea ist rooted in the time after the napoleonic wars, when much church-property was taken over by german states to compensated for losses during and after these wars. But by this these states also took over responsibility for the funding of the church.
    This responsibility was then later moved to the “church-members” themselves by inventing the church-tax.
    2.) Church-tax is granted to all denomitations that are recognized as public bodies, such as the catholic church, the various protestant churches, the old catholic church and in a similar way jewish communities.
    3.) The church-tax today is a fixed percentage (8 to 9%) of the income-tax.
    The exact regulations vary from state to state and from denomination to denomination.
    4.) The tax is owned by the church and only collected by the civil authorities to make the collection easier for the church. For this service the state retains about 3% of the tax.
    This also means, that the church does not obtain specific knowledge about the taxation details of the individual person.
    5.) All members of a church are bound by law to pay this tax.
    Therefor each church reports actions like baptisms or conversions to the civil authorities to record the beginning of the “membership”.
    Other than by death, you can only end your official membership by having your disaffiliation officialy recorded with the civil authorities.
    6.) Such action, if upheld after inquiry by the local pastor, is viewedd by the german bishops as similar to apostosy or shism and consequently sanctioned by excommunication.
    7.) The situation in austria and switzerland is similar.

    All in all the idea of a church-tax, as alien as it may sound espeacily to american readers, isn’t as bad as it may seem. It ensures the continuing support of the church by deviding the financial burdens on all the faithful according to their financial abilities.
    But, as is so often the case, the problems arise from the details, espeacily if someone disagrees with the way the money is spend by his bishop and therefor doesn’t want to pay this tax because of his conscience.

    A last word about limburg and cologne. While the money from the church-tax is mainly used for anual expanses, most dioceses also have a second fund of property under the control of the ordinary. The assumed wealth of cologne is because of these funds and the millions in limburg were payed from these funds while the “austerity measures” were imposed because of the lack of annual income from the church-tax.

  32. Martlet says:

    Vecchio di Londra – Well said. Giving should indeed be a personal choice, otherwise it is not actually giving. Taxes are not a donation out of charity or goodwill. Of course we should support our pastors and bishops.

    Heather – I agree with you that this is tantamount to selling Sacraments. What the Church in Germany would say is that a refusal to declare your Catholicism is tantamount to abandoning the faith, but of course it is not. As with my friends, it is sometimes a realisation that one simply cannot afford to pay an additional eight or nine percent of income and raise their children. They meant it when they said they hardly have a single euro left over at the end of each month. I also remember a good friend, many years ago, opening a bill and smiling at me. His wife and son were Catholic, and he said “You see, it costs more to be a Catholic than a Protestant.” It was 1% more.

    Aegidius – I am aware of what good Bishop Tebartz van Elst has done and in no way do I imagine Germany to be devoid of good and holy priests and bishops, but to spend on such luxury is scandalous, especially when parishioners are penalised for being unwilling or unable to pay for that level of luxury. Even a 5000€ (over $6,000) bathtub hardly makes him smell like the sheep. Not even like the shepherd. More like the wealthy land-owner. And 18,000€ for a cable for an Advent wreath? 790,000€ for his private Mariengarten? I’m sorry, but I just cannot accept the necessity of spending that sort of money on luxuries his flock will never glimpse.

    And finally, MartinB – Yes, it is as bad as it seems. It makes churchgoers the highest taxed people in Germany, and to see those who refuse to register their affiliation as schismatic is just plain cruel. As for Austria and Switzerland, not quite the same. In Switzerland, I believe the rate is no more than 2.3% – and in Austria it is 1.1%. Please explain why the Church in Germany needs to tax people a whopping 9%. Could it not possibly be that if the Church tax were to be abolished, people might actually give more in the collection plate, as they do in other countries?

  33. Landless Laborer says:

    I agree with Marlet, this is a repulsive practice. There might indeed have been some war-time justification, but even so, this practice is now similar to the Mormon Church, and any Protestant church uses the old Jewish tythe system, which even Israel does not use today (my first question on the tour bus).
    For many centuries children were a financial asset, an addition pair of hands from a young age. Now children are a financial burden for the first 18 years or more, and for a young family to be required to give 8-9% of its income to baptize them is part of what needs to be fixed at this synod. Let the German Church stand on her own feet, like the rest of the world. Feed the sheep, and the sheep will support their shepherds. I thought the US Catholic Church had sunken to an all time low, but I see she can still sink much deeper.

  34. Martin_B says:

    @Marlet and Landless Laborer:
    It’s not 8-9% of the income, but of the income-tax.

    Which means that when you have about 50.000€ anual income, you pay an estimated 16% income-tax (when you have children you pay at bit less for example) an thereby the church-tax is between 1.3 and 1.4 % of your income (640 to 720€ p.a.).
    A national study in the US from 2003 showed catholics giving about 1.2% of their income. So the amount is about the same.

    This is just to clarify the amount of money we are talking about.
    I agree with you to the point that all other points remain questionable at best.

  35. St Donatus says:

    I am so glad that FINALLY the church is listening to us instead that ‘God’ guy. Come on, didn’t they know that we are a ‘Religion of the people, by the people, and for the people’. Oh, wait a minute, I guess that was a different institution.

    Anyways, it is well known that people know what is best for them, just look at Germany during WWII, didn’t they have it all figured out, and Russian under Communism, oh and that French revolution thing where they killed all those people including priests and nuns, that was a smart thing too wasn’t it?

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