Another Cardinal stands up to Card. Marx and German bishops:

His Eminence Kurt. Card. Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity (Card. Kasper’s old billet), has firmly rejected the progressivist notions which Card. Müller called “absolutely anti-Catholic”.  From LifeSite with my emphases and comments:

Vatican cardinal tells German bishops: We can’t adapt the faith to the times like Christians did under the Nazis

ROME, March 26, 2015 ( – An influential Swiss cardinal at the Vatican has warned Germany’s bishops that the Church cannot merely adapt itself to the times as some Christians did in order to support the Nazis.

In an interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, Cardinal Kurt Koch firmly (but politely) refuted the proposal of Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, both delegates to the upcoming Synod on the Family, that the Catholic Church has to adjust herself more to the “life realities” of Catholics today, and liberalize its attitude toward remarried divorcees. Cardinal Marx had even declared that the German bishops will make their pastoral decisions independently of Rome.  [Boooo!]

Cardinal Koch’s comments followed a strong rebuke of Cardinal Marx by German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes. “A Cardinal cannot easily separate the pastoral approach from the teaching,” Cardinal Cordes said, “unless he wants to ignore the binding meaning of Christ’s words and the binding words of the Council of Trent.”

Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that Bode’s words should remind us of a similar historical situation: namely the time of the Third Reich, where the “German Christians” adjusted their faith to the worldview of National Socialism, namely its racist and nationalistic ideas. [Wow.  That will get their attention.] He said: “Let us think of the ‘German Christians’ during the time of National Socialism, when, next to the Holy Scripture, they also raised up the Nation and the Race as sources of revelation, against which the Theological Declaration of Barmen (1934) [which rejected the submission of the Protestant churches under the state] protested. We have to differentiate very carefully here and listen with sensitivity to the signs of the times – and to the spirit that reveals itself in these signs: Which ones are signs of the Gospel, which ones are not?”

With this comment, Koch made clear that it is not the Catholic Church’s mission to adapt her irreformable teaching to the spirit of the time, the Zeitgeist, but, rather, the Church has to follow Christ’s teaching at all times, throughout history.

In this context, it is wise to point to that part of German history, where many Christians, mainly Protestants of the movement called “German Christians,” subjected parts of Christ’s teaching under the ideology of Adolf Hitler. Such an adaptation might have sounded convincing at the time, but there will also always be a “time after,” where many Christians then had to regret their inordinate submission to such a false teaching.

In reference to our own time, we can apply Cardinal Koch’s words and determine not to adapt to a morally lax atmosphere that has spread throughout the Western world since the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which now also permeates more and more of the culture of the Catholic Church. The standard of Christ is still applicable now, and will always be – it is timely, and timeless.

[NB] Cardinal Koch thus insisted that it is dangerous to declare “life realities” as a third source of revelation: “To see how and in which way people are living their Faith today, is of course helpful and important, in order to recognize the challenges of the pastoral duties of the Church. However, this [the “life realities”] cannot be a third reality of the revelation next to Holy Scripture and the Magisterium.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. pseudomodo says:

    I was wondering when someone was going to bring up the nazi angle.

    The German bishops were starting to sound like ” The Master Race” within the Church.

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    Why isn’t the entire College of Cardinals composed of such men? Cardinals Cordes, Koch, Muller, Burke, Pell – other Cardinals and bishops whose names I can’t recall at this moment. The gifts of wisdom and fortitude have not been wasted on these men and their faithful confreres. Their willingness to risk the loss of favor to speak the Truth to pastors grown cold and cowardly is inspiring. I never use the word, but in the current climate I can say without hyperbole that they are “awesome”. You hearten us. Thank you, good pastors.

  3. SimonDodd says:

    Benedict Joseph, might I suggest that the reason may be that the entire College of Cardinals has been appointed by men who thought Vatican II was a great idea, who therefore appointed cardinals who thought likewise, and that the “Vatican II mindset,” might, perhaps, arguably not lead to men speaking forthrightly and directly? Not, mind you, that I am in any way insinuating the validity of a LeFebvrian reject of that little which the council taught, but not even our beloved Pope-emeritus, not to the very end of his public life, could emancipate himself of the assumption that the council was basically a good thing in the life of the Church. He and John Paul certainly thought that it had been twisted and misrepresented, but despite the left’s caricature of them as enemies of the council, they were men of the council through and through, and so they were bound to appoint cardinals who were men of the council. And let’s not even get started on this one.

  4. CharlesG says:

    It’s wonderful that these German curial cardinals are speaking out, but are there any decent orthodox diocesan bishops in Germany? Any that are willing to stick their heads above the parapet and possibly get shot down by the German “Magic Circle”?

  5. ChrisRawlings says:

    Yes, Charles, there are. The bishop of Regensburg and the bishop of Passau, Stephen Oster, come to mind. Bishop Oster, by the way, is magnificent and, I kid you not, may be pope some day. He reminds me quite a lot of St. John Paul II and ecclesial leadership like that does not come around very often

  6. jacobi says:

    Good for Cardinal Koch.

    This issue of separate so-called “pastoral “ approach is not minor. It is profoundly important and in essence involves not theology but doctrine. If any bishop diverts from Rome and allows those in an objective state of mortal sin to receive Holy Communion then they are stepping deliberately over the line into an official position of heresy.

    As such they are at least in schism, are possibly formally heretical and may indeed have incurred excommunication.

    They are no longer Catholics. As bishops they have no right any more to address themselves to Rome. As Cardinals, they can no longer, for instance, be involved in the election of a pope.

    The time for flannelling has come and gone. A split within Germanic Catholicism now seems highly likely and the Vatican and all of us should speak out clearly on this matter, as the Holy Father has requested us to do.

  7. Pingback: PopeWatch: Cardinal Koch | The American Catholic

  8. Christ_opher says:

    Someone once said to me that Pope Benedict was Prophetic. It was Pope Benedict that said in Germany Stand Firm! “Dissatisfaction and discontent begin to spread when people’s superficial and mistaken notions of Church, their dream Church, fail to materialise,” he said.

    Standing firm here in the Truth of our Faith. May the attempts to redefine the truth fail at the upcoming Synod.

    BTW King Henry the 8th of England tried to hold the church ransom over re-marriage and communion and failed.

  9. Random Friar says:

    The spirit of Bl. Clemens August Graf von Galen lives!

  10. robtbrown says:

    Good for Cardinal Koch, but two years ago suggested that the German bishops were acting like Nazis.

  11. Benedict Joseph says:

    Simon Dodd, my thoughts have often flowed down that same channel, but honestly, it’s just too difficult to navigate. Why didn’t John Paul and Benedict tackle with constitutionally strong measure the obvious ship wreck we were left with at the end of the Council? I can only assume they believed the prudent course was to let this work out, evolve if you will, and not commit an act that would bring further rupture. John Paul did much good, but Benedict’s resignation is a brutal memory. I think they were misguided now. Now we see, now we know, how the heterodox behave when they are at the wheel. There are no words…

  12. e.e. says:

    May God bless Cardinal Koch.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Thanks to Cardinal Koch and in honor of Cardinal Marx and his fellow stormtroopers, I’ll let Mel Brooks describe the situation:

    And now it’s…
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    Deutschland is happy and gay!
    We’re marching to a faster pace
    Look out, here comes the master race!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    Rhineland’s a fine land once more!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    Watch out, Europe
    We’re going on tour!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany…
    . . .
    Don’t be stupid. Be a smarty, come and join the Nazi party!

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