Showing posts with label Kirchensteuer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kirchensteuer. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Church-tax: German Bishops Overstepped their Authority

Bonna locuta est - causa finita non est

Edit: Archbishop Gerhard Mueller just might have stepped too far this time. The media reports are making the German Bishops look terrible, and Canon Lawyer Father Gero Weishaupt, whose work appears here below via, has devised some canonical solutions for committed German Catholics who feel uncomfortable supporting the many Diocesan initiatives which go against Catholic teaching and practice.

Canon Lawyers:  The faithful may file grievances against the Decree of the German Bishops' Conference to the Papal Counsel for Legal Texts --- Document of the DBK is in contradiction to the Vatican's document from 2006.

Rome (  The discouragement of German Catholics about the decree of the German Bishops' Conference has still as big and the debate over it continues -- against some Bishops' wishes.   There is confusion at the present with respect to the question, which Vatican dicastery had  really "blessed" the document. It is also unclear if Pope Benedict XVI had even signed it.

According to the Bishops Conference the document had been recognized by the Bishops' Congregation.  FAZ reports that had there been personal approval by the CDF  under the German Archbishop Gerhard Mueller and Pope Benedict, a suggestion, which in any case is not anywhere in the official documents of the DBK.  At least the general vaidation by the Pope will be questioned by Vatican observers in Rome, in any case called into question, where Benedict XVI has been a significant critic of the German system.

About the competence for such particular laws there is the legally pertinent apostolic constition "Pastor Bonus"  for information.   There it says in article 82:  "The Congregation deals with matters pertaining to the celebration of particular councils as well as the erection of conferences of bishops and the recognitio of their statutes. It receives the acts of these bodies and, in consultation with the dicasteries concerned, it examines the decrees which require the recognitio of the Apostolic See"

How does that apply to the faithful in Germany?  Canon lawyers, who view the conclusions of the DBK critically have given the advice to resist against it.  It is recommended to write a registered letter, sending it to the Nunciature in Germany to the Papal Counsel for the Interpretation of Legal Texts (00120 Citta Del Vaticano, Vatican City).

As an alternative it can be sent directly to (this Counsel), and indeed referring to the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" where it reads in article 158, the following: 
 At the request of those interested, this Council determines whether particular laws and general decrees issued by legislators below the level of the supreme authority are in agreement or not with the universal laws of the Church.

As KATH.NET has learned the Papal Counsell for Legal Texts has a great interest in this that the questions will be clarified.  If the Counsel has already has already previously been appraised is unclear at the moment.  Already in its clarification of 2006, 'ACTUS FORMALIS DEFECTIONIS AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA" it had clearly laid out the following:

"The  apostasy from the Catholic Church must, in order to be validly represented as an actus formalis defectinis ab Ecclesia, also has to be made concrete with respect to the foreseen cited canonical exceptions in: a) an inner conviction, to leave the Catholic Church; b) the following through and outer demonstration of this decision; c) the adoption of a decision against Church authority."

At least point a) is a clear contradiction of the declaration of the German Bishops' Conference.  The reason is simple:  In Germany the number of Catholics is growing, who are no longer prepared, in their consciences, to transfer Church-tax to Diocese, who clearlt agitate against the Catholic Church's teaching g and discipline with this money in either concealed or open projects or groups.  It is  patently clear that at least in this group, none of these Catholics wish to leave the Church, but quite the opposite.

Critics on the document of the Bishops are also coming from the worldly media.  This is what the "Sudddeutsche" in a commentary last Monday:  "The signal from outside is catastrophic however:  It doesn't apply to people who are leaving, it's all abut the church finances.  It is not applied in the first line n people who are going, who apostatize,  the quarrelsome, who have become estranged, for whom the Church stand -- rather it is accounted to secure the institution."

Even Catholic bloggers have shown themselves not afrighted  by the document from Bonn and showed some humor.  The following joke is circulating:  "Hey, did you know who the patron saint of the German Bishops' Conference is?  Naturally, St. Mathew, patron saint of tax collectors ;-)"

Das Vatikanschreiben (Write the Vatican) ACTUS FORMALIS DEFECTIONIS AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA im Wortlaut 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Old Liberal German Bishops Threaten "Excommunication" to Those Who Won't Pay

Edit: the Kirchensteuer (Church-tax) issue has been a contentious one in German speaking areas as the Old Liberal Church structure uses it to promote its less-than-Catholic policies.  At this point, the German Bishops are willing to use their flagging spiritual authority to keep the money and their power.  Rome appears to have acquiesced in the worst possible way.  This is a disaster.  Here's the article we've hurriedly translated from the German District of the SSPX's website:

Bonn ( During his Germany Visit in 2011 Pope Benedict called people to attention making an appeal in his so-called Freiburg speech to "worldliness" in the Church. True openness to the world is only made possible by a corresponding release and emancipation from structural coercion. At the same time, Church-steuer (tax) became a topic of discussion in the media. Today (20 Sept) the German Bishops' Conference has published in a press release, which actually goes against the desire of the Pope, to refuse all Sacraments, to those who are indeed Catholic --- but do not want to pay Kirchensteuer (Church tax).

 Already on the 13th of March 2006 the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts had pointed out the glaring conflict in Germany. It was then that Rome recalled that leaving the State designation can not be automatically compared to defection from the Catholic Church. As "withdrawal from State" is handled as a separation from the Church, in so far as in the Bundesrepublik of Germany it is a Body of Public Law and whose members are bound to pay taxes by the state.

 A separation from this Body is, as Rome presently has described it, is not bound by the punishment of excommunication. Therefore a baptized Catholic, who is effectively wishes to separate from the Church as a visible institution, to his current local Bishop or at least to his pastor, that he completely or partially rejects the Faith of the Church or does not want to place himself under the hierarchical order of the Church. That means therefore, that also in Germany the membership in the Church is not identical with membership in the state regulated Body of Public Law. (In the description of the written Papal Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts of the 13th of March 2006; is based on a document to the Society in the Newsletter of March 2012 recommendations to the faithful, who have left the State Body and to announce to the Parish office affiliation.)
Exactly the opposite was announced in the Decree of the German Bishops' Conference on the 20th of September. Though one does not incur automatic excommunication any longer, it probably constitutes a "compromise" with the Roman position, but the leaving the Church in the form of its government situation has the same legal consequences as excommunication. These legal consequences are mentioned decree of the German Bishops' Conference in Point II 1. described:

"The person who has left the Church

- may not receive the Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation and
Last Rites -- except for the danger of death

-  can not be vested in any ecclesiastical offices and may not participate in functions in
the Church,

- can not be a Godfather or a sponsor for Confirmation,

- can not be a member in either parish or Diocesan Councils.

- loses the active and passive right of voting in the Church.

-can not be a member in public Church societies."

In clear English: whoever doesn't pay, doesn't get the Sacraments.

Everyone who leaves the official state body, should receive a document (zum Pastoralen Schreiben der DBK).

That this is effectively the same thing as an excommunication, is shown especially in a further clarification of the decree, which touches on the Church burial of a "person who has left the Church".

This can not only be refused if the person "has shown before her death any sign of remorse." It raises the question of what the sign of repentance of the person is? Has she paid no church tax?

Rome has approved the decree, so this compromise has solely avoided the concept of "excommunication."
This is represents a complete abandonment of the position of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts of 2006 rand represents no  detachment from worldly constraints and clearer witness to the faith, but has announced the massive incorporation into the state system.

Which position of the Gospel are the German bishops pointing to now? Is it  Mt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give"?  Or one could one also but equally recall  Matthew 6:24: "You can not serve God and Mammon"?

One must find one in any case: In the case of counseling pregnant women, Pope John Paul II  demonstrated more backbone, determination and authority to the German bishops,  than the present German Pope Benedict XVI. in the matter of church tax.

"Am Gelde hängt,
zum Gelde drängt
doch alles." (Faust)
Link to German District Site....