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(LifeSiteNews) — The German Monsignor Markus Graulich, S.D.B., under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, has just published in German an article challenging the German bishops conference’s plans to change their labor law (Arbeitsrecht) and to drop any demands regarding their employees’ private lives. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in comments to LifeSiteNews, endorsed Graulich’s commentary and critic and pointed out that the German Synodal Path’s demands for a new morality is an “open farewell to Christianity.”
In May of this year, the German bishops had published a draft for the new church labor law which would drop the demand that their employees’ lives have to be ordered according to Church teaching, that is to say that they should not live in immoral relationships such as same-sex unions and cohabitation. Should employees not live according to Church teaching, that might soon no longer be a reason to be dismissed from their jobs.
But here is where Monsignor Graulich raised his voice. He wrote in his commentary published in the German journal Herder Korrespondenz: “If one gives up the loyalty obligations [toward the Church’s teachings] what is the need for an ecclesiastical labor law?” Furthermore, he asks in his one-page commentary: “But how ecclesiastical is a church labor law that abandons the church’s moral teachings?”
Up to now, a Church employee can be dismissed from his job, for example when he apostatizes or when he leaves the Church, thus causing “a serious scandal,” as Monsignor Graulich explained. These rules, he went on to say, are to serve “the Church’s mission and credibility.” The same applied in the past to the private moral lives of the employees.
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But these exact same rules have been recently questioned by the German Synodal Path’s Forum IV – discussions which have been going on in Germany since 2019 under the guidance of the German bishops and some lay organizations, as Graulich explained. The OutInChurch, a group of German clergymen who outed themselves in January of this year as being homosexuals, also now demand a change of the Church’s teachings. Only one month later, eleven vicar generals had called for a change of the German Church labor law with regard to same-sex couples.
Just this year, the German Synodal Path demanded that German bishops offer a liturgical blessing for homosexual couples. They wrote in February of this year that “the refusal to bless two people who want to live their partnership in love, commitment and responsibility to each other and to God proves to be merciless or even discriminatory in a society that has achieved human dignity and free self-determination as maxims of moral standardisation.”
In their eyes, “this is all the more serious because such a refusal cannot be convincingly justified in terms of the theology of grace. This not only burdens the proclamation of God’s human kindness and the double commandment of love of neighbour and God, but also poses serious questions for the credibility of liturgical action in our cultural sphere.”
Monsignor Graulich also made it clear that the demands for such changes represent the idea “to abandon the moral doctrine – or the morality of the Church – or to change it accordingly.”
Graulich quoted from the draft of the new Church’s labor law: “One of the core claims which highlight the paradigm shift in church labor law is found in the new art. 7, para. 2 of the draft: ‘The core area of private life, in particular relationships and intimate privacy, remains exempt from juridical evaluations.’”
Monsignor Graulich concluded his commentary with the following words:
Among the basic duties of believers is, “even in their own conduct, always to maintain communion with the Church” (can. 209 §1 CIC). This is especially true for those who collaborate in the mission of the Church; anything else is not credible. But if there are no more demands placed upon the employees with regard to the Church’s moral doctrine – what is the need for an ecclesiastical labor law?
In a similar vein speaks Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. LifeSite reached out to him and asked him to comment on Monsignor Graulich’s fundamental criticism of the German bishop’s undermining of Catholic morality in their planned new labor law. For him, “the argumentation of Dr. Graulich is convincing and unimpeachable in its consequences.”
The German cardinal then makes his own assessment of the German reform plans: “The basic approach of German Synodalism is anti-Catholic and therefore the employer (the corresponding church body) can also no longer insist on the unity of life and doctrine, i.e. on the Catholic doctrine of faith and morals.”
He explains the apostasy of the German Synodal Path’s Forum IV, which Graulich also mentioned: “The statement of Forum IV [of the German Synodal Path] that the entire moral conduct of life, especially concerning sexuality, is no longer to be determined by the Word of God, but by the currently prevailing LGBT ideology, is the open farewell to Christianity.” Müller goes on to say:
Already in the Decalogue, the 6th and 9th Commandments point to the connection between the relationship with God and the sense of sexuality exclusively related to marriage. And Jesus proclaims with divine authority the meaning of the creation of man as man and woman. Therefore, any sexual encounter between a man and a woman outside of a legitimate (natural and sacramental) marriage is, as adultery, a grave sin that excludes from the Kingdom of God. (cf. Mk 10:5-12). What is being pursued by the German Synodal Way is the opposite of a reform, i.e. the renewal of our mind and behavior in the spirit of Christ (Rom 12:1sq). It is a relapse into the old immorality of the pagans who, because of their rejection of God, are “given over to dishonorable passions” (Rom 1:26), although God has written the natural moral law into their hearts and consciences (Rom 2:25).
In contradistinction to the way of the pagans, Christians are called to a higher standard, according to Cardinal Müller. “The Christian, on the other hand, is liberated to the ‘freedom and glory of the children of God’ (Gal 5:13; Rom 8:21). But Paul adds, ‘Only do not take freedom as a pretext for the flesh…. The works of the flesh are fornication, uncleanness, debauchery…. But whoever does these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ (Gal 5:13-21).”
He then makes a reference to the recent July 21 statement by the Vatican, calling the German bishops to remain in the unity with the Universal Church which read: “The ‘Synodal Way’ in Germany is not authorized to oblige the bishops and the faithful to adopt new forms of governance and new orientations of doctrine and morals.”
Cardinal Müller commented on the statement:
Late, but perhaps not too late, ‘Rome’ has reacted to the un-Catholic machinations of the German Synodal Heresy (GSH), which are diametrically opposed to the Catholic doctrine of Revelation and the ‘obedience of faith’ (Vaticanum II, Dei verbum 1-10), of the hierarchical-sacramental constitution of the Church (Lumen gentium 18-29) and of the ‘dignity of marriage and family’ (Gaudium et spes 46- 52). The president of the ZdK [Zentralkomitee deutscher Katholiken – Central Committee of German Catholics] and and vice-president of the GSH has recently even called for universal access to the ‘abhorrent crime of abortion and infanticide’ (Gaudium et spes 51; 27).
Concluding his commentary, the German prelate succinctly sums up the current heresy and quoted the Apostle Saint Paul to remind us of God’s Ways:
Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is here subjected to the paradigm of a pansexualism that reveals the nihilism of those who have lost faith in the Living God. They live by the motto: “If the dead are not raised” and there is no divine judgment, then “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will be dead.” The Apostle, on the other hand, tells Christians so that they will not be tempted to live contrary to God’s Word and instruction, “Do not be misled! Bad company corrupts good morals. Become sober, as is proper, and do not sin. Some people do not know about God. I say this so that you may be ashamed.” (1 Cor 15:33sq).
Cardinal Müller very clearly refutes here the heresies coming out of Germany, reminding us of the foundations of our Catholic Faith. Monsignor Graulich is to be commended, as well, for challenging the German bishops and their own “path of destruction” – in the words of German Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer – which is also to be seen in their upcoming new Church labor law.
The discussion of the change of the labor law in the Catholic Church of Germany has been going on for years. Already in 2015, the German bishops had adjusted their labor law, saying about employees who lives in same-sex unions or have remarried after a divorce that “only in special circumstances and therefore only in exceptional cases can these forms of conduct lead to a termination of contract.”
At that time, Bishop Stefan Oster, of Passau (Bavaria) had raised his voice of opposition, saying:
With the present revision of the Text [Labor Law], we give away, in my eyes, out of our hands the means by which we can at least half-way resist the ongoing and continuous secularization in our institutions. […] We are thereby running the risk that, with it [those vague and weak revisions], we shall undermine all our other efforts to work on a stronger profile and that we would thus continue, insistently, with the process of self-secularization – and with the help of a law which we have now given to ourselves!