Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa, brings us a report on the chaos in Germany:
ROME, May 29, 2015 – In perfect temporal conjunction four days ago, right when the council and general secretariat of the synod of bishops were at the Vatican with Pope Francis preparing the next session of the assembly, on the same day and not far away, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the presidents of the episcopal conferences of Germany, France, and Switzerland and about fifty bishops, theologians, and experts from these three countries, led by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, were discussing behind closed doors how to steer through the synod their reformist ideas on the two most controversial points: divorce and homosexuality.
Germany, France, and Switzerland overlook the Rhine River. But the participants at the Gregorian know very well that the game is being played on the shores of the Tiber, in Rome. Their ambition is to be once again, as at Vatican Council II, the winning side in the renewal of the universal Church, the Rhine that with its waters invades the Tiber.
At the end of the meeting, the Germans released a statement in which they say that they “reflected in particular on sexuality as a language of love and a precious gift from God, in intense dialogue between traditional moral theology and the best contributions of contemporary anthropology and the human sciences.”
But more than the statement, what is interesting is what the participants really said among themselves, according to the authorized account in the May 26 issue of “la Repubblica,” the only Italian newspaper admitted to the meeting and on top of that the only newspaper that Pope Francis says he reads:
“A priest and professor speaks without hesitation of ‘caresses, kisses, coitus in the sense of coming together, co-ire,’ as also of ‘that which accompanies the unconscious lights and shadows of the impulses and desire.’ One of his colleagues: ‘The importance of the sexual stimulus represents the foundation for a lasting relationship.’ Freud is quoted. There are references to Fromm. ‘The lack of sexuality,’ it is added, ‘can be associated with hunger and thirst. The question that characterizes it is: Do you want to have sex? But this does not mean desiring the other, if the other does not want it. The question should be: Do you want me? This is how sexual desire for the other can be united with love.’”
The episcopate of Germany is the most advanced and combative point of this reformist front.
Its last official pronouncement – released in multiple languages in early May – was the response to the questionnaire sent out from Rome in view of the next session of the synod.
From which it can be gathered that in Germany they are already putting widely into practice that which the magisterium of the Church forbids and the synod has yet to discuss. And this means communion for the divorced and remarried, the admission of second marriages, the approval of homosexual unions:
A few days later, on May 9, the Zentralkomitee der Deutschen Katholiken, the historical association of the German Catholic laity, issued an even more advanced statement, demanding liturgical blessings for second marriages between the divorced and for unions between persons of the same sex, in addition to the wholesale abandonment of Church teaching on contraception:
But take care. This does not mean that the whole German Church agrees on these positions. Anything but. Both among the bishops and among the most authoritative laymen there is no lack of opposing voices. And in recent days they have made themselves heard loud and clear.
The bishop of Passau, Stefan Oster, a Salesian appointed by Pope Francis in April 2014, has contested the statement of the Zentralkomitee der Deutschen Katholiken point by point in a biting interview on his Facebook page:
And he promptly received the public endorsement of five other bishops: Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Gregor M. Hanke of Eichstätt, Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, Friedhelm Hofmann of Würzburg:
It is interesting to note that among these five bishops is that of Würzburg, the city in which the Zentralkomitee der Deutschen Katholiken met and issued its statement with the silence/absence of the committee’s spiritual guide, Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, the diocese that in the 1990’s had Walter Kasper as its titular.
And it is even more interesting to highlight that the bishops cited, with the exception of that of Görlitz, all belong to the ecclesiastical region of Bavaria, with the result of putting Cardinal Marx, archbishop of Munich, in the minority in his own region and on the very questions on which he has most exerted himself.
But there is more. Among the laity of Germany also there are powerful figures who are speaking outside the party line.
There was a stir in early May over the severity with with Robert Spaemann, considered one of the greatest living Catholic philosophers, a longtime friend of Joseph Ratzinger, criticized not only the German episcopate but nothing less than the governance of Pope Francis, as “autocratic” and “chaotic” at the same time.
Spaemann presented his criticisms in a conversation with Hans Joas for “Herder Korrespondenz,” the magazine of the publisher of the opera omnia of Benedict XVI:
In recent days, moreover, a book been published simultaneously in Germany and Italy by a German jurist and magistrate that is a radical refutation, in theory and practice, of the ideas of Cardinal Kasper on communion for the divorced and remarried:
Go here to read the rest. All of this is happening of course as we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I think this remark of Marx, Karl not the Cardinal, captures the whole spirit of what the Catholic Church in Germany is currently engaged in: