German bishops pushing hard to overturn the Church’s doctrine

Over at The Spectator, Damian Thompson has a good summary piece. He recaps what happened at the last Synod of Bishop, where controversy over the Kasper proposals about Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried dominated the proceedings. Damian is reacting to a wretched, pandering piece in The Bitter Pill (aka The Tablet) about how a majority of the German bishops are making a full court press in favor of Communion for the divorced/remarried.

The German bishops are calling the Church’s teaching and practice “incomprehensible”. Clearly the comprehend it. They just don’t believe what the Church teaches and they are revolting against it.

The Germans intend to put huge pressure on Pope Francis to make the changes they want, and they wield a lot of clout. As Damian points out, the German Church receives money from taxes to the tune of £4.6 billion a year! The Bishops Conference’s charity, Caritas, “employs 560,000 staff – the country’s second largest employer after Volkswagen”. Damian also points out that Churches in mission countries, such as in Africa, receive a great deal of their financial support from the Germans.

The African bishops, who are far more faithful to Catholic teaching, are not inclined to go along with the revolting ideas of the Germans, but the Germans have the money. If they can bully the African bishops into at least silence, they can probably have their way with the next Synod, with the full complicity of Card. Baldisseri, who runs the Synod.

Be sure to read all of Damian’s good summary. He doesn’t add too much more new information and he makes some points that I made here while the Synod was underway and after. But his summary is useful and timely. HERE

His piece is too long to reproduced with my usual commentary, but here are some samples with my emphases and comments:

Communion for divorced Catholics: the German bishops twisting Pope Francis’s arm


Just before Christmas, virtually unnoticed by the media, the German Catholic bishops made a plea for the readmission of divorced and remarried Catholics (or Catholics married to divorcees) to Holy Communion.

That it should be the Germans, led by Cardinal Reinhard Marx – Archbishop of Munich, president of the German bishops’ conference and coordinator of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy – is no coincidence. In 1993, the future Cardinals Kasper and Lehmann asked the Vatican to admit couples in irregular marriages to Communion – indeed, to allow these couples to make up their own minds as to whether they should receive the sacrament. Cardinal Ratzinger kicked that proposal, and with it the liberal German Church, into the long grass.

Now Pope Francis has revived the German plan, by inviting Kasper to set the agenda for the first session of the Synod on the Family last October. That ended in disarray (my accounts here and here), leaving everyone confused about what the full Synod, meeting this coming autumn, had the authority to decide. [Answer: NOTHING.  They can decide NOTHING.  However, with complicity of the press, they can give the impression that they are a governing body.  That creates confusion.  Liberals know this, so they are creating expectations so that when the next Synod revs up, the pressure will increase.]


These vast budgets create a mindset in which German bishops feel entitled to dictate pastoral practice for Third World dioceses whose churches are overflowing but can’t afford to replace a lightbulb. The bishops of these dioceses, who will again encounter the likes of Marx and Kasper in October, are very conservative on the matter of divorce. You might think that is hypocritical, given the prevalence of priests’ mistresses in Africa, to say nothing of polygamy, but such chaos makes bishops in the developing world all the more determined to hold the line. [Polygamy, etc., is irrelevant.  Sinners will always be with us.  We must defend doctrine.] Also, they suspect Kasper et al of subtle racism, seeking to ‘enlighten’ people of darker skin.  [Remember Card. Kasper’s recorded comments about how the African bishops should be able to tell them what to do?]


Francis’s opinions are mystery – possibly to himself, one Vatican source tells me. Yes, he wants Kasper’s ideas debated. But, although he’s become more liberal with time, he’s still a 78-year-old Argentinian Jesuit who recoils at the notions of women priests and gay marriages, neither of which innovation is entirely unacceptable to the semi-protestant German liberals. [semi?]


[NB] The danger for the Pope is that the German-led liberals will turn on him if he fails to deliver radical change, much as their predecessors turned on Paul VI when he refused to allow them to abandon the Catholic stances on birth control, married priests or transubstantiation. At which point Francis may wish that he’d made a few friends in conservative and traditionalist circles. [That is my great fear.  The same atmosphere that surrounded the debate about contraception is present, except that today it is far more volatile.  Today we have social media and far great, far more widespread ignorance of anything Catholic in the rank and file.]

Be sure to read Damian’s whole piece.

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, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Robbie says:

    As I read this piece and Father Zuhlsdorf’s commentary at the end, I was reminded of Cardinal Burke’s comments from earlier this Fall. If you’ll remember, he said, essentially, there was a growing sense the Church was a rudderless ship. I think sentiment perfectly describes how the Synod has played out.

    It’s a nice idea to promote free and open debate, but a lack of guidance from the top has allowed expectations in certain quarters to run wild. Now, there is an expectation big change is not only coming, but has already happened. And as the old saying goes, it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

    If the German bishops are able to get their way, then what? In large portions of the Church and the episcopate, that outcome would be unacceptable. So what happens then? Does a major rift occur or possibly even a split as happened with Archbishop Lefebvre? It’s a depressing and scary thought. And just last week, Pat Buchanan, appearing on the McLaughlin Group, said there could be a real split coming in the Church.

  2. Jack says:

    It’s like 1517 all over again.

  3. ChrisRawlings says:

    Actually, the real fear is the anglicanization of Catholic ecclesial practice. That is something Damian talks a lot about–how eerily similar the Church is today to the Anglican communion. If the Germans do their thing and the Africans do their’s and we all say the same prayers and say we’re in communion, how is that different than Anglicanism today? For unity with Peter to mean something, it has to actually mean something more than lip service. A balkanized Catholic Church ceases to be catholic.

    In other words, the greatest threat to the Catholic Church isn’t doctrinal backflips. That can’t happen, anyway. But an ecclesial Communion united in name only is a real threat to our Catholic ecclesiological sell understanding. Just look, after all, at Orthodoxy.

  4. Robert of Rome says:

    I have heard it said that the Latin American bishops are more under the sway of the German bishops than are the African bishops because of the vast amounts of money that the German bishops’ conference gives to individual Latin American bishops for their dioceses.

  5. Robert of Rome says:

    I have also heard it said that the African bishops’ representation at the Ordinary session of the Synod next October will be proportionately reduced from their representation at the Extraordinary session this past October. Hence, the African bishops would have less clout come next October. Not a good thing.

  6. jfk03 says:

    The Church survived the Arian heresy, and it will survive this one. We need the likes of St. Nicholas of Myra, who slapped Arius in the face. The Church needs some slapping, too, to wake it from its slumber and realize the danger it is facing. May the Holy Spirit guide Pope Frances in these difficult days.

  7. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I don’t know if anyone has posted the Akita prophecy lately, but it seems appropriate:

    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God…”

  8. jacobi says:

    Let us be clear, history has not come to an end.

    We have had one Reformation and there is a good chance we are on the verge of a second. And as before, important elements will be marriage (sex), wealth (it was land before), “pastoral” issues, and of course, German theologians.

    The Popes mishandled the Protestant Reformation. It took five Popes after 1517 and a Council (called by Paul III 1542) and of course St Pius V to stabilise the mess.

    History never exactly repeats itself but often comes very close.

    So shortly, and the second session of the Synod will be critical, we will all have to decide which side of the line we will be on, the Catholic side, or the “ Relativist/Pastoralist” side or whatever they come to be called.

    I wonder who will call the Council and when?

    N. B. Pius V was also wise enough to see that other great threat to Catholicism and had it dealt with (for a while anyway) at Lepanto!

  9. Imrahil says:

    Well, yes, certainly not full Protestants.

    They’re lobbying, right. But that shouldn’t be a problem in the Catholic Church. They’re lobbying at the Papal court, and in the end the Pope will decide.

    Their position has not hitherto been condemned with infallibility. Yes that is so.

    They are not claiming solubility of the bond. They are claiming that sex in a remarriage can be without grave sin if breaking off said remarriage is morally impossible, and that it is such under conditions to be specified. – Note that the “brother and sister relationship” thing, apart from the question of proximate occasion, seems a rather theoretical construct, to me, for it requires the two of them. If the non-practicing partner expects to be treated as if normally married, often, I assume, the only choice is between going-on and total breakoff.

    It may in policy be perceived as denying the marriage bond, but that’s a quite different thing.

    Note, also, that the perception that he who does not break off a remarriage must expect to be thrown into Hell on that account has a large foothold in orthodox circles, too. They then say that he pays, by making only spiritual Communion, his respect for the still-existing marriage bond (and because it still may be a grave sin, and to uphold the Church policy to deter others from divorcing lightly and from remarrying after divorce), but I cannot see the suggestion around that not showing the remarried partner the door is a grave sin.

    (Remarrying itself is; this is the clear teaching of St. Paul.)

    And under the hypothesis – this is a hypothesis – that their sex be not grave, then indeed the Church could decide to accept them for Holy Communion – but not to accept them if they missed their last Sunday mass, of course. The Church could of course, even under that hypothesis, let things be as they are. In any case the more pressing issue is Confession; spiritual communions are possible after all. (It is telling, of course, that the complaint is about nonadmission to Communion, while there isn’t any complaint about nonadmission [without the resolve to break off the remarriage] to Confession.)

    The problem with the Germans is not that they have money. It is that they, being Germans, cannot leave questions (such as “setting aside whether I should have remarried, but how can I do that cruelty to my partner and leave him now, and only if I do it be freeable from sin? how can this be?”) unanswered.

    No matter what their actual practical import. If people don’t divorce but exceptionally and don’t remarry in that case, which is the case among practicing Catholics*, then the question will not be practically pressing, but the Germans still would wonder.

    [*The practical problems, I hear, often appear with women who convert to Christianity when already in remarriage-after-divorce.]

    Anyway, to quote just the said Cardinal Marx,

    “we discuss. The Pope decides.”

  10. L. says:

    The German bishops are revolting.

  11. excalibur says:

    The Bishops Conference’s charity, Caritas, “employs 560,000 staff – the country’s second largest employer after Volkswagen”.

    That isn’t a charity, that is much more like government at work as usual. I would like to see what percentage of money given for charitable purposes actually goes to help those in need.

  12. excalibur says:

    Massachusetts Catholic, seems to me that that has already happened. This is not the beginning, nor is it the middle innings. We need a relief pitcher who can stop this while we still have the lead. We know what that relief pitcher is.

    Unless and until a Pope consecrates Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart it will continue apace.

  13. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    For us as Roman Catholics, unity with the Vicar of Christ is essential, right?

    Is it not also essential that we profess the same beliefs as Roman Catholics?

    It seems to me that belonging and believing are both necessary. It also seems to me that the Vicar of Christ is in place, in part, at least, to safeguard our Catholic Faith. Am I missing something?

    I can understand not wanting another schism, be it like 1054 or schisms within schisms (e.g. some traditionalist Catholic groups) or like the Anglican situation. But for some time now, there has been an emphasis on some vague idea of “belonging” and of being “the People of God” at the expense of right belief and thinking. “Welcome to our big tent” sounds great. It’s called Unitarian Universalism. “Here comes everybody” sounds great. It feels nice. So does a nice mug of Wassail right about now.

    But people on both sides of the 1054 schism have lived, died, and been martyred for their convictions. If it’s all a matter of “we’re all one big family,” then Christ wasted His time on the Cross, not to mention His public ministry.

  14. asperges says:

    There are two problems here: a German hierarchy fearful if their own continued power and existence and the huge confusion caused by this papacy where there is little by way of clear messages or direction. If the Germans ‘cut up rough’ but the Pope stands fast as he must on these important matters, frankly it will be to the Church’s good. Thete are historical precedences. We cannot go on like this.

  15. If Pope Francis is consistent with his approach, he will listen to the bishops of poor African countries and not the soft, rich, and luxurious mold of bishops in Germany.

  16. Clemens Romanus says:

    Kyrie, eleison.

  17. LarryW2LJ says:

    Those pesky Germans! 500 years later and they’re still not satisfied!

    (My apologies to any of Germanic heritage who remain faithful – of course, you were not included in that broad swipe).

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Imrahil – How is “living like brother and sister” something theoretical?

    First off, plenty of people do manage it. There have been eras in the Church when it’s been downright popular as a devotional practice, without any marital irregularities involved. Of course it’s not something you want to do on only one side of the marriage unless there’s a Big Problem.

    But you do realize that the vast majority of couples who don’t want “accidents” aren’t gobbling the Pill and then swiving each other constantly, 365 days a year and forty times on Sunday. A lot of surveys say that most happily married couples who have sex lives are doing it maybe once a week or less, because they’re kinda busy with the kids and such. There have also always been plenty of people who just stop having sex when they stop wanting more kids.

    Heck, the vast majority of married couples after a certain age just don’t have sex, no matter what the ads are telling you. This isn’t to say that there aren’t older couples going at it until the day they die of old age; but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the majority thing that happens. People are programmed to be most interested in sex when they’re young, so the amount of burden placed on couples by “living like brother and sister” varies enormously.

    So yeah, for some people it probably seems like an impossibly ascetic act, but there are plenty of people for whom it’s daily life. It’s rather offensive to the diversity of Catholics and Catholic family lifestyles to assert that “living like brother and sister” is theoretical. It’s not.

  19. Michael_Thoma says:

    ChrisRawlings says:
    30 December 2014 at 10:12 am
    But an ecclesial Communion united in name only is a real threat to our Catholic ecclesiological sell understanding. Just look, after all, at Orthodoxy

    What does that mean? I’m Eastern Catholic with Orthodox family and friends, and other than some fringe tiny non-vocal minority (if they even exist), no one – especially priests or bishops – in the Orthodox Churches is asking for homosexual marriage, women priests, or liturgical clowns. Neither do any of the bishops in the Orthodox Churches compromise the Liturgical practices entrusted to them, neither to appease feminists, liberals, latinizers, or modernizers. As far as I know, a mere mention of these as acceptable would result in Rev.Fr. MyWay or His Grace +Makeshift being free to start his own ministry, as he would no longer be clergy in the Orthodox Church. Neither would his ordination be considered “valid”, since anyone pretending outside the Communion of the Church is automatically considered ‘without grace’.

    For some reason, we on the Catholic side of the pond (and our bishops) – Latin, Byzantine and/or Chaldeao-Syriac – are very tolerant of this deviant nonsense to a fault. And it’s starting to get real old real fast.

  20. arga says:

    The doctrine of course must not be tampered with. On the other hand, look around at Sunday Mass, here in the USA: Probably fewer than 20% have even been to confession in, say, the last year or two (at best) yet all take communion, including many who are co-habiting or worse, and most Catholics in the pews will tell you they are “against what the Church teaches” on a whole range of core issues. And probably 80% couldn’t care less what happens at the synod in 2015. And not one priest in 100 will actually dare to teach anything of substance from the pulpit.

    In other words, even if the doctrine is left untouched, the teachings themselves have acquired a kind of ceremonial status in relation to the beliefs of actual Catholics. That is to say, the teachings are already irrelevant. The only way to make them relevant is to teach them and to remind Sunday Mass goers of the mortal sin that attaches to certain regular practices and beliefs. But I KNOW my ever-smiling parish priest (famous for his “orthodoxy” in comparison to others around here) would rather sup with the devil than do that.

  21. Lavrans says:

    If this were to happen, and I’m not convinced it will, Cardinal Mueller will be livid (and rightfully so). I just hope he is not treated like Cardinal Ottaviani, God rest his soul.

  22. Chumly says:

    As Evelyn Waugh wrote concerning other devastating changes, the Germans “should be in perpetual sackcloth and ashes for all their enormities from Luther to Hitler.”

  23. JBS says:

    Germans should not tell us too much what we have to do.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    The remnant, both of clergy and laity, will be very, very small, imo. But, the Church will remain until Christ comes again, albeit a very small Church, indeed. Sometimes, I sympathize with St. Augustine’s massa damnata.

    One thing is clear, and that is that the hidden schismatics are now arrogantly out in the open. This is a a good development.

  25. jhayes says:

    Imrahil wrote They are not claiming solubility of the bond. They are claiming that sex in a remarriage can be without grave sin if breaking off said remarriage is morally impossible, and that it is such under conditions to be specified.

    Yes, I think that is the most likely way that this will be resolved. Question 51 in the Lineamenta for the October 2015 Synod says

    The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735).

  26. JARay says:

    The worst has not happened and perhaps, just perhaps, it’s not going to happen either!

  27. Imrahil says:

    In my sixth paragraph, first sentence, there’s one “not” missing. Sorry. I guess those who read it at all (an honor which I do not deserve) got what I intended to say from context.

  28. Imrahil says:

    Dear LarryW2LJ,

    well, of course, because we after all still live on the good old Continent, which was once as a whole Catholic. We don’t deal in founding new churches and join the one that agrees with us. We know, or if not then still feel in the stones of the land we live on, that there is to be One Church. Hence, if we hold something to be true, we want our Church to hold it too – not leave it.

    With which we’re right. We may be wrong, and quite wrong, with the things held true in question, though.

    Forgive the provocation.

    And besides, to quote St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, “the Reformation came because the German people could not but be pious”.

  29. Imrahil says:

    Dear Chumly,

    when our fathers went into the Confessional and received absolution, a penance to wear sackcloth and ashes for the rest of their days was not, as far as I am aware, enjoined on them; nor is it, a fortiori, on their children and children’s children and the third, fourth and fifth generation.

  30. Johnno says:

    If the Germans want out, let them have it.

    When the Protestants revolted and exited the Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously converted the entire Americas to fill in the losses.

    Let Marx have his Germany. We will settle for Russia instead. That is, whenever Pope Francis is ready to deliver that poor nation to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Hopefully Germany will still be around by that time, and not a smouldering crater… a fat lot of good the German Bishop’s finances will do then.

  31. Rob22 says:

    Speaking as a convert of a decade I increasingly am re-evaluating my decision. If the Pope affirms a new dogma, a changed dogma, her then the teaching that the Holy Spirit protects the Pope from error is erroneous and with that, for me, the edifice of the Catholic church collapses.

    The “neo-Catholics” are already defending this potential change. Go along ass they say. What will a Scott Hahn who gave up so much to enter the church say? Maybe nothing? He has made a lot money from his conversion. Just saying.

    Michael Savage has increasingly compared the Pope to Obama. One out to transform to Church the other to transform America.

    The Catholic church has become little more than a mouthpiece for Marxist /socialism on economic issues, global warming and anti-fracking on environmental issues. A progressive cog in the new world order as Savage says.

    Tough words but after reading the whitewash the final report on the visitation of nuns in the US became this is as they say not what I signed up for.

    Donations are down to orthodox catholic organizations because IMO they are making no difference. How can they when funding comes from the US and Global groups to the Catholic church and brings with it strings of compromise.

    For mee, if I leave the church, I won’t go back to my evangelical home or to Orthodoxy. I will become a believer who does not believe in any specific organized religion.

    This Pope is potentially OIMO no just driving believers out of the Catholic church to other Christian churches but out of Christianity altogether.

    Tough words and cradle Catholics can’t understand but I came into the church because, primarily, of its unchanging doctrine. It hurts more than you can know to realize I may have been “fooled”.

  32. Emilio says:

    What is sincerely beyond my comprehension, and I truly love Saint John Paul II, is how the very author of the Theology of the Body and staunchest defender of holy marriage and the family, promoted and gave two red hats to the likes of Lehman and Kasper? How does it make any sense?

  33. Rob22 says:

    Emillio, none of it makes sense. After almost 30 years of orthodox Popes a progressive/liberation theology Pope is elected?!

    And note that Pope Franic’s picks are staunchly progressive. John Paul and Ratzinger did not demand the orthodoxy they should have.

    Add the sudden resignation of Benedicts and election of a progressive – its what Michael Savage openly asks. Who is pulling the strings on what seems to be an emerging world order of politics, economics and religion.

  34. Pingback: German bishops pushing hard to overturn the Church’s doctrine | therasberrypalace

  35. Elizabeth D says:

    To those moaning about how the Church is falling into ruin, what are you doing to accomplish the works of mercy, what are you doing to teach the Faith to children and to adults, and to evangelize and invite people to know Christ and to participate in the life of the Church? When will there be a movement to do this? Now is always a very acceptable time to grow in virtue. Pope Francis isn’t stopping us. We are getting in our own way, and failing to love one another enough to help one another in this.

  36. majuscule says:


    Michael Savage reads Pope Francis through the media. From much of what I have heard him say I would guess that he has not read the Holy Father’s actual statements.

  37. Johnno says:

    Elizabeth D –

    “Pope Francis isn’t stopping us. We are getting in our own way, and failing to love one another enough to help one another in this.”

    I beg to differ. While Pope Francis isn’t “stopping us”, he is placing very large stones in the paths of those we wish to convert and reform. Whether they are Protestants suspicious of the Papacy being linked to worldly conspiracy and teaching errors contradictory to the Bible and general Christian morality, or atheists and apostates who use Pope Francis’ words and actions against us, or just Catholics and Cathecumens trying to understand the faith who are being confused by the present Pontiff and reconciling the role of the Papacy, what his power is and is limited to, and what conditions the doctrine of papal infallibility rests under, as well as those zealous Catholics who may be persuaded by sedevacantism.

    We’re trying our best, but the present Papacy makes it difficult. The only reassuring thing is that God foresaw all this a long time ago, and sent His Holy Mother to tell us what to expect and what to do about it. Have you done your part, Elizabeth, to further the comforting and instructive message of the Mother of God? Have you done enough to reassure all people about her warnings and to remind them that she is with us? Have you told everyone of the solution God has given us that will remedy all this that He instructed His Church through the astonishing miracle of Fatima? Indeed, it is ironic, how when it comes to those things, we indeed are getting in our own way due to truly diabolical disorientations as to who has the best remedy to the situation, when God has already given us simple instructions to obey. The present situation is one we all have earned and deserve.

  38. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    With respect to Damien Thompson’s inference that “The German Church is acting as a united lobby – the ‘great majority’ are pushing for change”, these posts make interesting reading:

  39. Allan S. says:

    Be sure to read Damian’s whole piece.

    Actually, I won’t – the knowledge that so many (now) open heretics control so much of the Church’s apparatus and are now virtually unchecked by a rudderless Holy See drives me to the deepest despair, and the harshest anger towards he who made it all possible.

  40. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    The vast majority of the American bishops already agree with the German bishops: People who are publicly known to be persisting in grave sin should be given Communion.

    I have been banned from the Facebook pages of Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Gomez, and Archbishop Cupich, in each case a couple of days after posting this link to Cardinal Burke’s article on Communion and notorious sinners:

  41. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Emilio says:
    30 December 2014 at 7:07 pm
    What is sincerely beyond my comprehension, and I truly love Saint John Paul II, is how the very author of the Theology of the Body and staunchest defender of holy marriage and the family, promoted and gave two red hats to the likes of Lehman and Kasper? How does it make any sense?


    According to Cardinal Ratzinger, in one of his extended interviews, JPII did not want to make Kasper a Cardinal, but the German bishops threatened to cut off the millions they were sending to the Church in Poland.

  42. St. Rafael says:

    The prophesy of Akita was quoted in part in these comments. Unfortunately, the only remedy left for the Church and world might be physical, as the rest of Akita prophesizes:

    “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead…”

  43. SPWang says:

    …Marx…appropriately named.

    There is one solution to all this – to paraphrase Bill Clinton:
    “It’s the liturgy, stupid.”

    The liturgy is OUR economy.

    Let’s fix it.

  44. Clinton R. says:

    The modernist movement St. Pope Pius X preached against at the beginning of the 20th century is a full blown reality at the end of 2014. Decades of the erosion of ecclesiastical discipline has resulted in outright revolt against the Church and her timeless teachings and doctrine. Everything in the last several decades has been in the favor of modernists/progressives/heretics; the New Mass, new rites, novelties such as Communion in the hand, girl altar boys, etc. The whole mess in the Church makes one wish the bishops would finally ‘man up’. But with the likes of Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp calling for the recognition of aberrosexual relationships, I come to the chilling realization that precious few bishops have the faith or courage to actually be Catholic, rather they become friends of the world. While it must be flattering to be on magazine covers and have celebrities give you kudos and have the world fawn over you, one cannot serve two masters. So I will pray for the Holy Father, and hope God gives him great courage to resist the temptation to bend the Church to the will of the world. The days are drawing short and our adversary is desperate to drag souls into hell. Let us all pray for strength of faith in these harrowing times. +JMJ+

  45. The Egyptian says:

    Marx, Marx ??? A German called Marx ?
    Where have I heard that name before ??
    Just sayin

  46. Imrahil says:

    Let’s face it, the word “heretic”, as it is usually understood, does not mean “material heretic”, but it means “formal heretic”. Thus anyone can hold that the German bishops’ position is material heresy as much as he wishes. But for formal heresy, and by implication for calling them heretics, could someone please point to a dogma – hitherto already defined, that is – that is in contradiction to their position?

    Again: they do not say the marriage bond does not exist. They say, to put it in an unfriendly way, that it is practically ignorable, which is a quite different matter.

    I personally say that particularly the “everyone decide for himself in his conscience” thing is utter rubbish. And not even only because that would practically open doors to laxness, but for a systematic reason: which is, we are not dealing with a subjective question at all; we are dealing with an objective question. Also, the people the German bishops refer to and who do not understand, etc., do not wish to be given freedom for their conscience. Certainly not. They may not put it in these terms, but they, as much as anyone else, want the question answered by the Church, viz. in a manner favorable to their position.

    But “utter rubbish” again is not heresy.

  47. The Drifter says:

    These bullying gauleiters – just like those the same ilk who preceded them – will go on twisting arms until someone breaks loose and lands them with a spiritual knuckle sadwich. At tha point they’ll start moaning about only following orders.

  48. rafferju says:

    I have moved from anger and resentment about our present leaders to realising that I have done little to appease Gods anger in terms of praying fasting for our priests and the upper ranks of the church. we know that one of the worst chastisments God can send us is poor spiritual leaders. How many liberal catholics do you think pray for the clergy to follow the way of the lord. so if those trying to follow the orthodox path don’t appease God who will?

  49. Grabski says:

    How ironic is a push based on the power of monied but falling away local churches.

  50. Marine Mom says:

    Words of St Thomas Aquinas, “Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.:” Patron of the Universal Church
    St Joseph pray for us all.

  51. The Masked Chicken says:

    It is interesting to read the history of the Church Tax in Germany. This snippet from Wikipedia is interesting:

    “The church tax is historically rooted in the pre-Christian Germanic custom where the chief of the tribe was directly responsible for the maintenance of priests and religious cults. During the Christianization of Western Europe, this custom was adopted by the Christian churches (Arian and Catholic) in the concept of “Eigenkirchen” (churches owned by the landlord) which stood in strong contrast to the central church organization of the Roman Catholic Church.”

    So, from the beginning, the German churches have had a disordered relationship with money and the state. The current tax, interestingly, is derived from the Weimar period, immediately after WWI (specifically, articles 135 – 141) in 1919 and simply copied into the Basic Law that was established in 1949 after WWII. In my opinion, these sections should be excised. They amount to state support of religion, since the state will collect the taxes, for a fee, if the churches do not. This, also, amounts to a type of tax on worship, which should be reprehensible to everyone.

    In other words, I have my doubts that Pope Francis is aware that Germany’s motives for retaining the divorced and re-married might involve the repercussions of what might happen if they leave. Let’s be clear: 180,000 Catholics (!) get divorced, each year in Germany and about 25% of those get re-married, most, it seems, without an annulment.

    From, “Why the Catholic Church must Change; A Necessary Conversation.” Margaret Nutting Ralph, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. New York, 2013,”

    “. . . reforming and streamlining the church’s annulment process would not make a big difference in Germany, the[ir] bishops’ report said, because most remarried people do not regard their original unions as ‘null and void,’ but rather as having failed. They therefore frequently consider an annulment procedure — which declares that an apparent marriage was null from the start – ‘to be dishonest.’ . . . Both the German bishops’ and the Swiss bishops’ summaries said Catholics in their countries believe the church is unmerciful to Catholics whose first marriages have failed. ‘Divorce and remarrying frequently lead to a process of becoming distant from the church or of widening the existing gap,’ the German bishops reported. ‘Many no longer wish to be associated with an institution which they regard as unforgiving.”

    The Church Tax is about 8%, which is a huge chunk of change. Why do people regard their marriage as having failed instead of being indissoluble? Poor catechesis is probably the reason. This may result from Catholic and Protestant mixing, as it has in the United States. In other words, this whole mess is, probably, the poisoned fruit from a misunderstanding of proper Ecumenical dialogue, which Vatican II did not envision being a sharing of Faith beliefs among the laity. Catholics never were free to adopt Protestant beliefs and this divorce and remarriage problem is straight out of Calvinism’s view that marriage is a legal contract.

    So, if Pope Francis does not act to make the Catholic understanding of this point of doctrine clear and unassailable, then he is not really addressing the true needs of the Church in Germany, in my opinion. The difference between Pope Benedict, who excoriated Cardinal Kasper, and Pope Francis is that, well, to be polite, Pope Benedict is German, so he knows what goes on in his native country. Pope Francis does not know, I suspect, so he can be sold a bill of goods for rotten fruit under the banner of mercy, when, really, it not the marriages that are failing, but, rather, the bishops in promoting a proper understanding of authentic doctrine among the laity. Pope Benedict possibly saw this issue, correctly, as one of doctrinal incompetency among the German laity. Pope Francis, not so in touch with the on-the-ground situation, has been, possibly, duped into fitting this matter into his program of mercy, whereas, it has little to do with mercy. The re-married already abrogated to themselves their own mercy when they decided, by themselves, that they were fit to re-marry. The church should not support them in their pride. They need to be told correct doctrine and if they leave, then they do so with full knowledge that they do not love God as He wishes to be loved. As it is now, many if these people are in ignorance of the seriousness of what they are doing. Explaining this to them is true mercy. It seems, then, that Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have different opinions of the mercy that the German laity needs. Pope Francis, in humility, should listen to Pope Benedict on this matter, as chances are, he knows better, both for the situation in Germany and in the world.

    Does not Pope Francis realize how schizophrenic it looks when one Pope says one thing is wrong and the one immediately following says, not that it isn’t wrong, but that it isn’t not right? It’s like having one parent who teaches Creationism and one who teaches Evolution. Pity the poor kids in the middle.

    The Chicken

  52. Lavrans says:

    If these German prelates have their way, and the Church changes “pastoral” practices with regard to those living in sin, it only stands to reason that such changes will apply to others living in sin as well. Those cohabitating should be allowed Holy Communion after some sort of “penance” is done, whatever that means. Those in homosexual unions should be allowed Holy Communion after some sort of “penance” is done, whatever that means. And mind you, if said “penance” is too hard or embarrassing for the two groups above, especially for the prone-to-public-acts-of-outrage folks, the “penance” will be done away with by nervous nellies in purple and red hats. It is also hard to imagine that this very scenario is not on the minds of these German prelates, as well as the Dutch prelate of recent news.

    I pray that this doesn’t occur.

  53. Lavrans says:

    I wish our bishops were like St. Ignatius of Antioch.

    Pray for us, holy martyr of Antioch.

  54. Judas left many offspring.

  55. jacobi says:

    The Church’s position is quite clear. Sex outside of a valid marriage between a man and a woman is a Mortal Sin. Anyone who advocates that should be permitted, is advocating a Mortal Sin and is complicit in that Sin.

    This is equally binding on both partners. In the case a man forces sex on his partner that is dealt with in Church law, wrong, and in civil law, rape. In these cases separation is the obvious first step, something that is common enough nowadays.

    Now from a pastoral point of view, the answer is quite simple and is already clearly laid out in the CCC. Such families are to be welcomed into the parish, and to Mass, and to other religious services, and their children must receive the Sacraments just as any others.

    The only difference is that the parents must not receive Holy Communion until their situation is resolved, i.e. Confession and a firm purpose of amendment etc. It’s really quite simple. Do remember that the Church requires us to receive Holy Communion once a year! Not, repeat not, at every Mass

    As I have said before, so much of this crisis in the Church has been caused by the success the Relativists in turning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into a routine protestant- type hymn- singing communion service, at which all have the right to receive and what more important, be seen to receive.

    And incidentally, such rules about receiving Holy Communion apply to any other Mortal Sinners, and there are (objectively speaking of course) lots of them in any average Catholic Mass congregation these days.

  56. jacobi says:

    Re my first note, just had another thought. If the Church in Germany starts another reformation we could call them Kasperans, after Lutherans, got it ?

    I mean Relativans and Pastoralans or Secularans and Kungians, not very nice are they?

  57. jfk03 says:

    I pray to St. Ambrose of Milan for courage in the face of upsetting news that emanates from Germany and Holland. I pray the rosary and work on my own faults, because we can’t correct the faults of the Church without repenting our own sins and amending our lives through the sacrament of confession.

  58. chantgirl says:

    For those of us who have had to delicately explain to our children that their cousin/aunt/uncle/whoever is objectively living in sin and needs prayers and compassion, it would be nice to have some backup from the hierarchy.

    The synod this past Fall was so scandalous that I still haven’t found the words to explain it to my children. I am beginning to think that the laity need to show up in Italy for the next synod and make a little lio of their own.

  59. Imrahil says:

    Dear Chicken,

    Wikipedia is incorrect on that. The tax is not based on any Germanic custom whatsoever, but on the fact that the State used to fund the Church’s pastors in the years after 1800, in (part-) resitution for having largely expropriated her before. The funding later ceased and was replaced by the Church funding herself with recourse to her membership.

    As for the State collecting the tax (which – and that is often forgotten but you, thanks, mentioned it- , it does for a fee), what should be problematic about it? It is merely a case of efficiency. The state has the men for the job. Why should the Church need to run a costly parallel structure? The Enlightenment and American “separation of Church and State” idea is not part of natural law.

    As for the 8% (in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, 9% elsewhere), that’s the number, but it refers not to income but to income tax. Income tax, again, is between 15 and 42 % of income, on a progressive rate, and 45% for the rich (i.e. >250000 €; I did not look up the numbers, but that’s round about it), with generally excepting the first 8000 € or so. (I do not wish to go into German tax law detail. They say two thirds of publication on tax systems worldwide is done in German ;-) ) The Church tax is then again tax-deductible, state-wise, just as any donations for pious causes are.

    Thus, a wealthy (i. e., top-taxed but not subject to the “rich tax”) man in the North has a total tax rate of 46.5, including the “solidarity surcharge”, compared with 44.3% if he is religiously unaffiliated (again including the solidarity surcharge). Thus the actual number in this case is 2.2%.

    It must also be said that this is for us what other nations do, it seems, by voluntary tithing. In Germany, you normally give some nice coin of 1 €, 2 € or 50 ct to the Sunday collect, and that without being embarrassed if you don’t. Though it’s more for the grand Lenten (and to lesser degree Advent) collections.

    Most importantly, though, the Church could at any given point of time decide not to levy the Church tax any-more. And as the Pope can issue orders to bishops, the Pope could decide it for them. The State may be a problem elsewhere, but it is not here.

  60. Kathleen10 says:

    We all fail to realize how powerful and wealthy the LGBT movement is, and the global power it wields. It is immense and relentless. It has been in one form or another since man began, and is attached to many of the problems we see everywhere today, globally. It is behind the scenes, promoting, coercing, using money to get what it wants, apparently the destruction of western morality entirely, to replace it with a new morality, or amorality rather.
    I do not believe at all this push for Holy Communion is about divorced/remarried people. I believe this is about promoting homosexuality throughout the world and eliminating the barriers toward that end. This other issue is just a starter.
    As far as avoiding the change of church teaching, IMHO, it doesn’t look good, all the ducks are lining up. But Pope Francis seems to enjoy pulling the “old switcheroo”, so, we just need to pray more and buckle up.

  61. Gail F says:

    Caritas is Germany’s second largest employer???? The mind boggles. Can you imagine ANY charity being our country’s second largest employer? Is it really big, or are Germany companies really small?

  62. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I share the disdain for the German bishops in this regard (it seems as though most of the German bishops are implicated), and it seems to me that the German bishops’ conference as a whole is deeply compromised (in several respects including some not discussed here), but please let’s not tar all Germans with the same brush.

    (I am not German.)

  63. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    Most importantly, though, the Church could at any given point of time decide not to levy the Church tax any-more.

    It seems to this Englishman that this is exactly what must happen if the German episcopacy is to regain any credibility abroad.

    Also, could you let us know – are the German bishops still publishing pornography? I couldn’t find any recent news stories online in English about this; and the last I heard, if I remember correctly, was that they were continuing to invest heavily in a publishing portfolio which included pornography (I think, they were majority shareholders or outright owners of at least one pornographer).

    I’d be glad to be corrected (glad, but surprised).

  64. Patti Day says:

    The Masked Chicken says:
    31 December 2014 at 8:50 am

    “Pope Francis does not know, I suspect, so he can be sold a bill of goods for rotten fruit under the banner of mercy.”

    “Does not Pope Francis realize how schizophrenic it looks when one Pope says one thing is wrong and the one immediately following says, not that it isn’t wrong, but that it isn’t not right?”

    I hope you don’t think I’m picking on The Chicken, but I’ve read statements like this since the beginning of Francis’ pontificate and it’s getting very difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to his being new to the Vatican and new to the job, or whatever the kindly-meant excuse. Is Pope Francis without access to a computer, a television, a newspaper? We know he has a working phone. When he needs to understand something important does he not research it with more than a single source? Does he only listen and take advice from German clerics? It makes it look like Francis is very naive about the world and individual agendas, and I just don’t buy it anymore.

  65. Gail F says:

    Imrahil: I am confused by your post. Is it correct that the German church could choose to stop the church tax? I thought that all churches had to participate in it.

  66. donato2 says:

    Naive is one thing that Pope Francis is not. He is a highly skilled political animal who knows exactly what he is doing. From the get go he has been setting this thing up to change the Church’s discipline on communion for the divorced and re-married. That’s why he called for the Synod — and did so right out of the box, with Cardinal Kasper put front and center. What is not clear is what he would do in the face of clear and forceful resistance. I don’t know how this will all play out but I feel in my bones that the Church is on the cusp of a major crisis. The Church should be anyway. It would be really sad if Pope Francis were to allow communion for the divorced and remarried and no crisis ensued. It would mean that the Catholic Church is dissolving into the world a la the Anglican Communion.

  67. juergensen says:

    Today’s Mass readings were apropos:

    “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.”

    1 Jn 2:18-19

  68. jflare says:

    I would contend that the State does not have any great need for a giant bureaucracy to collect and distribute tax revenues any more than the Church needs to allow the State to collect taxes on the Churches behalf. If you wish to claim that Natural Law makes no provision for the separation of Church and State, I must counter that neither does said Law make any provision for socialism or any other form of forced redistribution of wealth.

    Especially in these times of nation-states becoming more secular than ever, I think allowing a Church to become dependent on the State for anything past basic law and order, fire, and medical services, such a Church places itself in grave danger of being abused rampantly. Certainly the condition of the German church would seem to substantiate this idea.

  69. jflare says:

    RE Pope Francis, I certainly hope that he doesn’t have such intentions in mind. I don’t like him much at all as a pope, but I don’t wish to be forced to consider him that..contemptuous..of the Church’s discipline. Such an approach surely would lead to very serious, negative, consequences. I don’t know if it’d spawn a schism–wherein large numbers of bishops would actually defy the pope in public act–but it’d sew dangerous amounts of discord at the very least.

  70. Emilio says:

    @Father Vincent Fitzpatrick:

    Thank you for your witness and for your courage in reminding those prelates what the Church really teaches. I think one of the true travesties of our age is Cardinal McCarrick’s distortion and (near)obstruction of then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s message to him about Canon 915, OUTDONE only by Cardinal Dolan’s declaration that the debate was closed (in his favor ofcourse) concerning the issue. At the March for Life 2015, some brave souls should make large signs with “Canon 915, Your Excellencies, Canon 915.” I wonder if they will be removed from the Masses and from the Marches, as you were removed from those Facebook accounts. I think you make a compelling and excellent point in comoaring our US Bishops, who indeed in a very real way, are already in complicity with the German Episcopate. With Cardinal Burke’s demotion and distance from these shores, we have no brave voice in the US Episcopate willing to testify to this inconvenient Canon.

  71. mpolo says:

    From my observation, the German Church is very quickly dying out. In heavily Catholic areas like the Rhineland, Mass attendance is 5–10% of Catholics, where in more urban areas it barely reaches 1%, and most dioceses have few if any ordinations per year. I help out in a parish group of four parishes that has had no priest for the last year, and which is administered by a priest who has eight parishes of his own. He wrote to us in October that the people should give up on getting another priest, and if by some miracle they do get one, they should know that this will be the last priest ever in that parish. The bishop gave a slightly more positive outlook: i.e. I’ve asked several priests to take the parish, but as of now, no one has wanted to take it. I just encourage them to pray for vocations from out of their own parish and families…

  72. RJHighland says:

    These bishops deserve the same obiedence as Fr. Arias or Fr. Martin Luther, they are not Catholic. They kind of look like Catholic Bishops but they are not. If a priest or bishop does not teach the authentic teachings of the Church if their mass looks like something out of bizarro world they are false shepherds period. If the Pope teaches something other than what has been handed down we are not to follow him let allow some crazy bishop in Brussels or a lunatic Bishop in Germany. There have always been false teachers in the Church. We as faithful must evangelize and perserve through this period. If you have a bishop or priest not teaching the authentic teachings of the Church stop feeding the heresy with your money. That will get there attention. The Pope if he had any spine would treat them like Luther, Arias or Huss were treated. John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, even Benedict XVI to a lesser extent allowed the Church hierarchy to spiral down to this state. The most terrifying thing is that Pope Francis is on track to be more of a progressive than any of them. It is embarrasing to have these clowns as leaders of the Church established by Our Lord, might as well have them dress up like Bozo, Ronald, or the Joker and some of them do. Holy Mother Church seems to be run by clowns, homosexuals and pedophiles, it is hard to evangelize people to a Church with that kind of leadership. If they wish to act like Judas I will treat them with all the respect I would be expected to offer Judas. I would prefer to treat them as St. Nicholas treated Arias, and just knock their block off for how they have corrupted the faith. Somedays being Cathlic is like being a Cleveland Browns fan, you are aways forced to look into the distant past for encouragement and pride because to be proud of anything in the last 50 yrs. is nearly impossible.

  73. Imrahil says:

    Dear Gail F,

    I’m happy to clear up that misunderstanding. By German law, the Church can tax; it need not. In fact there are some religious bodies which in the eyes of the law have the same status than the Catholic Church which either tax through their own collectors (e. g. the Mennonites) or do not tax at all (e. g. Eastern Orthodox Churches, Methodists, Mormons).

    Dear jflare, maybe I’ll answer later… Just so much: income tax is not socialism.

    A very good new year of our Lord 2015 to you all.

  74. Grabski says:

    I could be wrong but didn’t all English bishops but St John Fisher apostacize?

    could be instructive on the power that comes from the state

  75. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Just to clarify something from R. J. Highlands point, immediately above as I type: the crazy bishop is in Antwerp, not Brussels – for now, at least.

  76. kimberley jean says:

    Rob22, please do not give up on Christ’s church because we have lousy bishops. Men will always let you down. Read about St. Athanatius, St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and do likewise. I am not a fan of the pope, and I suspect that when my cardinal dies there will be an avalanche of gossip but I will not leave my mother the Church while she is suffering from a bout of insanity.

  77. williamjm says:

    Does all of this not seem very similar to the era of the Arian heresy? It was St. Athanasius against the world. What happened? Arianism was defeated, and the Catholic Church conquered Europe. Or perhaps when Nominalsm nearly took over? Or the Reformation? Or the Enlightenment? Why was the Catholic Church not torn asunder like any other human institution? Because it is not a human institution, but rather a Divine institution. Never give up! Never surrender! Christ is on our side! Whom have we to fear? However black the night, the light of Christ shines. “In him was life, and the life was light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1, 4-5.

  78. donato2 says:

    I love RJHighland’s comparison to being a Cleveland Browns fan – that’s a good one! Instead of “Wait until next year” it’s “Wait until He returns.”

  79. Jackie L says:

    “he’s still a 78-year-old Argentinian Jesuit who recoils at the notions of women priests and gay marriages” I don’t know why this should make anyone feel any better, are old Jesuits really opposed to these things? I would argue that they are more likely than most segments of the Church to support such nonsense.

  80. Rob22 says:

    I think Pope Francis knows what he is doing and I think it is to bring about the vision of V2 as seen by progressives.

    The divorce/remarriage change is just the start IMO. I think contraception, female priests (deacons at first) and recognition of gay marriage in some form are down the line.

    It won’t all happen during Francis’s time as Pope but he is appointing progressive bishops and cardinals and that will guarantee a transformation of the church in this century.

    Francis was known to be a progressive and yet the conservative (supposedly) Cardinals appointed by JP2 and Benedict supported him. Frankly I think a lot of bishops want big changes in the church and during the time of a conservative more orthodox Pope they go quiet. But clearly Francis received the votes of many “conservative” Cardinals at the conclave.

    One Cardinal in the US hailed as conservative at one time has gone all pastoral under the new Papacy. That’s kind of what I am talking about.

  81. Patti Day says:

    EWTN will present The World Over tonight at 8:00 pm EST. Raymond Arroyo will be reviewing 2014 and other topics, with guests Fr. Gerald Murray, Dr. Robert Royal, and Bill Donahue. It should be interesting.

  82. Supertradmum says:

    If anyone is interested, on my blog today, I have ten postings on the heresies I have spotted in some of the comments of at least two of the cardinals at the Synod, and some ideas I think informed the final document.

    We have to be realistic about what is happening, but not panic. And to Grabski, yes, St, John Fisher was the only one who held out and was killed for his bravery. But, we do not have a situation where a State is pushing for revolt in the Church, but certain clerics doing this. The schismatics are finally “out”.

  83. Supertradmum says:

    Rob22, no offense, but St. John Paul II and the Pope Emeritus appointed progressive bishops, because they trusted the local churches. Francis did not start this, obviously. Most popes just take the recommendations given to them by the other bishops in a country. Sadly, if liberal bishops are the majority or in control, more liberals will be ordained bishop.

  84. benedetta says:

    I would only point out as well that at least two of the most destructively “liberal”, in a dissenting sense, bishops in the country were in fact appointed by Pope Paul VI.

    Perhaps when it comes to the USA and most places in Europe, it is a reflection of the pool itself so much as a reflection of recommendations of others. However at the same time it appears that Pope Francis has made some excellent appointments of orthodox Bishops over the last year, and, if people purporting to have access to back story are to be believed, these were made at variance with local Church recommendations in some significant instances. Happy New Year to all…

  85. Justalurkingfool says:

    I wish Catherine Benincasa’s words, as a Doctor of the Church, would be heeded by those in power in the Catholic Church, especially with respect to marriage and divorce:

    “Those who are in authority, I say, do evil when holy justice dies in them because of their selfish self-centeredness and their fear of incurring the displeasure of others! They see those under them sinning but it seems they pretend not to see and do not correct them.

    And if they do correct, they do it so feebly and halfheartedly that it is worthless, only a plaster over the vice. They are forever afraid of offending and making enemies and all this because of self-love. Sometimes it’s just that they would like to keep peace, and this, I tell you, is the worst cruelty one can inflict. If a sore is not cauterized or excised when necessary, but only ointment is applied, not only will it not heal, but it will infect the whole [body], often fatally.”

    Saint Catherine of Siena

  86. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Good heavens. Etheldreda’s place is the Garrigue.

    Today’s influential theologians, who shall remain nameless, seem to be more inspired by W.C. Fields: “What are you doing reading a bible, I thought you weren’t into that sort of thing? — I’m looking for loop holes!”

  87. The Astronomer says:

    I was a close friend of the late Rev. Dr. Malachi Martin, who often told me that the great majority of bishops & cardinals in the USA & Western Europe were de facto heretics as they no longer believed the perennial doctrines and dogmas of the Church, such as the Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Our Blessed Lord being really, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

    He told me that they would never really come right out and openly deny de fide doctrine, but that they wouldn’t advocate its applicability to Catholic conduct in the public and/or private sphere, choosing instead to let it languish in silence. Openly subverting Roman orthodoxy would dry up their coffers with the ordinary faithful and prelates like ‘Uncle Teddy’ as he was known in the archdiocese of Newark, wouldn’t be able to fund things like his private ‘retreat getaway’ for like-minded seminarians down on the Jersey Shore.

    My parents parish in Northern NJ had three consecutive actively homosexual pastors, who were later called to task by local media for sexual abuse and misuse of parish funds. Every time this happened there, the parishioners, including my own parents, chose to go the route of ‘willful blindness,’ i.e “not Father X, oh no, he’s not like that…” until criminal indictments were handed down and the sordid matters became a matter of public knowledge via newspapers and TV news.

    We were warned about all of this by Our Lady in her approved apparitions. Fr. Malachi often told me that, although we were in a crisis worse than the Arian Heresy, we also have an advantage, too. We are blessed enough to know what to do to save our souls and those of our loved ones as well. Confession, reception of the Blessed Sacrament while in the state of sanctifying grace, Penance and the daily Holy Rosary are our weapons.

    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was very precise in his choice of words for Good Friday of 2005: “How much ,filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him!

    St. Padre Pio, Pray for Us!!!!!!

  88. ChristsFaithfulWitness says:

    Dear Fr. Z, There have been — for at least three decades — liberal dioceses in the United States where pastors allow divorced remarried Catholic couples to receive communion (without an annulment). Not only that but in some dioceses and parishes people who actively self identify as homosexual play a prominent role in the church including priests who do the same. Orthodox Roman Catholics are persecuted in these dioceses — in the confessional, in their apostolate, you name it, they suffer. For me, that this scandal broke out at the synod was good news. The Doctor, the Holy Spirit, can not clean out the infection unless we take off the bandaid and expose the wound to the Light. That’s what happens in confession, but if some in the Church are hiding their infections and not exposing them to the Light in confession then God will expose them Himself. The German bishops are exposed to the Light. The Holy Spirit will deal with them. I don’t know who He will use or how He will accomplish this, but the Truth will win out in this process. Yes, it is disturbing that the secular media has gone ape over the false narrative of the Synod, and have jumped on the German bandwagon. But this is God’s punishment. When people refuse the Truth, He lets them make that choice, and they become blind men with empty water jars. It’s distressing, but I do not believe that Jesus Christ is a liar, and He said He would “be with” the Church to the end of time. So I know He is ultimately in charge. God bless you. Susan Fox blogger at

  89. The Masked Chicken says:

    Philosophy should, ideally, be at the service of theology. When it becomes separated from it, all Hell breaks loose. It occurred to me, yesterday, that the two major foundational modern theories in physics, quantum mechanics and relativity, were proposed by the same groups that derailed Vatican II – the Germans and Dutch of the Rhineland region. Einstein, a German, proposed Relativity and Heisenberg (German), Schroedinger (Austrian), Bohr (Danish) developed Quantum Mechanics. Is this mere coincidence? I think not. Going back to Mach and Helmholtz in the 1860’s, Germany had been a follower of the systematic acquisition of knowledge about the physical world which we call, science, today, but by that time had, really, become a sort of scientism – the over-arching worship of the scientific process. It was in this atmosphere that the Vienna Circle of logicians and philosophers of the early twentieth-century developed the notions of logical positivism that, essentially, require all knowledge to be empirical and measurable.

    The notion that science and theology could be blended begins in earnest with Kant, but finds it full flower in Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and from there it spreads to France (which had already abandoned theology during the Enlightenment) and Italy, where it begins to affect Catholic thought. Higher Criticism of Scripture, while not starting in Germany, finds its expression in Wellhausen and Bultmann in the later nineteenth-century who all but gave up on Jesus as a real historical figure. Since science can only deal with empirical aspects of nature, theology began to be reduced to what could be known empirically and religion was reduced to a sentiment, a shared reaction, among peoples.

    Basically, one has to wonder if, for many German theologians, the notion of a transcendent God makes any sense. Modernism is directly connected with the rise of the scientific method. Unfortunately, although Hayek was wrong in thinking that one cannot adapt the methods and philosophies of empirical science to the study of societies, he is correct in applying this to theology, which admits supernatural revelation.

    My point is that there is little doubt why European Catholicism is dying. It is the loss of the supernatural or, more correctly, an abandonment of the supernatural for the natural. America was, believe it or not, slow to develop in the natural sciences – much slower than Europe. This is one reason why the decay of religion in America has been so much slower than in Europe. Unfortunately, and I say this sadly, The Church does not seem to realize that wherever a scientific mindset that admits only empirical data takes hold, the Church dries up. There is a correct philosophy which is associated with Christianity. St. Edith Stein devotes a section of her masterwork, Finite and Eternal Being, to this topic. There are many philosophies that are at odds with Christianity and materialism, the basis for modern science, is one of them.

    Ask yourself – what common characteristics do countries where the Faith is growing, today, have? The answer is that there is little wide-spread dissemination of scientific ideology among the general population coupled with a low standard of living that keeps people focused on immediate necessities and resistant to propaganda (as Eric Hoffer noted) . In Africa, in parts of India, the Faith is growing because science is not growing. Given enough time and money, their Faith will grow as cold as Europe. There is nothing special about Africa, as a whole. It is known from demographics studies that there is a lock-step correlation between rising wealth and the adaptation of Western technology and the adoption of contraception. It will happen in Africa, given enough time and money.

    My point is that Germany, while much farther along on the Church decay scheme than most of the world, is not unique. In their current state, like any infected cells, they will attempt to infect others. If the Church does not constantly wash its hands and purify itself, it too, will be weakened to the point of collapse by the infection from within.

    Sadly, Vatican II, if it had been implemented properly, would have addressed these issues, so that scientism would not have overrun theology. Unfortunately, the materialists and Modernists prevented this from happening, substituting their notions in the ambiguities of the documents. The Church has never really addressed its proper place in, “The Modern World,” and, until it does, I am afraid that the idolatry of misunderstood science and its relationship to theology will continue to weaken the Church. It is not enough to put down the boot heel of doctrine in Germany or America or the like. It must be explained to the Faithful why theology has a right to be considered a valid source of truth. Until then, the divorced and re-married, who see little of the Transcendent in the neurology of sex, will continue to hold that sex is just as much a good as God.

    The German bishops are a symptom, not a cause. Dealing with the relationship between revealed and empirical knowledge is the crucial problem in solving the flight from religion. The Protestant principle of Private Judgment encapsulates this conflict between the authority of man and the authority of God and it continues to march through history under various guises, infecting and re-infecting after every temporary defeat (such as occurred at the Council of Trent). Its current manifestations as Modernism in theology and Scientism in science is nothing more than the continual fight Fallen Man must wage against idols. If anything in the New Testament can save us, it is the continual, almost manic plea that the Redeemed avoid idols – even if those idols are put to numbers.

    The Chicken

  90. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The Masked Chicken,

    Do you happen to have anything to say about such Dutch and German critics of the derailment of ‘science’ to ‘applied science’, technology, scientism, and so on, at the service of the libido dominandi, as Johan Huizinga and Eric(h) Voegelin?

  91. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    A friend of mine, who is a deacon in the Orthodox Church, told me once that, if a bishop preaches or teaches heresy, not only are the faithful not obliged to follow his leadership, they ARE obliged NOT to follow said bishop’s leadership!

    Not that things are perfect in the Orthodox Churches, but I think we separated brethren can learn something from them.

    On a related note, I think we Roman Catholics would do better to deepen our understanding of the Orthodox Churches, and find a way to seek reunion with them, before we “make nice” with other religions, or water down our beliefs to accommodate our fellow Christians of other denominational households.

Comments are closed.