Thursday, June 2, 2022

Abbess: "The Church is not a religious association that creates offices for itself"

Abbess Christiana Reemts: "What we in the German Church have to understand again is that a bishop did not receive his office from the congregation, but from the apostles and thus ultimately from Christ."

Mariendonk ( “What we in the German Church have to understand again is that a bishop did not receive his office from the congregation, but from the apostles and thus ultimately from Christ.  The Church is not a religious association that creates any offices for itself, but a foundation of Jesus Christ.  Christiana Reemts OSB delicately explains as she explains on her blog on the website of the Mariendonk Benedictine Abbey, however, “that this visible church, which we often find so annoying, provocative or petty-minded, is the object of our faith”.  The Church is not a human work, but the “Church of Christ”.  Nevertheless, at the same time it is also “naïve to attribute everything in the Church directly to the earthly Jesus.  Of course there is development in the Church.  But above all there is the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church and lets it stand firm in faith for all time - and I am convinced: also in our time."

In her blog posts, which are always kept discreet, you can feel how much the theologian rubs up against current developments in the Catholic Church in Germany.  She is currently staying with fellow sisters at Mariavall Abbey in Sweden.  She admits that she "frankly enjoys... being in a Catholic environment where there is gratitude for the faith and fellowship of the Church."  Most Swedish Catholics today are “immigrants or converts.  Almost all of my fellow sisters are also converts, i.e. they made a very conscious decision to believe as adults.  The Catholic Church in Sweden is small and poor, but it doesn't have the German problems."

A Swedish priest asked her in a conversation, she reports in another blog post, “whether everything he had heard from the German Church was true.  I could only confirm that."  With reference to Andersen's fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes,” she states: "In Germany we are like this Emperor and they cheat him, because we think we could reinvent reality and language.  But at some point a small child will come and call: "There's nothing on him!" But we'll probably just keep going like the emperor..."

Dr. Christiana Reemts OSB (see link) has been the abbess of Mariendonk Abbey in the diocese of Aachen since 2005.  Among other things, she has published works on the Church Fathers.  Mariendonker nuns have been working since 1990 on the "Fontes christiani", a bilingual edition of the Church Fathers, as well as on the edition of the Vetus Latina and the Novum Testamentum Patristicum.

 Photo: icon image

Trans: Tancred



Bruceph said...

Seems to me there is a logical extension of this thinking that can be applied to distribution of communion on the tongue vs. the hand in the wake of the virus (not to mention liturgical or other reasons), in that it's not for the priest to limit reception of the eucharist to the hand. In doing so one arrogates to himself power of medical risk management that is not his to assume, that is outside of his 'field of expertise'.
A priest likely thinks he's being reasonable in that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Was he to be more literal in this exercise of disease prevention (as he can never, ever know what disease he may be carrying at any given time) wouldn't he be forced to 'hazmat up' before Mass? This would be of course, unreasonable, in that any risk management strategy taken to its' logical conclusion would almost always lead to absolute inaction.
A further meditation of the washing of the feet as it pertains to one's station in life may be helpful.

Tancred said...

Actually, the Church’s normative means of giving Communion is scientifically proven to be safer than Calvinist hand-communion.

It also makes a lot more sense if you don’t believe in the sacramental priesthood in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Well said Tancred