Will German bishops defy Rome, ignore teaching on indissolubility of marriage?

Iran, and other countries, are more than likely emboldened by the Obama-inflicted weakness of these USA. They will be flexing their muscles, sure that the President won’t do anything.

In Germany, and probably other places, some bishops, emboldened by a new Pope’s new style, will be flexing their muscles, guessing that the Pope won’t do anything to them.

Here is an interesting way to engage in the New Evangelization.

From CWN:

A German bishop has said that the country’s episcopal conference will move forward with plans to allow Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, despite clear disapproval from the Vatican.

Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Stuttgart told a lay group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, that the German bishops have already drafted new guidelines for the reception of Communion by divorced/remarried Catholics, and hope to vote their approval to those new rules in March 2014. Bishop Fürst said that the German hierarchy is responding to demands from the faithful. “Expectations are great, and impatience and anger are greater still,” he said. [I wonder if they think they will get a recognition from the Holy See?  I doubt it.  The wealthy German bishops (remember the Church Tax) might threaten to cut funds to the Holy See, but I think they still will not get the recognition.]

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has instructed officials of the Freiburg archdiocese that they should retract a proposed policy that would allow divorced/remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist. That policy, Archbishop Müller said, “would cause confusion among the faithful about the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

A number of German bishops have pressed for change in the Church’s practice that bars Catholics who have divorced and remarried from receiving the Eucharist. (The only exceptions are for Catholics whose early marriages are annulled, or those who pledge to live with their new partners as “brother and sister.”) Pope Francis has suggested that the question should be addressed by the Synod of Bishops, which will meet in October 2014.

So much the Year of Faith!

here will be a big push for this during the Synod.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Francis, Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, The Coming Storm, The Drill and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gratias says:

    The Year of Faith was allowed to fizzle out. A great opportunity was lost. I miss B16.

    Thank you Father Z for this forum. May you be richly rewarded.

  2. Priam1184 says:

    Francis is not Obama; and he is certainly not that dope (that is the most charitable word I could come up with) John Kerry. If the German bishops want to be servants of the State because the State pays them better, then they should serve the State. If they want to serve God then they know his address. Render unto Caesar…

  3. Hank Igitur says:

    Hopefully this time the Rhine will flow into the sewer, where it belongs, and not the Tiber!

  4. CharlesG says:

    Is there something Lutheran in the water there? The German bishops are also in revolt over Liturgiam Authenticam and the accuracy of liturgical translations (and the pro multis translation ruling specifically), having indefinitely tabled the new translation of the mass that was being worked on. It remains to be seen what approach Pope Francis will take to the ongoing work of correcting various liturgical translations around the world in accordance with LA. So far so good, but if a new prefect is put in at CDWDS, who knows what will happen?

  5. DaveH says:

    Well then, what will Rome do now? Will the dichotomy be to now treat this diocese like they do the SSPX and apply everything verbal and authoritative to denounce them as being “outside of communion” – or – will there be silence denoting tacit approval of their actions like is found with openly obstinate Catholic politicians who publicly promote abortion, contraception and gay marriage and still be considered “in communion” ?

    No wonder there is so much confusion, frustration and discouragement. What has happened to Objective Truth?

  6. Menagerie says:

    We do not need priests, bishops, and the Vatican to overlook sin, pat us on the head, and fail to teach and preach the truth. Most of us are battling with our conscience already and we look to the Church as the one bastion of truth standing against sin left to us. Our politicians are fallen, other churches hold no authoritative moral ground. When we are mired in the confusion of sin and temptation, as will happen, we must have the truth, not what we want to hear. For that, I could listen to all the rest of the world.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  7. rtjl says:

    I really have a hard time understanding why people like this, the German bishops, have such a hard time seeing that they are sawing off the limb they are sitting on when they take actions like this. Their very reason for existence is the exercise of legitimate authority but when they themselves reject the authority placed over them how do they expect their authority to be respected. Sure, many among the German people will start out saying “O look at our nice bishops standing up to the mean old Vatican and mercifully allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. Who is the Vatican to tell us we can’t do that.” But it won’t end there. Soon it will “who are you to tell us that we have to be married to receive communion?” and “who are you to tell me that I can’t have two or more wives?” and “who are you to tell me that I need to be a priest to celebrate Eucharist?” and “If you don’t have to listen to those who have authority over you, why do we have to listen to you?”. Having rejected authority themselves, the German bishops will have no defense against these questions.

  8. pmullane says:

    Hmmm, Im skeptical of the Reuters report (and I’ve yet to come across any other reporting, although in fairness I havent looked) regarding this supposed incident, however if true, it shows that the German Bishops may be very close to formal schism. It seems that malevolent forces are attempting to use the new Pope to ‘bump’ the Church into changing its teaching, much like it did with female altar boys. This time, of course, the stakes are much higher, as the indissolubility of Marriage is very much a fundamental Catholic belief. Indeed if you take the lord seriously when he says ‘What God has joined together let no man rent asunder’ then its difficult to see how one can allow people in irregular marital situations to receive communion without causing sacrilege, unless you overturn the whole Catholic teaching and understanding of the sacraments of both Marriage and the Eucharist.

    Interestingly, this attempt was not made during the end of John Paul II’s pontificate (was Razinger ‘minding the store’ as John Pauls health deteriorated?) not during Benedicts. Perhaps Benedict knew that an attempt to ‘bump’ this passed a new pope would be made, and that he could be a bulwark against it whilst alive, after his resignation? That is merely supposition on my part though.

    Funnily enough, in my limited knowledge, I would much prefer, especially as a German Bishop, to test the kindly teacher Benedict than the man of action Francis. I wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of him.

  9. chcrix says:

    Analogies are great.
    Bad analogies however merely divert attention and distract.
    I am the last person to say a good word about Mr. Obama.
    But if he avoids being drawn into another absurd war against the national interest it will be one of the few decent things to come from this administration.
    I could wish some of the conservative minded catholics would not have quite so much of a disconnect with the opinions of JPII and BXVI on certain contemporary events. It would pay to at least to consider their thoughts.

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    Whatever happened to:

    “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” ????

    I know the Bible is rich in different styles of writing, but there ARE some things in there that are meant to be taken literally and not nuanced, this being one of them.

    This is why we have the gift of The Magesterium. When we go off willy-nilly, interpreting things in the Bible the way we want them to mean – we leave the narrow road for the wide.

  11. Quanah says:

    Hahahaha. Well, if they really follow through with this they’ll find out just what kind of shepherd Francis is. My prediction? He’ll live up to his name sake who was tough as nails and could hit like a mace when he needed to. Hope I’m right.

  12. spesalvi23 says:

    Being German, I can tell you that this is standard behavior.
    If you haven’t noticed: Germans can do everything better, know everything better and will never believe anybody can teach them anything. It’s compulsory to constantly improve, streamline and rationalize everything. Dialogue is appreciated – but only if you agree to our pre-set results.
    With that, we will keep improving the planet in the most pro-active and efficient way!! *sarcasm off*
    B16 (as Pope) had a LOT of patience with his (backstabbing) brothers. On the other hand, Archbishop Müller is developing into the new Darth Vader of the Curia! Good Luck to him next to an all merciful Pope!

  13. Ann Roth says:

    pmullane, “malevolent forces” yes indeed. Diabolical even. According to Bishop Furst this is being driven by impatience and anger which is a clear sign that this is not of God. What is it with these people? They are completely driven by emotion. Do they not have a single rational thought in their head that can be articulated? Is there no truth and beauty in their world? It is all darkness around them, is it not?

  14. Fr AJ says:

    It’s probable that an outcome of the Synod will be to change the annulment process. Possibly do away with the canonical trail and eliminate annulments for Protestants.

  15. Lavrans says:

    If this teaching goes, the German church is finished. Catholic teaching on marriage cannot be more clear and has remained the same since Christ walked the shores of Galilee. To reject it is to fall into formal schism. What is sad is the fact that this will not be the first time Germans have arrogantly rejected Christ and His Church, but it is the first time it was led by successors of the Apostles and not some malcontent Augustinian friar.

    Farewell, German church. God help the survivors of the wreck.

  16. I see the spirit of ‘Non Serviam’ is alive and well in the cradle and origin of the protestant heresies.

  17. disco says:

    Sounds like its about time to place Germany under interdict. Enough is enough.

  18. Lavrans says:

    Further thought, this is the test of the Holy Father’s seeming-fascination with collegiality. He wants bishops and bishops conferences to have more control and power over local concerns, and the Germans claim that this is their local concern.

    Loose lips sink ships, and while our captain cannot sink the ship of St. Peter, he can ram it into things, cause damage, and tip vulnerable persons overboard. The Germans have been swinging along the railing for quite a while. We need a ships captain to chew them out and bring them back inside to safety, not steer the ship widely in the storm and run her aground.

    God is in charge, and I trust Him. But man, He must want this to be a rough ride. God help us.

  19. kpoterack says:

    Well, it looks like Pope Francis may have to have a “Humanae Vitae Moment” in which he will have to say “no” personally and publicly to the German bishops – and earn the contempt of the secular MSM which up to this point has loved him.

    According to Archbishop Mueller, Pope Francis was consulted about the lengthy article in the Vatican newspaper on remarried divorcees and communion.


    So, I am sure, he was also aware of the letter Archp. Mueller wrote telling them to change their proposed guidelines. ( The pope and the head of the CDF meet every week.) I don’t think, therefore, that the pope really favors any sort of significant change. And the German bishops’ intransigence may just force him to come down hard.

  20. An opportunity to see the Germans put in their place… I’m grabbing popcorn.

  21. Fr AJ says:

    I wonder how this new Exhortation from Pope Francis will effect this. He is calling for a decentralized Church with Bishop’s Conferences having doctrinal authority. Given some of these wacky Bishops, I find that scary.

  22. Pastor Bonus says:

    Am I the only one to sense a Humanae Vitae moment approaching for Pope Francis?

    In 1968 the panel of experts gathered and recommended that the Church alter her teaching on the morality of contraception. There was huge pressure on the Successor of Saint Peter both from within the Church and from the secular world, there expectation that the Pope would yield to this pressure to ‘move with the times.’ Pope Paul VI held fast and suffered for upholding orthodoxy when he published Humanae Vitae and suffered revolts from within the Church, including from clergy.

    Fast forward to to 2014. Replace Pope Paul with Pope Francis and contraception with Holy Communion for the divorced and re-married, replace the panel of ‘experts’ with people like these German Bishops and their allies in the press mixed with the mantra ‘move with the times for pastoral reasons and conscience.’ The pressure is now already building on Pope Francis to deliver some kind of modification of the Church’s teaching and practice here. The Pope needs our prayers to be courageous and our support.

    The Devil is at work here and the sanctity of marriage is his target. It is not surprising since marriage is so central to the life of the Church and such a source of grace. The Devil has already pushed false marriage in many countries, only the latest in a long line degrading God’s plan. Next he wants the Church herself to dilute the doctrine of marriage, undermine the teaching on indissolubility and the relationship with the Holy Eucharist.

    Mary Queen of families, pray for us and crush the head of Satan.

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  24. thomas tucker says:

    This reminds me of the SSM debate. WHat these people want is not the ability to receive communion even if they are divorced and remarried. They can already do that, and I am aware that thousands in that circumstance do so every week do. What they want is official approval of doing it!

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Arrogance from the intellectual left among our bishops and other Catholic leaders has led to a blindness concerning the beauty of Catholic teaching regarding marriage. Sometimes, I wonder is the hierarchy is actually pursuing holiness, instead of popularity.

    A long time ago, one of my theology teachers summed up the German situation like this: “The Protestant churches see what is and lower the bar of holiness; the Catholic Church sees what holiness could be in the world and makes the bar higher.”

  26. jacobi says:

    The German bishops do not have the authority to change Catholic doctrine.

    Those in a valid sacramental marriage who divorce and re-marry are committing adultery and are in a state of Mortal Sin, and cannot receive Holy Communion, CCC 1650, 2384. At present, some bishops may turn a blind eye to this, which does not, incidentally, cancel the Mortal Sin, but that is quite different from such bishops granting permission publicly.

    If they do then the bishops, and any who follow them, are guilty of heresy and are moving into a state of heretical schism.

  27. RJHighland says:

    Well the ball is in Rome’s Court if this article is true. Let us see how Rome handles it. We have bishops that are openly disobedient to a teaching of the Church and to the direction of the Roman Curia and the Pope himself. Let us see if Rome is as decisive against these bishops as they were to a French Bishop that was disobedient when Rome would not allow him to concecrate priests from inside his order to Bishops to protect the traditial teaching and worship of the faith. I would hope our Holy Father would excommunicate them at the least, a public defrocking would be better, considering this is a double wammy. Abp Lefebvre was diobedient but not unorthodox. Will there be a written agreement that is going to need to be signed for them to remain in regular communion? I pray his judgement is swift and catches these heretics and true schismatics in the Church completely off guard. Oh wait, who is he to judge? My prayers are with our Holy Father because the true modernist mutany is raising its schismatic head in the Bark of Peter. They feel the Pope is weak and a bit more understanding than Benedict XVI, let us pray they are very wrong, I think they are. If I were Pope, I would tell them they have 10 days to recant, repent, go to confession and then sign a letter of obedience to the Church or the world as you know it has just come to an abrupt end. If these demands are not met at the setting of the sun on the 10th day turn in you miter and staff before leaving the building and leave as you entered with nothing. Have a nice day your Loving Holy Father. This would send a very clear message to the modernists. Raise your head and I’m going to cut it off. It would be really nice to see him smack around the progressives for a bit. A real clear message would be excommunicate these folks and bring the SSPX into “regular” communion with no compromise on principles as a personal prelature . It would be akin to driving the spear through the heart of the dragon. The shock wave would be felt through-out the Church and there would be no doubt as to what it means to be Catholic. But that is my fantasy world. I just hope I don’t hear crickets from Rome on this.

  28. Mojoron says:

    Another schism from Germany, go figure.

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  30. Supertradmum says:

    The German Bishops are pushing the envelope, but these ideas are found in other European countries as well. If there is a schism there, this will be repeated in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Malta, England, etc. Do not kid yourselves on these liberals ideas being found in one country.

  31. JARay says:

    Fr Ray Blake of Brighton UK has written about this on his blog. He sees the German church falling into schism.

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