Run, don’t walk, to Crisis to see Fr. George Rutler’s latest. HERE.
The German bishops, theologians and Card. Kasper are front and center.
Here are some of my favorite moments…
The social consequences of German idealism were hymned in the refrain “Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen” (“The German spirit shall heal the world”) and it stained the twentieth century with its bitter irony. By 1912, eugenic theory banned interracial marriage in German colonies. When French occupation forces included African troops after World War I, mulatto progeny were called “Rhineland bastards” and in Mein Kampf, Hitler disdained them as a contamination of the white race plotted by Jews and “negrified” Frenchmen. In 1937, Hitler approved “the discrete sterilization of the Rhineland bastards” by a special Gestapo commission.
While one would not impute such crassness to contemporary intellectuals, mauled as they have been by history yet oblivious to their wounds, [Quod Deus averruncet!] a remnant bias seems irrepressible. During last year’s Synod on the Family, Cardinal Walter Kasper expressed frustration with African bishops for opposing more conciliatory attitudes toward homosexuality that he called their “taboo” and said that Africans “should not tell us too much what we have to do.” Cardinal Kasper denied having said this, and managed an awkward apology when a recording of what he said was presented as evidence. The cardinal’s remarks echoed the poorly tutored John Shelby Spong of the Episcopal Church who said of Africans in 1998: “They’ve moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They’ve yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we’ve had to face in the developing world: that is just not on their radar screen.”
It’s the reference to Spong that makes that a gem.
After the close of the Synod, the official website of the German bishop’s conference said that the exponential growth of the “romantic, poor Church” in Africa is due to the lamentable fact that “the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions.” And lest anyone think that the “Dark Continent” is a phrase remaindered to the dustbin of history, the website added that in Africa “the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.” If this reeks of “the white man’s burden,” let it be noted that Rudyard Kipling actually coined that phrase, not in reference to Africa but to the Philippines during the Spanish American War, and would have been appalled by the German “Uberlegenheitskomplex”—superiority complex.
That complex is redolent of the disdain shown toward the early Christians by Pliny the Younger, Lucian of Samosata, and Celsus who, like the writer for the German bishops, Bjorn Odendahl, [ROFL!] regretted with imperious loftiness the rusticity, superstition, and poverty of the followers of the Christus. One does not know what Herr Odendahl is paid for writing such prodigious infelicity, but given the wealth of the German Church, he is not on an African pay scale. The German Church is the wealthiest per capita in the world, and the second biggest employer in their country. The German Catholic leaders, for all their claims to social progressivism, are in the pay of the government through tax subsidies, by which arrangement German priests are paid much more than their counterparts in the United States while their bishops are paid upwards of $189,000 a year plus benefits.
First, Spong and now Pliny.
And the coup de grâce from the tag-team of Stark and Péguy …
German professor Thomas Heinrich Stark has quoted the aforementioned Péguy with reference to Cardinal Kasper: “Modernists are people who do not believe what they believe.” Surely in charity one would hope that reality might temper the German idealists, perhaps aided by light from the Dark Continent.
By the way, Stark’s piece in Catholic World Report, though hard, should be your constant reference point when considering the antics of the Germans.
Finally… don’t forget The Ten Africans Book™.
Ten African cardinals and bishops wrote essays about the attitudes of Africans about marriage and the family. The indomitable Francis Card. Arinze wrote the preface.
Among the cardinals and bishops are