Those wacky Germans. At it again!

“Up?  No, that’s really Down”, they say.  “Black is white.”  “2+2=5”

What?!?  You don’t see it?  Then you must either be a hater or you are afraid of something, or maybe you are incapable of loving.  Maybe you are stupid.

Since Amoris laetitia these are the things we have heard in responses to the observations made by many rather smart people that there are internal inconsistencies in the document.  One inconsistency is the suggestion that a person who is in the state of mortal sin, and is unrepentant, can be admitted to Holy Communion according to however that sinner’s “conscience” allows.   Don’t see it?  You must be afraaaaaid to luuuuuuhv.

The fact that there are internal problems in Amoris and in the things people say Amoris proposes is borne out by the fact of internal conflicts of discipline in the Church.  One bishops conference says one thing, while a difference conference says another.   From diocese to diocese there are differing disciplines.  Something is seriously wrong when that happens.   There is more than a problem of praxis.  The problem stems from lack of clarity or consistency in doctrine that underpins the praxis.

I saw a story in German about how some … some bishops within the German bishops conference are asking for…. get this knee slapper… a clarification from Rome about whether the non-Catholic spouses of Catholics can be admitted to Communion… or not.

Disagreement over communion in the Episcopal Conference: Woelki and other bishops send a letter to the Vatican

Joachim Frank is chief correspondent of Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Berliner Zeitung and Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.

In the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference there has been a serious dispute over the question of inter-communion for Protestant Christians. Without previous agreement with the chairman, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, seven bishops, led by the Cologne Cardinal Rainer Woelki, have approached the Vatican. They consider unlawful a pastoral mandate for mixed marriages decided on February 20 by the Episcopal Conference by a two-thirds majority, since in their view it violates the Catholic doctrine and unity of the Church.

In the view of the minority, the Bishops’ Conference exceeds their competence if, as provided for in the document, they open Communion for Protestant Christians who are married to a Catholic partner and wish to share church life with him in the Communion. In the face of several open dogmatic and canonical questions, the bishops in their letter to the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” ask the Vatican for help and clarification. Specifically, the letter went to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Ladaria, as well as to the “Ecumenical Minister” of the Vatican, Cardinal Kurt Koch.

Three-page letter

In addition to Woelki, the three-page letter was also signed by Bishop Archbishop Ludwig Schick and bishops Konrad Zdarsa (Augsburg), Gregory Maria Hanke (Eichstätt), Wolfgang Ipolt (Görlitz), Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg) and Stefan Oster (Passau). The focus of opposition to Marx and the majority of bishops is thus in Bavaria, where Marx is also chairman of the Bavarian Bishops’ Conference.

Conflict calls to mind Meisner

The process is unprecedented in recent church history. It recalls the conflict between the German bishops and the then Pope John Paul II on pregnant women’s counseling. The former Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner had turned in July 1999 in a single-handed direct letter to the Pope, because he did not want to support the majority vote of his confreres to remain in the state advisory system for reasons of conscience. Meisner’s intervention had a few months later a papal instruction to exit the consultation result.

In a reply to the seven authors, Marx reveals his concern about their approach and emphasizes that this request for help refers only to a draft text [!] in which changes are still possible. The expressed doubts of the seven bishops expressly rejects Marx. Marx sent his answer on April 4 to both the Vatican and all German bishops.

Ahhh… that’s the safe out.  It’s only a “draft”!  It can be set aside or amended.  Right?

The problem is this: How in the world would a bunch of bishop ever come with this harebrained scheme in the first place?  How would such monumentally stupid thing garner enough votes as to pass even a first scrutiny?   How is it that only 7 of the German bishops raised a fuss about this?

This is madness.

I direct the readership’s attention back the the well-measured new book by Ross Douthat.  The book isn’t perfect, but he describes well what is going on today and… for the most part… why.   Remember: Wile E. Coyote hates the book.   That’s incentive enough to get it.

See the long and excellent new piece about this book at the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald.  HERE

To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Pò sì jiù, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. richiedel says:

    The pencil felt thick and awkward in his fingers. He began to write down the thoughts that came into his head. He wrote first in large clumsy capitals:


    Then almost without a pause he wrote beneath it:


    But then there came a sort of check. His mind, as though shying away from something, seemed unable to concentrate. He knew that he knew what came next, but for the moment he could not recall it. When he did recall it, it was only by consciously reasoning out what it must be: it did not come of its own accord. He wrote:


    He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had been altered.

    – George Orwell, 1984, Part 3, Chapter 4

  2. aquinas138 says:

    As a convert of 20 years this Easter, I can only wonder: if you want “to share church life with [your spouse] in the Communion,” why not become Catholic? Something I’m missing?

  3. frjimt says:

    A great reason to abolish ‘bishops conferences’, for as we’ve seen so often, they become bully pulpits for those suffering from that dreaded, often untreatable, if not caught early: TMS (tight mitre syndrome)

  4. chantgirl says:

    Hmmm. The Germans also seem to think that the catechism is a draft document.

    [Not to mention, Sacred Scripture.]

  5. Malta says:

    My grandfather was a B-17 Pilot and literally killed thousands of Nazis. The German’s are very clever, but there is a sinister element in their culture to this day. The Catholic church their is still influenced by Luther.

  6. Malta says:

    I would also add that I was in the Navy during Desert Storm and I was in the FBI, my dad was a soldier in Vietnam, my Uncle was a soldier during the Korean War; my great Uncle fought in WWI; I come from a very hard-core military family line. It’s ironic that I’m the only Catholic–except for my grandmother–in my family tree. But we don’t like weirdos. I think the German Catholic church is filled with weirdos.

  7. ChrisP says:

    This brings to mind the old quote:
    One German makes a philosopher, two a public meeting, three a war.

    One must pray for them: they really are infected badly by modernism.

  8. Ben Kenobi says:

    Had people told me that I’d be watching a Catholic cardinal tell me that my conversion was for naught… I wouldn’t have believed you. So terribly sad.

  9. BJard says:

    Maybe they can join father Martin and start a new church of what’s happening now.

  10. Rob83 says:

    Good for the 7 for raising their voices. They are probably most of whatever opposition there was in the episcopal conference, as Germany only has 27 active ordinaries right now and a 2/3 majority I think means at least 18 of 27 went along with this “draft” insanity. This would seem to call for fasting and prayer for the CDF to reply with the proper response to the German bishops conference.

  11. TonyO says:

    Let’s not forget that just a couple years ago a priest at St. Peter’s gave a group of Lutheran visitors Communion after they had visited the Pope – even though they indicated they were not “in line” to receive. The priest “insisted”. Some time earlier, the Pope was claimed to have told a Lutheran woman to “Talk to the Lord and then go forward.”

    Canon 844 article 4 does allow for Communion to be given to non-Catholics in some situations:

    If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

    The problem with the German conference is that they KNOW DARN WELL that generically, Lutherans DO NOT manifest Catholic faith in respect of Holy Communion. And they also know darn well that being married to a Catholic spouse is not a situation of “grave necessity”. So their drafting such a rule is completely contrary to Canon Law. The problem with the Vatican is that we have a Pope who does not believe in the rule of law, he feels like law is an impediment to charity, and apparently would like nothing better than to tell people to “talk to the Lord, then go forward” as if that REPLACES obedience to law. The mere fact that Canon Law clearly prohibits what the German conference is trying to do should not give us confidence that this is what the CDF will say.

  12. ServusChristi says:

    It makes me shudder when I’m reminded of Pope Francis’ words in the meeting with the Lutherans regarding interfaith communion. His words were something along the lines of ‘ask God, then proceed’. It’s as though past Popes, doctors of the church and the Holy Office in the past as well as Cardinal Sarah in the present haven’t touched on the topic of interfaith communion.

  13. Andreas says:

    Father Z.; I fear that the afflictions you herein describe are transnational; your comments of a couple of months back regarding the new Bishop of Innsbruck have unfortunately proven to be spot on.

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    Regarding the Communion of non-Catholic spouses of Catholics, whilst it is true that an individual Bishop can in particular situations, considered particularly, carefully, and individually, grant faculties to such persons under some strict conditions to partake of the Eucharist at the Mass, the only cases that I am aware of where such faculties are granted collectively, by exception, are in some Masses with a Plenary Indulgence attached to them and where a particular provision exists either traditionally or punctually for those particular Masses only, and a very old indult for non-Catholic foot pilgrims to some major Shrines (applicable to horse, bicycle, wheelchair, etc pilgrims too, but not those travelling by public or private means of motor transport except a motorised wheelchair) under some clear conditions, including first valid Baptism, also sine qua non the belief and profession of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic Species, absence of a state of mortal sin (not necessarily achievable Sacramentally for some non-Catholics), impossibility of fulfilling their Days of Obligation in a service of their own Church, denomination, or sect. The Indulgence for the foot pilgrims exists for a reason not only of Mercy towards some unable otherwise to attend services in their Days of Obligation, but also for the reason that to undertake a foot pilgrimage to a major Catholic Shrine constitutes an Act of Conversion towards Catholic Religion (a similar permission is sometimes, albeit I understand rarely, granted to non-Catholic parents of some converts to Catholic Faith as a Sacramental recognition that the Christian upbringing that they have provided has helped their child towards Catholicism, so that they have intended what the Church intends in the Vocation of Christian parenthood).

    But as I understanding no Bishop and no Bishops Conference can implement the sorts of broad permissions that these Germans have proposed, as this is a matter that can only belong to the Petrine Ministry, which is the source of all of the above exceptions to the general rule that, outside certain emergency cases, non-Catholics and others not in the state of Sacramental Grace cannot receive any other Sacraments than Baptism and, God willing, Reconciliation.

    In other words, to paraphrase the great Saint Augustine, Roma silenta; causa non est.

  15. JabbaPapa says:

    Me : a similar permission is sometimes, albeit I understand rarely, granted to non-Catholic parents of some converts to Catholic Faith

    To clarify, at the Confirmation Mass of their child, or their Marriage Mass ONLY ; but not outside those extraordinary circumstances, and it also absolutely requires the Bishop’s express permission of course.

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