The true “pseudo-schismatic” Church in Germany

Team Francis and the New catholic Red Guards who march and sloganeer for them have been hurling, as anxious chimps do their poo, the word “schism” at Catholics who are worried that Catholic doctrine is being made obscure or even being watered down, thus, threatened.

For the most part the epithet “schism” has been used against anglophone writers and also those who write with or often associate with them by the very people who – as “pseudo-schismatics” – did nothing by bitch at and about John Paul II and Benedict XVI for some three decades.

Today there is a good piece at Crisis – everyday more valuable – about the antics of the present day caput malorum omnium.  No, not the Society of Jesus, though they are hard upon the heels of the front-runner.  The Church in Germany.

The German bishops announced they were going to have a “binding synod” to which they would invite prominent lay people, mostly liberals, progressivists (“pseudo-schismatics”).

What could go wrong?

Francis, the guy the Team is named after, said, “Don’t.”  They, stomping their feetsies, said, “We wanna!”.  The Congregation for Bishops said, “Don’t.  It won’t be an ecclesial act.”  Card. Marx responded.  “Up yours.”

Let’s pull some gold from the Crisis piece, which lines up the issues clearly.  My emphases and comments.


Reinhard Cardinal Marx, head of the German bishops’ conference, is planning to convene a two-year-long “binding synod,” in which certain influential laymen will be invited to participate. Its stated topics are a laundry list of progressive euphemisms: [1] the “authority and separation of powers” (Gallicanism), [2] “sexual morality” (legitimizing adultery and homosexuality), [3] “the priestly mode of life” (abolishing clerical celibacy), [4] and “women at the service of ecclesiastical offices” (female deacons, priests and bishops).

In June, Pope Francis sent a letter rebuking his ally Marx and all the participating bishops, ordering them not to go ahead with the sham synod. Marx ignored the pontiff. Then, last week, the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops sent a letter to Marx informing him that the synod was “not ecclesiologically valid,” and that he was not to proceed in defiance of the Pope.

In his reply to the Congregation’s head, Cardinal Marx absolutely refused to comply with the Holy See’s orders, saying:

We hope that the results of forming an opinion [on these matters] in our country will also be helpful for the guidance of the Universal Church and for other episcopal conferences on a case-by-case basis. In any case, I cannot see why questions about which the Magisterium has made determinations should be withdrawn from any debate, as your writings suggest… Countless believers in Germany consider [these issues] to be in need of discussion.


That, dear friends, is how you say, “Up yours!” in Germano-Churchese.

Irony alert.  As writer at Crisis also pointed out, Francis even went so far as to issue a stamp in honor of Martin Luther.  How’s that stamp looking now?

“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

Later in the Crisis piece..

Having said that, Francis’s papacy has been full of encouragement for liberal firebrands like Cardinal Marx. [1] Authority and separation of powers? Anyone who prefers a decentralized Church structure would welcome the concordat with China’s brutal communist regime. [2] Sexual morality? Francis’s steadfast refusal to clarify certain passages in Amoris Laetitia has led to widespread uncertainty as to the Holy See’s line on welcoming the divorced-and-“remarried” to receive Holy Communion. [3] Priestly mode of life? The upcoming Amazon Synod will ask whether clerical celibacy should be suspended in countries with low recruitment to the priesthood; only one man entered the seminary in Cardinal Marx’s diocese in 2016. Women at the service of ecclesiastical offices? [4] Francis has said there’s “no certainty” whether or not women can receive sacramental ordination to the diaconate.

Here’s where suspicion sector of my cerebellum starts jumping up and down and waving its hands.  Other than the fact that the German Church is modernist nut house right now, and that nut houses produce nutty results, one also has to wonder if this is some longer term ploy.  This business of a “binding synod” in Germany and the back and forth with Rome makes me think of a pantomime horse: the two parts obviously, hence comically, don’t function in sync with each other. Then the charade is over and it comes apart.  Meanwhile, over in the main ring, the real show is taking place.

Is this a distraction from the problems of the upcoming Synod on the Amazon?  Germans are fueling that goat rodeo, too.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. maternalView says:

    If Pope Francis is all about power as some say then it will be interesting to see if Marx suffers any consequences for his defiance.

  2. romanrevert says:

    Perhaps they are playing the old “good prelate, bad prelate” in that they appear to be at odds, when in fact, the German Church and Francis are working toward the same goal. There will be the usual feigned resistance by Rome but then it will be accepted as “accompaniment.” I don’t trust either group. I trust the ancient Faith – something that left Rome and Germany years ago.

  3. surritter says:

    “That, dear friends, is how you say, ‘Up yours!’ in Germano-Churchese.”
    Ha ha! Well summarized, dear Fr. Z!

  4. VP says:

    There are no coincidences. The Germans’ gesture came at the same time as discussion about the Amazon Synod went into overdrive.

    Let us pray to the Rain Forest for deliverance.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    St. Francis Solano was a great saint of South America.

    Heck, there are lots of great saints of South America. Maybe we should start asking them for some serious intercession, as well as helping some bishops get some common sense.

  6. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    In June, Pope Francis sent a letter rebuking his ally Marx and all the participating bishops, ordering them not to go ahead with the sham synod.

    Now that’s rich, considering the Pope knows a thing or two about sham synods.

  7. Gaetano says:

    Given the recent narrative that conservatives in the U.S. were threatening schism is this not a case of Germans accusing their enemy of exactly what they are guilty of.
    Because certain Germans have done that before…

  8. Amerikaner says:

    When I think of certain German prelates, or the overall sense of the German church, in my mind I get the image of the Eye of Sauron for some reason.

  9. TonyO says:

    Great commentary Fr. Z, and everyone else.

    Since Pius XII (maybe even earlier, I don’t know), the Vatican has found it very, very difficult to muster the courage to punish wayward bishops for anything. Even McCarrick did not get punished until his crimes became front page news for weeks. You can well imagine that the current Vatican might be very irritated at Card. Marx and others from going ahead with their “synod”, but (a) there’s safety in numbers – the Vatican surely isn’t going to depose ALL of the bishops that attend; and (b) the Vatican isn’t likely to come up with a lesser punishment that the Pope is willing to levy onto Marx, his usual colleague in rotten teaching. So Marx is, almost certainly correctly, counting on no SUBSTANTIVE response from the Vatican other than “It Wasn’t Valid”. And as to that: if 3/4 of the German bishops start acting like it was binding, what is the Vatican going to do that is effective? Nada.

    This, my friends, is the picture of permanent revolution. Once you have the (revolution) tiger by the tail, you can’t ever let go, and it will take you wherever IT wants to go, not where you want to go. Liberals like Francis and his st. Gallen mafia supporters might have a specific agenda in mind, but once they let loose the dogs of “pay no mind to rules and the authorities”, they cannot leash those dogs again.

    It is a shame that we cannot borrow the same tactics of ignoring all the rules. But we have a weapon they don’t have: God’s Providence. We already know how the contest ends, we who stay with God’s side win. It may take a while.

  10. The Cobbler says:

    The image of the horse costume reminds me of a Dudley Do-Right episode in which Snidley Whiplash, realizing that Dudley’s horse is the competent member of the duo (and indeed of the whole mountie camp), determines to kidnap said horse by seducing it in a horse costume, or something.

    Quoth Whiplash’s minion: “How come I always figure in the tail end of your plans?”

    Quoth Whiplash: “Button up your horse suit.”

    It’s coming back to me gradually, now. I believe Snidely predicted, correctly, that the loss of the bravest and most respected member of the force would cause the mounties to be distraught and to wander off aimlessly into the woods. Then Dudley somehow runs into Snidley still wearing his half of the horse costume (“I know I got into it, but now the zipper’s stuck!”), mistakes him for a centaur (Dudley being Dudley, the fact that this centaur is inverted doesn’t occur to him let alone phase him), and… well after that I don’t remember much, though I think he rode on Snidley for a bit. Maybe Nell rescued the horse and thereby saved the mountie camp? Dudley Do-Right was sometimes a bit subversive for a show that looks like it was from the fifties.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Cardinal Marx and Germany. Maybe Tacitus can shed some light on this, from “Germania”:

    “Their holy places are woods and groves…

    For omens and the casting of lots they have the highest regard. Their procedure in casting lots is always the same. They cut off a branch of a nut-bearing tree and slice it into strips; these they mark with different signs and throw them completely at random onto a white cloth. Then the priest of the state, if the consultation is a public one, or the father of the family if it is private, offers a prayer to the gods, and looking up at the sky picks up three strips, one at a time, and reads their meaning from the signs previously scored on them.

    …Although the familiar method of seeking information from the cries and the flight of birds is known to the Germans, they have also a special method of their own – to try to obtain omens and warnings from horses. These horses are kept at the public expense in the sacred woods and groves that I have mentioned…The priest and the king, or the chief of the state, yoke them to a sacred chariot and walk beside them, taking note of their neighs and snorts.

    …When not engaged in warfare they spend a certain amount of time in hunting, but much more in idleness, thinking of nothing else but sleeping and eating.

    …They play at dice when they are sober.”

    A new St. Boniface would be welcome.

  12. JMody says:

    So can’t we say that Reinhard Card. Marx is at least as SCHISMATIC as Abp. Lefebvre/Bishop Fellay? Isn’t he saying “I recognize you as the head of the Church but I am doing what I think is correct given my charge to be the spiritual pastor of these people”? It certainly isn’t any LESS than SSPX’s action — but if you were a “Perfect Referee” looking at it in a zoo cage or museum case, which one is promoting Catholic ideas and which is promoting heretical codswallop, er, “Mist”, wie die bei der Reinhard sagen?

Comments are closed.