John-Henry Westen

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Analyzing the de facto schism in the Catholic Church in Germany

Martin Bürger is a German Catholic journalist who has the inside scoop on what's going on in the Church in Germany.
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John-Henry Westen By John-Henry Westen

February 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — For years the Catholic Church in Germany has been heading down a very dangerous path. It seems that with each day we are getting closer to a point where it officially breaks off into schism.

Just last week the Vice President of the German Bishops Conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, said that, “Christ became a human being, not a man.” What blasphemy! 

On top of that, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German Bishops Conference, has time and time again expressed support for heretical policies — ordaining women deacons, allowing Protestants to receive Holy Communion, and blessing homosexual unions, among other things. Thankfully, he will not be seeking re-election as head of the bishops conference. 

Today on my podcast I delve into everything going on in the German Church with Martin Bürger, a journalist who now works at LifeSite but was born and raised in Germany. Martin received his Master’s degree from the International Theological Institute in Austria in 2017. He is an expert on the faith in Germany, so I wanted to get his take on what’s really going on there.

Martin and I discuss a wide range of issues related to the German Church. We talk about the “synodal path” that they have embraced as well as the far-left proposals churchmen there want to enact. We discuss the Acies ordinata I participated in in Munich against Cardinal Marx and we get to the bottom of why the German Church has so much power and seems to be able to do whatever it wants without any reprimand from the Vatican.

“The German Bishops conference decided to embark on the synodal path only in 2019,” Bürger told me. “And right after that they decided to have four different study groups to prepare and focus on.”

The four subjects they are tackling, he continued, are 1) power and the abuse of power among clerics 2) the role of women in the Church 3) sexual morality and 4) priestly lifestyle. 

In the documents that have been prepared on these topics there exists “all kinds of interesting and weird and bad stuff,” Bürger explained. The text is written in such a way that it “opens the door to the use of contraception, to masturbation, and to homosexuality as a good an accepted practice.” The documents are completely and utter contradictory to what the Catechism teaches, he added.

I’ve argued before that the German bishops conference, it’s vice president, and many of the bishops (or at least a good number of the bishops in Germany) are all going in this direction, and that they are going to end up totally opposed to the faith.

And even though German Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Gerhard Müller have warned about a potential schism, Cardinal Marx continues to push his heresy without thinking twice. Why and how can that be?

“The German church,” Bürger told me, “is very, very rich in many ways due to the church tax that they collect…everybody even nominally Catholic contributes to the church's well-being by being taxed at a certain rate. And that money, obviously, buys influence…that’s one of the main reasons the Germans are so influential in the Vatican.”

Bürger says that the money the German church collects is based on numbers, and that even though the church has seen hundreds of thousands of people leave the faith in recent years, many of them still get taxed as Catholics. He believes that the Church in Germany wants to keep those tax dollars pouring in, so it “wants to be appealing and open to every kind of sinful situation.”

If the church was more conservative, he said, it could alienate the faithful and drive them away, which could lead to more people leaving the church, which would result in them losing out on massive amounts of money.

Despite the preponderance of heresy and the likelihood of schism, Bürger says that the culture in Germany is still strong and that there are lots of organizations and faithful Catholics doing good work.

“We have a lot of people who go to adoration and that kind of thing,” he said. “So we have to start somewhere. And then just with the grace of God…things will work out.”

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

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John-Henry Westen

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.