January 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In his first public appearance since going into hiding over a year ago, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò joined other prominent Catholics in Munich today in prayer and protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President Cardinal Marx. The Vatican whistleblower joined Catholic laity to oppose the German prelates’ plan to embark on a “synodal path” that critics say would create a “new church” that departs from Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, contraception, homosexuality, and fornication.
Viganò had gone into hiding after he published on August 25, 2018 his McCarrick report accusing Pope Francis of ignoring Pope Benedict XVI's earlier restrictions on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on account of McCarrick’s preying upon and abuse of seminarians. Viganò said that Francis should resign.
Pope Francis abolished the pontifical secret with regard to sex abuse cases in December 2019. He issued a decree according to which the pontifical secret binding Church officials to confidentiality in specific matters, “does not apply to accusations, trials and decisions” concerning sexual abuse of adults, minors and vulnerable persons, and the production, possession and distribution of pornography (cf. Vos estis lux mundi, art. 1). This will enable a person who files an accusation of sexual abuse, for example, as well as “the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.”
It is perhaps in light of this new decree that Archbishop Viganò feels less restrained in appearing in public. In any event, he continuously raised his voice with regard to important moral and doctrinal aspects of the current Church crisis, such as the clerical sex abuse crisis, some problematic developments during and since the Second Vatican Council, the important role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the recent 6-27 October 2019 Amazon Synod in Rome.
An international coalition of lay Catholic faithful, the Acies Ordinata, met in Munich today in order to pray in silence, in “firm protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President.” About 100 Catholics stood quietly for an hour in prayer in front of the Theatinerkirche at the center of Munich. Among the participants were Professor Roberto de Mattei, John-Henry-Westen, Alexander Tschugguel – who is known for having removed the Pachamama statues – as well as Michael Matt from the Catholic newspaper The Remnant. As the organizers of this event explain in a press release, they came to Munich, the place of residence of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, in order to protest the German bishops' “Synodal Path” whose first assembly is to take place at the end of January.
They explain that “the German Bishops, after promoting the Synod on the Amazon ideologically and financially, today constitute the most advanced place of the Revolution in the Church.” Under the guidance of Cardinal Marx, who is the President of the German Bishops' Conference, the German bishops are undermining binding Church teachings with regard to such important matters as priestly celibacy, female ordination, contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality, and gender theory.
The German bishops had agreed upon this synodal path at their spring assembly in 2019, and there are so far only two German bishops – Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg and Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne – who warn against this process which might very well, in the words of Bishop Voderholzer, lead to a “path of destruction.”
At a press conference today, six speakers and participants of the Munich prayers assembly discussed and criticized different aspects of this synodal path, for example their idea of promoting women in the Church (Jeanne Smits); parallels in German history where German Catholics were pressured to adapt to the spirit of the times (Michael Matt); the danger of the Church's becoming an NGO (Alexander Tschugguel); legal problems of the synodal path (José Antonio Ureta); Cardinal Marx' personal encouragement of homosexual and other immoral acts (John-Henry Westen); as well as the call upon German Catholics to stop paying the obligatory Church tax (Professor de Mattei). The full texts of their speeches can be read here.