(Bonn) German moral and pastoral theologians spring to the side of Zollitsch and Marx in their struggle against Catholic moral teaching. In the course of the confrontation of the German bishops with Rome, the bishops had been defeated. Despite the "wish" of a group of bishops expressed to Pope Francis, not to raise Gerhard Ludwig Müller Prefect of the Congregation of Doctrine and the Faith to Cardinal, the German Prefect will obtain his biretta on 22 February.
"The church needs to change its stance on sexual morality. The year is 2014 AD. It's been years since we entered the third millennium. It's really impossible that Rome still thinks of celibacy and marriage as alternatives that give meaning to life. "In short, old habits are finally halted, its necessary to turn to the new, to the moderns, what people want and do anyway. These and others like them voice the black and white opinion of leading representatives of the Association of German Moral Theologians and the Conference of the German-speaking Pastoral Theologians (Use of inclusive language to include women).
In the first case it is according to its own definition a congregation of those teaching at German universities and research-and emeritus professors of moral theology. In the second, it includes the same faculty members of the departments of Pastoral Theology from all over German-speaking countries, including the Netherlands.
"Collective Answer" German Moral and Pastoral Theologians Conform in Line with Zollitsch & Marx
"20 moral and pastoral theologians" replied jointly to the Roman questionnaire on the preparatory document of the Synod of Bishops on the topic of family. Involved are moral and pastoral theologians from various universities. emeritus professors of Münster, Mainz, Graz, Benediktbeuren, Tilburg, Dortmund, as well as the promoters of school sex education John Gründel (Munich) and Hans Kramer (Bochum). Among the resources is to be found the Viennese moral theologian Gunter Prüller-Jagenteufel , who is married to the director of the Pastoral Office of the Archdiocese of Vienna, Veronika Prüller-Jagenteufel, as well as Eberhard Schockenhoff of Freiburg in Breisgau, the Jesuit Josef Schuster of St. Georgen. More surprising in this circle is the pastoral theologian and Cistercian Norbert Stigler of the University of Heiligenkreuz [They're supposed to be good...] near Vienna.
They are proposing to overcome the Doctrine of the Faith, which expresses a moral judgment on the sexual behavior of individuals. Sexuality is a private matter and its nobody's business, neither the Church nor God. It was time for a paradigm shift that is based on the fragility of marriage and personal experiences in the sexual area. The sexual morality is necessarily founded on "vulnerability", which should be recognized and supported.
Rome must finally realize that the hour has come to define marriage anew: "Marriage must profile itself as a sheltering vulnerable, not a necessary institution." Marriage redefined by "palliative," "emancipatory" and "reflexive dimension" of the "vulnerability" of human sexuality.
"More compassion, Less Punishment" - Changing Practice, Unaltered Teaching
The 20 signatories of the appeal given here are only a mouthpiece. Not that they would ask, no, were they faithful. A look at the professorial responses shows what they think about revolutionary "change". Of course, everything is demanded in the name of "more compassion".
"More compassion, and less punishment, which is roughly equivalent to what the majority of the German bishops have written on their banners for some time," said Matteo Matzuzzi, the Vatican expert from Il Foglio . Church teaching only finds "acceptance" in theory, but is hardly practiced by the majority of believers. It should be obvious "that a Christian moral teaching on sexuality will only be addressed in the context of marriage, can't be stressed enough, when so many manifestations of sex are outside of marriage" moral and pastoral theologians know to say.
Praise for "Hand Out" of the Archdiocese of Freiburg
The professorial document absorbed in a startling and comprehensive way what has been expressed in recent months by representatives of the German episcopate, especially the now retired Archbishop of Freiburg, who is still chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch. Accordingly the praise for the controversial "handout" of the Pastoral Office for Family of Zollitsch's Archdiocese of Freiburg is highlighted: "The most important 'pastoral' plan could be termed the 'Handout to accommodate people in separation, divorce and after civil remarriage' from the Archdiocese of Freiburg, which wants to make the philanthropic and respectful attitude of Jesus consistent to the measure of ecclesiastical concern for remarried divorcees. It took numerous impulses from the productive moral-theological discourse of the last two decades."
At the end of January, the Permanent Council of the Bishops' Conference will address the "handout" in preparation for the Spring General Assembly. Several impatient German bishops urge to allow the divorced and remarried to the sacraments. They are attempting to touch up a growing chasm and prevent the breaking away of a large group. The Freiburg "handout" is to be officially recognized for pastoral care without officially changing doctrine, but probably to change the Church's practice [praxis].
Müller's Criticism, German Stubbornness
The "handout" has already been condemned by the Prefect of the Faith,Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who described it as contrary to Catholic doctrine. Müller demanded from Rome to withdraw the document. But the German bishops do not want to give in. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich-Freising Zollitsch jumped presently into the mix with the weighty voice of the European Church. Marx is President of the European Bishops' Conferences COMECE and representative of Europe in the C8 Council of Pope Francis.
The applause at home moves them more than the exhortations and warnings of Rome. The bishops are operating a high-risk gamble in the hope that Rome, in fear of a possible schism and the loss of the German wallet, gives in, or at least acts as if nothing had happened. The ideal case, is that in which the German church has operated successfully for decades. Rarely has such a harsh light shown on "German arrogance" as in the moment when Zollitsch and Marx stated publicly, that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict XVI. appointed and Pope Francis confirmed as supreme guardian of orthodoxy, has to change his mind, they say.
German bishops Did not Want Müller as Cardinal
The smoldering underground conflict of latent schism in the German Church therefore became an open and violent collision. The Passau newspaper Neue Presse reported a few days ago that a group of German bishops had suggested to Pope Franzikus, to remove Prefect Müller from the list of new cardinals.
An equally extraordinary and unprecedented action in the relationship between the German Church and the Vatican.The weekly newspaper Der Spiegel was trying to assist in their own way the episcopal concern by writing that prefect Müller was "the most stubborn opponent" of the Pope, and published a negative opinion by Hans (Fog) Küng about him, and who of course designated him with a negative connotation, as "the new Ottaviani ".[Hardly, he's more of a "New Panzerkardinal"]
Pope Francis Can Not Meddle in Personnel Decisions
But Pope Francis was not impressed by the greed of some German bishops. Overall, the Catholic Church leader can not meddle in personnel decisions. Especially not to change decisions already made, as evidenced cases of a very different bearing, such as the heavily criticized appointment of Msgr Ricca as domestic prelate of the Vatican Bank, or the Monday clear-cutting in the Commission of Cardinals of the Vatican Bank. Only the new Cardinal Tauran, who is loyal to the Pope, was confirmed.
In a Tornielli interview, Pope Francis addressed the pre-Christmas "handout" by Zollitsch and disagreed with the German design, in any case he he addressed the remarried divorcees position. In its content, however, the Pope did not respond to the question.
Since last Sunday, when the pope also named Archbishop Müller among the newly appointed cardinals, it was clear that for the German bishops, however, that their demand letter in which they wanted to thwart the appointment of Müller , was returned unopened to the sender, and likewise Hans Küng's heckling went unheard. End of January, the bishops will have to decide whether it will be dissuaded by the papal signal from open confrontation?
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Il Foglio
Image: Il Foglio
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org