Card. Cordes tackles hard the German Bishops Conference

From CNA:

German prelate breaks rank with Cardinal Marx, insists on fidelity to Rome

Munich, Germany, Mar 24, 2015 / 02:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A German cardinal has publicly opposed the words of two other German bishops who have suggested that the nation’s Church can form its own policies without direction from Rome.

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes published a letter earlier this month objecting to the pronouncements of prominent leaders of the Church in Germany that the nation’s bishops’ conference will pursue its own program of pastoral care for marriages and family regardless of the outcome of October’s Synod on the Family.  [The sheer arrogance.  This is the fruit of a couple generations of priests raised up under the theology of Rahner and the like.]

At a Feb. 25 press conference following the German bishops’ plenary assembly, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, who is president of the conference, stated, “We are not a branch of Rome. Each conference of bishops is responsible for pastoral care in its cultural context and must preach the Gospel in its own, original way. We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and family here.” [And, frankly, Synods can’t tell bishops to do boo.]

Cardinal Marx, whom the German bishops have chosen as one of their three delegates at the upcoming Synod on the Family, added that there are “certain expectations” of Germany in helping the Church to open doors and “go down new paths,” and that “in doctrine, we also learn from life.”

He was echoed by Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck – a fellow synod delegate – who called the Synod on the Family a “historically important” moment and a “paradigm shift,”urging that “the reality of men and the world” be a source for theological understanding.  [i.e., doctrine shifts with the changing times]

Cardinal Cordes – who was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Paderborn and is president emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum – published a strenuous objection to the media statements of his fellow German bishops in the form of a March 7 letter to the editor of Die Tagespost, a prominent German language Catholic newspaper. The text of the original letter was translated to English by CNA’s Jan Bentz.

“Since the words of the highest representative of Catholics in Germany have a guideline-like character, and create substantial waves in the media, it makes sense to object publicly to some of the utterances, in order to limit the confusion which they have caused,” Cardinal Cordes wrote.

The cardinal noted that the February press conference was focused on the Synod on the Family, and on particular of the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper – another German – to admit some among the divorced and civilly remarried to Communion.

“The problem was addressed with the beautiful words of ‘new solutions’ and ‘opening doors’,” Cardinal Cordes wrote.

He responded to Cardinal Marx’ characterization of the Church in Germany as an exemplar by saying that “if he wanted to express that Germany is example in leading the faithful to a giving oneself up to Christ, then I think the bishop is fooled by wishful thinking. The existing German ecclesial apparatus is completely unfit to work against growing secularism.”  [whew!]

“It was not without reason,” Cardinal Cordes wrote, that Benedict XVI strongly urged the Church in Germany to become less worldly during his 2011 visit there. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

“In themes of faith, realism counts above all,” the cardinal reflected. “Therefore one has to consider the facts.” He noted that a recent survey shows that among Catholics in western Germany, only 16 percent believe God to be personal: “all other Catholics see in God a faceless providence, an anonymous fate along the lines of a primordial power. Or they simply deny his existence flat out. What do they think of when they pray the Our Father? So there is no reason to pride ourselves on our faith if we stand in comparison to other countries.”

Cardinal Cordes then commented on Cardinal Marx’ ecclesiological statements, saying his “theological blurriness makes you wonder,” adding that statements like “we are not a branch of Rome” are more suited “to the counter of a bar.” [whoa!]

[…]

You don’t want to miss the rest of that one.

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17 Responses to Card. Cordes tackles hard the German Bishops Conference

  1. Robert of Rome says:

    You hear an Amen!

  2. JonPatrick says:

    If Cardinal Marx and the other bishops in Germany feel “they are not a branch of Rome” and they “need to preach the Gospel in their own way” there is already an ecclesiastical body in Germany dedicated to those principles – it is called the Lutheran Church.

  3. Kerry says:

    The “reality of men and the world” screams cleave to tradition, the Church and Christ.

  4. DonL says:

    [i.e., doctrine shifts with the changing times]

    My, my, how identical this all sounds like the Marxist left’s interpretation of the standarfd for US governance called the constitution. They so prefer to mislabel it “a living documents” sort of a malleable sola scriptura of laws.

  5. JesusFreak84 says:

    Yay, finally a reason to be proud of being German again =-p

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Cardinal Cordes ends by pointing out strongly that the faithful who have done the right thing by staying married, or by not marrying again despite separation and divorce, also have a right to spiritual support by the bishops.

    I know some commenters here are in that situation, so take heart!

  7. Robbie says:

    I read not too long along ago that Pope Benedict nearly chose Archbishop Ganswein for Munich and Freising. Too bad he didn’t.

  8. crickally says:

    If Cardinal Marx’s statement isn’t a declaration of schism, I don’t know what it would take to create a schism.

  9. Priam1184 says:

    The Church in Germany, and by that I mean the institutional hierarchy in that country, will not become less worldly until the church tax disappears.

    Maybe these guys will wise up and stop doing their best to annoy the Almighty when Russian troops are marching the Kurfurstenstrasse again. But with them who knows?

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    Sometime after his election I read a comment regarding Pope Francis to the effect that “…his is the fist in the velvet glove, one only wonders who will get the back of the hand.” It appears clear that the Teutonic school of theology will avoid the just consequences of its hubris, and only those who respectfully hold Peter to his task will know well the back of the hand. What in the past two years would make one doubt that? Instead of a feigned agony over adults who have lived themselves into moral conundrums (often with a wink and a nod from pastors), maybe it is time to take a more comprehensive approach to “only 16% of German Catholics believe in a personal God.” What does that say about their understanding of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the nature of the sacraments? It is not significantly different in the rest of the West where catechesis was abandoned in the mid-sixties. Do our priests believe? Do our religious believe? Do our bishops believe? If they do, then abandon pious saccharine sentimentalities, or equally deficient inflated cerebral notions theological reflection, and teach the faith as contained in Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium. Convey the faith with confidence. Assume the mantle of personnel accountability and model to the laity how to carry the cross of everyday existence. Stop apologizing. Cease the pandering, patronizing cocheey-coo paternalism and build a responsible adult Christian ethos upon which the wider culture can find its support. Praise God for the clear-sighted fortitude, for the holiness and wisdom of such men in the episcopate such as Cardinals Corde, Burke, the lion-hearted Archbishop Cordileone, and their confreres.

  11. albizzi says:

    Am I mistaken? Is pride, that of Card Marx and that of Luther a main feature of the german catholic faithfuls?

  12. Imrahil says:

    We are not a branch of Rome. Each conference of bishops is responsible for pastoral care in its cultural context and must preach the Gospel in its own, original way.

    No, no, and, did I mention: no.

    Pondering, as is my pleasure, upon the abstract things, I totally leave out the question under discussion and say that, yes there is some actual sense that might perhaps be expressed in the line “we are not a branch of Rome”.

    But the legitimate local character of the local Church is entirely restricted to the particular diocese, and perhaps, to some extent, the metropolitate and to an even lesser extent the honorary primatiate (vested in this case into Salisburgh in Austria).

    The episcopal conference, on the other hand, is nothing but a pious union (hopefully a pious one; to borrow that expression from the old law) of equals. All the Conference by its own nature can do is shake hands in friendship (something, of course, rather valueable in itself). Also, the Pope has seen fit, as witnessed by present Church law, to delegate, by force of his ultimate primacy, some (precisely described and limited) legislatory power to it. And that’s it.

    So, whatever to be said about local Churches – the Episcopal Conference, whenever it comes to pursuing policies, deciding things and the like, is precisely a branch of Rome.

  13. Imrahil says:

    a note on the expression “counter of the bar”: good translation if it represents what I think it does (viz., Stammtisch). However, the Stammtisch is not precisely the counter of the bar, but literally, the “regulars’ table”, often (at least traditionally) partially reserved for notables (but of course notables on village scale). Idiomatically, it means a certain sort of rhetorics which is intellectually unchallenging; a dumbing-down sort of “talking politics”.

  14. jacobi says:

    “nation’s bishops’ conference will pursue its own program of pastoral care for marriages and family regardless of the outcome of October’s Synod on the Family.”

    Well of course it can. Just as happened at the last Reformation . But let’s be clear. That would be another Reformation. These bishops and any clergy or laity who followed them would no longer be Catholics.

    And of course there will be Germans, probably a minority, bishops clergy and laity who will remain loyal to the Catholic Church, just as at the last Reformation.

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Imrahil,

    Do you have any hints as to how to see the original of Cardinal Cordes letter to the editor? My (probably unhandy!) efforts of searching at the website of Die Tagespost have been without success.

    And do you happen to know anything about his source(s) for the astonishing and deeply saddening note “that a recent survey shows that among Catholics in western Germany, only 16 percent believe God to be personal: “all other Catholics see in God a faceless providence, an anonymous fate along the lines of a primordial power. Or they simply deny his existence flat out”? (I’m afraid one of the things that springs to mind with “a faceless providence, an anonymous fate along the lines of a primordial power” is Mein Kampf!)

    Might ‘Stammtisch’ (if that is wht it is) be an allusion to the bishops discussing things in Hildesheimer cafés as reported on the diocesan website on 22 February – or, conversely, would that be in any case an example of a ‘Stammtisch’ level of/exercise in discourse?

  16. Pingback: Synod 2015: Cardinal Kasper, Germans & Cardinal Nichols - BigPulpit.com

  17. carl b says:

    Imrahil,
    Stammtisch is indeed the original German.

    Venerator,
    I have a pdf of the original, I just don’t know how to get it to you :/