Monday, March 2, 2015
Quo Vadis: President of German Bishops' Council Wants to Give the Church to Prince of this World
Attempt to take stock after the Spring Plenary Meeting of the German Bishops' Conference. A kath.net commentary by Dr. Michael Schaefer to statements by Cardinal Marx and Bishop Bode
Hildesheim (kath.net) The German bishops and with them German Catholicism have stood against each other for many years in a growing tension. On one side is the felt the compulsion to defend Catholic doctrine within the meaning of the two previous Popes, and on the other hand, the desire to find a place for social development of the nation. This feeling of tension was reinforced by two other factors: one is the persistent depression in the face of accelerating and organizational measures barely glossing over the decline of Church life; on the other hand, the pressure of a predominantly 'reform-oriented' ecclesiastical system.
Ever since the introduction of the so-called dialogue process ("so-called" because it was played out with handpicked representatives of the ecclesiastical establishment largely behind closed doors) it became apparent that the willingness continue to bear the tension described, was on the wane. It suddenly become known by the two family synods in the world Church, that the question of divorced and remarried presented itself in the eyes of many bishops as the opportunity of a pastoral accommodation for one of the "hot potatoes" without making a too substantial shift from the teaching of the Church. It must have become all the harder after the Synod of last autumn in the insight tha a clear "yes" required for the proposed new features, as the promised majority (90% + x) of the world Church, was not possible.
With the Spring Plenary Assembly ended, the bishops have decided, and probably also irreversibly, started to take the bull by the horns. It is now clear that the German episcopate will take in the question of the divorced and remarried quite independently of the Synodal discussions in October in its own way. The battle cry of "We are not branches of Rome" can in make no room for interpretation in this matter.
The bishops should be clear that the "pastoral solution" to the question of the divorced and remarried can only be a beginning of the end for much of Catholic sexual morality. Because this is so in consideration of an oversized ball and chain for all those who want to be on equal footing with the surrounding society. Bishop Bode has with his notification on the necessary evaluation of cohabitation before marriage, a clear indication given that it - and certainly not just him - there there is a mandatory need for a program of increasing acceptance.
One would severely miss the importance of the meeting at Hildesheim, if they confined their views on the question of the divorced and remarried. Cardinal Marx (including obviously preeminent among the potential "dissident" bishops of Regensburg, Passau and Eichstätt) not only brought this issue forth with his brothers, but staged a coup in a major way. "The great history of Christianity is not behind us but before us" - this is not just a pithy statement, but an expression of a quite specific vision.
According to this vision it is from now on that Christianity will not come from the past, to read the tradition, but to design the future "experimentally". Faith cannot "be kept as a treasure", for the Church had rather take in view its upcoming world-historical mission: to be "useful for the unity of the human family." In the globalized world, it needs a religion that would bring together people from different backgrounds and to understand and moderate social tensions associated with the process of globalization. And no religion is better suited for this task than Christianity. "A globalized, universal church in a globalized world."
One can not deny the brilliance of this vision and the optimism with which it is presented.
The church that doesn't take itself too seriously, but is completely absorbed in the service of humanity - doesn't that sound wonderful? What role can it play faced by such tasks, yesterday the mood still hard pressing with facts about church attendance, lack of priests, etc?
The Church as an entirely positive, respectful, understanding, life-companion of individuals in small and humanity at large - does not cut through the Gordian knot of an ailing institution at a stroke? Can not the Church apparatus happily gather again behind its chiefs under this program? An inveterate Philistine who does not follow that and rejects the new epoch! And yet it is probably inevitable that the pathway outlined here is critically examined.
Will the morality of the Catholic Church really be disposed of so easily in questions of human sexuality? How much responsibility will be needed (according to Bishop Bode is now next to Scripture and Tradition as a further theological knowledge source!) Not to interfere with the "real life world of men"? And even if the program falls to the dregs (Fifty Shades of Grey salutations): who in this society is concerned that his sexual practice is calculated and approved by the Catholic Church?
Even more fundamentally, is the now constantly touted contrast between the dented and dirty Church, "out on the street" for the people and the Church, from "within" is thrilled with the pure, but ultimately useless truth would not be an arrant bugbear? Does not just their knowledge of the self stand based on this truth, the Church always enables them to be with us and fills them with a burning desire to bring these people from "outside" to "inside"? Is faith not yet a treasure and should it not be protected very well in a world, whose church assisted unity according to all experience violently opposes it? Can the Church still claim of itself to be the foundation established by the Lord Jesus Christ, if it does not quite specifically give the graces to the people who are entrusted to her alone, to whom the Lord entrusted them alone and whose charge wasn't just the membership of the human family, but is implied by the inclusion in the "Una Sancta"? Can they "live usefully" sub specie aetemitatis without recalling to the people every day, the hard evangelical truths of sin, justice, and to do penance?
And since when has the Church been at all interested in being part of "great historical moments?"
German Catholics will have to ask themselves whether they want to go with the upstream in the last days and the chosen path. Whether for the pottage of lentils, they will accept a "great future as a tool of the unity of the global human family" giving up the principle of the Apostle Paul, "tradidi quod et accepi - I have handed down to you what I have received."
Perhaps there are not so few who will come to the conclusion that: non possumus!
Dr. phil. Michael Schäfer was assistant of the Romano Guardini Chair of the LMU Munich and works in the management of a Stuttgart-based, international management consultancy. He leads the blog summa-summarum.blogspot.de
Link to Kath.net... Trans: Tancred email@example.com AMDG