Germans and the White Thing

The German bishops have been driving the debate about admitting people to Communion who do not believe what the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist, priesthood, etc.   The Pope and the CDF have both said things (admittedly not enough) that ought to have signaled how very bad that idea is, but, no, since they are German bishops, they will continue to push.  After, they have the Church Tax income to protect.  Hence, as Fishwrap gleefully reports, they feel “obliged to stride forward”. “Courageously”.

How “courageous” are they? The German bishops released their document without any signature or the name of an office, etc. Hence, technically no one is putting his neck out and taking responsibility. How courageous.

A Lutheran pastor reposted comments by Msgr. Charles Pope.  They get it.

The main point they make, these days Communion has become, in the eyes of many Catholics, a sign of hospitality, welcome, feeling good about yourself.

Doctrine means nothing in the face of sentimentality.

I’m afraid that, for many – even priests and bishops – Communion is now the moment we get the white thing in our hands and then we sing the song.

The “white thing” is a sign that people here like me.  Hence, if I can’t have the “white thing” before we sing the song, I don’t feel good about myself in this setting… and that’s bad.  I’m supposed to feel good about myself.  You have to make me feel good about myself, or you are mean.  The white thing in the hand is the token that this is a nice place.

That’s what Communion is being reduced to: the white thing that means we are nice.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Orlando says:

    Spent the day yesterday walking around the Vatican with my family, it was a zoo as usual. However what was empty except for a few nuns and some tourist was the side chapel in the Basilica where the precious Host was on exposition to be venerated. That should have had a line that was a mile long for that is our Savior not some nice paintings and old stones, but alas no it was practically empty. This tells me that the majority of Catholics no longer believe in what they profess to believe.

  2. Sawyer says:

    I think it’s symptomatic of a much bigger problem: the loss of supernatural faith in the Church. Many parishes have become merely social clubs and social action organizations with a religious veneer, dedicated to parishioners’ psychological well-being with positive messages of encouragement, not to worship and conversion. There’s little sense of a supernatural reality or mission. No depth of faith beyond Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

    Like Christian Smith observed, Christianity/Catholicism are degenerating into pathetic versions of themselves with the following beliefs: central to living a good and happy life is being nice, kind, pleasant, respectful, responsible, at work on self-improvement, taking care of one’s health, and doing one’s best to be successful. In a very real sense, that appears to be true of the faith commitment, insofar as this can be described as a faith commitment, held by a large percentage of Americans. These individuals, whatever their age, believe that religion should be centered in being “nice”–a posture that many believe is directly violated by assertions of strong theological conviction.

    Anyone who has not read the research of Christian Smith about the religious lives and faith of American teenagers and young adults should quickly become familiar with it. He accurately describes the dominant American religion, perhaps infecting much of the Christian world now. It’s so helpful for understanding what is going on and for making sense of the wacky things that people believe about Catholic/Christian faith and religious practice. There are plenty of articles that summarize his work. Some of his books are too heavy on statistics for the nonspecialist.

  3. Kevin says:

    Bishops…I blame the Bishops. They aren’t being shepherds. They aren’t teaching. Where are the Bishops? Some say they are proclaiming the new teachings of the church given by the Pope…there aren’t any new teachings. There is a lot of twisted interpreting but no new teachings. Where are the Bishops?!!!

  4. JARay says:

    Yes, the attitude of these German bishops is appalling. However I would like to add another dimension to this conundrum. Yesterday at morning Mass three classes of children were brought in from the school attached to the church. Most are (nominally) Catholics but it is obvious from their lack of knowledge about any of the responses at Mass (except for the Our Father), that they are quite unfamiliar with the Mass. Neither they, nor their parents, attend Mass on Sundays. Indeed, their only attendances at Mass are when they are brought in by their teachers to attend a school Mass. Yet they all trouped up to receive Holy Communion during this Mass. So, just how fit were these children to receive Holy Communion?!

  5. TonyO says:

    The German bishops released their document without any signature or the name of an office, etc. Hence, technically no one is putting his neck out and taking responsibility. How courageous.

    Wouldn’t that mean that it is also without any authority or standing? It is simply a bunch of words on paper. If the bishops don’t attest to those words as bishops then the words cannot carry any force or weight. They are mere wishes and opinions of persons with a soap box – just like any blogger. That’s how the German people should treat the document, like yet another manifesto by some stupid teenagers in a basement somewhere.

  6. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY LATE EXTRA – Big Pulpit

  7. Fr. Reader says:

    Durus est hic sermo!

  8. stephen c says:

    Almost all of us (not me, but I am old and I have been trained, in suffering, to understand that people are not ever going to be kind to each other in a way that even roughly approximates the love of God for all of us) feel a sort of idolatrous respect for “marriage”, even if the marriage is not between two faithful Christians. Married people create new people, they live lives of love, they are wonderful! And, in fact, marriage is a sacrament…

    But …. People who say marriage is a vocation that is as good as any other vocation are not telling the truth. God calls us to serve him, not to serve another human being. Of course it is more complicated than that, but marriage is not a vocation, marriage is what decent people do,when given the chance, and when they are not prepared to give up happiness in this life for the chance to show how much they love God above all things …. but it is not a vocation. Eternal kindness to a spouse, that is a vocation, but that is not the same thing as marriage ….

    I feel a lot of compassion for these German bishops. They have – and I hope I am right – they have, for the most part, decided to live a life in service to the Lord, and I am pretty sure they all believe (at least all the heterosexual ones, it pains me to say I have to point this out) that they would have been prosperous and happy family men, if they had not followed the vocation of a priest. And anyone who has not given up such a great gift probably cannot understand the magnitude of that sacrifice! But somewhere along the line, these poor German bishops apparently began to idolize the institution of male/female bonding. It is an understandable illusion, this desire to put a man who loves a woman and a woman who loves that man on a pedestal. After all, what is there, if one is not the sort of person who has not seen an angel here and there, and conversed with said angel, better in life than the love between a healthy fortunate man and a healthy fortunate woman? Who would not rather be in a happy marriage than be, say, rich or famous, and not in a happy marriage? But it is idolatrous to say that human marriage is a miracle, and it is simply wrong to say what the German bishops are reported to be saying. You know that, I know that, the only reason people pretend not to know that is because we are sad and do not love God and we feel idolatry for the institution, Christian or not, of marriage.

  9. JonPatrick says:

    How many words in our current Newspeak now have opposite meanings to their original. Like “tolerance” and “courageous”. Courageous now means to follow the Zeitgeist, to wear the LGBT T-shirt as virtue signaling, to go against some toothless imaginary “authority”. For real “courageous”, see the priests and people in China who refuse to knuckle under to the State run fake church, or many other examples where people follow God’s will at any cost.

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    I read somewhere on the internet (where we know all things are true) that PF decided that individual bishops should decide for themselves, such important issues such as inter-communion.

    My reaction to that was that one of the first, original 12 bishops made a decision for himself about a very important issue – the Divinity of Christ. That didn’t work out so well.

  11. clare joseph says:

    This is brilliant. Thank you, stephen c.

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