From a reader…
Dear Fr., in “Concerti nelle chiese” (1987) from the CDW, it says “si attenga, in ordine all’autorizzazione dei concerti, alle seguenti condizioni, che l’Ordinario del luogo potrà precisare: […] c) L’entrata nella chiesa dovrà essere libera e gratuita.”
The German Conference of Bishops has published the following document in 2005: HERE
In nr. 4.9 on page 43, they cite the direction from the CDW, but say that it only forbids entrance fees which aim at making a profit, thereby leaving room for fees which just cover the costs.
Can the Conference of Bishops decide that? Is it a legitimate form of “precisare” the condition from the CDW? Or are they not bound to “Concerti nelle chiese” at all, because it is just a Declaratio which is neither from the Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts nor has been approved in forma specifica by the Holy Father?
The document says don’t charge. The German bishop charge anyway? Imagine my shock!
If the obligatory pay-to-pray Kirchensteuer is in force, then why not pay-to-hear in church, too? In 2012 the Church in Germany only gained some $7 billion.
The CDW decree was not signed in forma specifica, so it remains a document of the CDW merely. However, it deals with something that pertains to the competence of the CDW, and so has that authority. For the bishops conference to prescind from it, they would need permission from the Congregation or the Holy Father.
It seem that the German bishops are not specifically prescinding from the law, but rather interpreting it imaginatively to allow a fee to cover expenses. They may have a case. I think it’s tenuous. That said, the reality on the ground is that, during this pontificate, it’s unlikely that the German bishops will be corrected in any way.
Unless … perchance, the matter is presented to the German press in such a way that it sits up and pays attention. For example,
“German bishops prevent poor from attending concerts”