Catholic laity protest Cdl Marx, call him to repent for leading German church down schismatic ‘synodal path’
Jan. 18, 2020 10:54 AM EST update: 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. Read report here.
MUNICH, Germany, January 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – An international coalition of lay Catholics mobilized in Munich today to silently pray in “firm protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President” Cardinal Marx on account of the 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.
Called Acies ordinata, the international coalition derives its name from a title reserved for Our Lady who assembles an army of the faithful to defeat her enemies. The Latin phrase “terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate” is applied to Mary in battle and is taken from the Old Testament Song of Songs canticle (6:3, 6:10).
“The German Bishops’ ‘synodal path’ appears to be an effort to create a church according to the image and likeness of the German Bishops, who apparently believe they can define doctrine and establish their own national Church—a sort of elitist nationalism that flies in the face of the universal Catholic Church, with one faith, one sacramental system, and one discipline throughout the whole world,” stated The Remnant’s Michael Matt at the event’s press conference.
LifeSiteNews’ editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen, also at the press conference, accused Cardinal Marx of having “blood on your hands.”
“Cardinal Reinhard Marx you have shown yourself to be a wolf, like those prophesied by the Apostle Paul who come to devour the sheep by speaking twisted things and drawing away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30) In his letter to the Corinthians, St Paul called pastors like you false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising yourself as an apostle of Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:13),” he said.
“Your false teaching on abortion, adultery and homosexual acts have perverted a whole generation of Catholic young people. Many of them now go on to practice abominable acts which cry out to heaven for vengeance, which will imperil their souls and make them suffer in their bodies too, all because you want to twist the truth of Christ for your own benefit,” he continued.
“You want to rub shoulders with the elite of this world. You talk about helping the poor and yet you spent over 20 million US dollars renovating your residences in Munich and Rome. You speak of care for those with homosexual orientation yet you encourage the very behaviours that you know lead to AIDS and other deadly diseases and worse than that to the loss of eternal salvation. Their blood is on your hands,” he added.
Westen called on the German bishops to “reject” Marx' heresies and called on Marx to repent.
“Cardinal Marx, hear now the words of Christ: Repent, and believe in the Gospel! The true Gospel. Until you do repent however, we will urge Catholics to shun you and ignore your teaching,” he said.
The hour of silent prayer and meditation ended with the collective singing of the Creed, during which, to express their love for the Church, the participants raised their voices to sing the words Et unam Sanctam Catholicam Ecclesiam (one holy Catholic Church) #AciesOrdinata pic.twitter.com/0Mb0JugifC— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) January 18, 2020
The group also included other prominent lay Catholic voices such as Professor Roberto de Mattei and Pachamama expeller Alexander Tschugguel.
The group chose Munich for their prayer assembly because it is the episcopal see of Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich and President of the German Bishops' Conference.
“The German Bishops,” the group explained in a press release, “after promoting the Synod on the Amazon ideologically and financially, today constitute the most advanced place of the Revolution in the Church.” Their “Synodal Path,” which is to start on January 30 in Germany, is seen here in direct connection with the recently concluded Amazon Synod and its agenda.
"We ask for clarity from Pope Francis. He is not ignorant of the positions of the German bishops nor of their objective, which is to extend the 'binding' decisions of their 'permanent synod' to the universal Church. If he holds the same doctrinal deviations as they do then he ought to have the courage to openly say so," the group stated on its website.
The group of about 100 people stood for one hour in protest and prayer in front of the Theatinerkirche in the center of Munich. Two similar events took pace earlier in Rome, on February 19 and September 28 of 2019, the first one in protest against the Church's silence on the homosexual aspect of the clerical sex abuse crisis, the second one in protest against the October, 2019 Amazon Synod. This third prayer assembly, the organizers state in their press release takes place “as a sign of respectful but firm protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President.”
The German Bishops' Conference, at their spring assembly in March of 2019, agreed with an overwhelming majority (there were only a few bishops who abstained from voting) to start a two-year-long synodal path with four discussion forums (on women, priestly life, power, and sexuality), which explicitly aims at underminding the Church's teaching on female ordination, priestly celibacy, homosexuality, contraception, gender theory, as well as cohabitation. This reform process is being headed by head of the German bishops, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, as well as by the head of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Professor Thomas Sternberg.
At a subsequent press conference at the Literaturhaus Munich, speakers discussed in short speeches different aspects of the German “Synodal Path.” (See below for full texts.)
Pachamama expeller Alexander Tschugguel spoke about how the Church “has moved closer to, rather than distanced itself from, the left-leaning NGOs. “Ever since the Amazon Synod, we are hearing more and more about a 'New Church' with an ‘Amazonian face.’” Tschugguel became well-known in the world after he removed the controversial pagan Pachamama statues from a Catholic church in Rome last October and threw them into the Tiber River.
Tschugguel pointed out the leading role of the Germans at the Amazon Synod saying that the “Amazon region is meant to serve as an experimental laboratory for liberal-modernist Catholics in the West, especially in Germany.” Such a move, however, does not aim at conversion of people to the Catholic Faith. However, in order to restore the Catholic Church and to overcome the current priest shortage, Tschugguel explained, we do not need such actions. “All we need to do is to be faithful to the mission of Christ and the tradition of the Church.”
The third speaker at today's press conference was Jeanne Smits, a Paris-based journalist and LifeSiteNews contributor. Her topic was the promotion of women in the Catholic Church, which she, as a woman, rejects. After studying the documents of the German synodal path, Smits was “struck by their open attacks on Church doctrine on the place of women” and their attempts at “adapting the traditional teaching” to a so-called “scientific theology.” The reform is also about the possibility of ordaining female deacons and female priests. However, Smits reminded Catholics in her address of the “profound wisdom” of the Church concerning the “differences and complementarity between men and women.” The Church, she explained, “expects men to serve God as men, and women as women.”
“As a woman, a journalist [...], and as a Catholic” Smits stated, I can only say how pathetic I find this egalitarian approach.” The French journalist reminded Catholics of the model of Our Lady and her own distinctive role in the redemptive work of Our Lord.
José Antonio Ureta, of Chile, warned that the German synodal path “will lead into a schism” and pointed out “five impostures” of the program. He showed that the German synodal path violates the rules of a diocesan synod by addressing questions (such as priestly celibacy and female ordination) which are “outside of its competence,” namely questions of faith and disciplinary questions. Ureta also pointed out that the process undermines the legislative power of the bishops by giving much say to lay people. For example, the lay movement ZdK has “co-responsibility in the development and result of the synodal process” and there are more lay people (122) than clerics (105) in the synodal assembly.
Thus, concluded, Ureta, there can be seen a “radical democratization of the Church.” The author said that “for fifty years, the predominant current of the German Bishops’ Conference has sought to infiltrate into the Catholic Church the heresies promoted by the leaders of German neo-modernist Theology.” But they do this now by hiding behind lay people and synodal processes.
Professor Roberto de Mattei, church historian and the last of the speakers, called upon the German Catholics to stop paying the obligatory Church tax.
“I make an appeal to German Catholics, asking them to stop paying the so-called Kirchensteuer, the withdrawal of a part of their income based on their religious conviction,” he stated.
The Church tax in Germany is obligatory, and Catholics who refuse to pay this tax are denied access to the Sacraments. This situation is, according to de Mattei “inadmissible,” since even though the Church has spoken about the duty of a Catholic to make a financial contribution, she has “never considered the violation of thus duty to be a crime punishable in itself.”
“The criterion of belonging to the Catholic Church,” the Italian professor explained, “is based on the gift of faith that every Catholic receives at the time of Baptism and cannot be reduced to the paying of a tax.”
Professor de Mattei pointed out the paradox that in Germany now, “remarried” and divorced couples and “heretics and notorious schismatics, including priests and bishops, are not sanctioned” and can receive the sacraments, but not those who refuse to pay the Church tax. He addressed German Catholics with the words: “We understand that this is a painful problem of conscience. However, paying the Kirchensteuer means directly cooperating in the process of secularization of the Church in Germany and in the world that the German bishops promote on the ideological level and support on the financial level. Paying the Kirchensteuer means, in this moment, supporting the Synodalen Weg.”
Speeches of the six speakers at today's press conference in Munich
Michael J. Matt
A Catastrophic Synodal Path
As a German American whose grandparents were born not far from here, I welcome this opportunity to speak to the situation in the German Catholic Church which is beyond desperate and which has caused considerable concern among many American Catholics.
The German Bishops’ “synodal path” appears to be an effort to create a church according to the image and likeness of the German Bishops, who apparently believe they can define doctrine and establish their own national Church—a sort of elitist nationalism that flies in the face of the universal Catholic Church, with one faith, one sacramental system, and one discipline throughout the whole world.
Statutes drafted in cooperation with the Central Committee of German Catholics threaten to posit the ordination of women and the abolition of priestly celibacy as countermeasures to the clerical sexual abuse crisis. But, surely, the German Bishops realize that the ordination of women is a direct violation of God’s law, authoritatively reinforced in 1994 by Pope John Paul’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: “The Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”
What part of ‘the church has no authority to break God’s law’ do the German bishops fail to comprehend? Any push to ordain women would be an act of rebellion against the Bride of Christ worthy of Martin Luther, which is why we have no alternative but to resist the synodal process in Germany which, if allowed to continue, will set dangerous precedents for the entire Church.
During World War II, my German American father spent three years of his life fighting in the U.S. Army against a National Socialism that sought to change the world according to notions of German superiority. Please, for God’s sake, do not allow the German bishops to embarrass the fatherland again by creating a new order in the Church based on notions of German supremacy over the word of God and the infallible teaching of His Church.
Let history show that there was German resistance to this now just as there was German resistance to that then. In 1956, my own grandfather, Joseph Matt, Knight of St. Gregory, took his duty to resist similar German aggression so seriously that he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Federal Meritorious Cross, by the post-Nazi German government for his defense against Nazism.
It is in that spirit that I’m here today to speak against the scourge of a German-led ecclesiastical totalitarianism. The last thing the world needs today is more rebellion in the Catholic Church that we’ve seen tear her apart over the past fifty years. And yet the German episcopate’s “Synodal Assembly” promises exactly that when it threatens to review Church teaching which can only be changed by an act of revolution against the Church herself.
The German Bishops would have us believe that abolishing clerical celibacy would also reduce clerical sexual abuse. But this is not only demonstrably false, it’s dangerous in that it places liberal ideology above the protection of future abuse victims. Those called to the vocation of the single life—the consecrated Virgins and celibate clergy—are not sexually repressed. They’ve made celibacy a gift which they willingly choose to give to their God. To even suggest that they require marriage in order to quiet the temptation of child molestation amounts to satanic effrontery to the very idea of religious vocation. It also recklessly fails to consider the millions of children abused by one or both of their own married parents.
Furthermore, since clerical sexual abuse most often involves priests preying on post-pubescent males, i.e., high-school students and seminarians, to suggest that abolishing celibacy will reduce the same-sex attraction involved in the majority of cases is, again, to reveal profound ignorance of both homosexuality and the nature of the abuse crisis.
Finally, are the German Bishops seriously suggesting that the health of the Catholic Church—already plagued by a massive priest shortage—is going to be improved when the few remaining priests find themselves married and with a houseful of babies to raise? Only a celibate male who knows nothing about marriage would suggest such an absurdity.
So, the bottom line is this: Abolishing celibacy will do precisely nothing to reduce the plague of clerical sexual abuse. And yet the German bishops are proposing it anyway, as if their own agenda somehow supersedes the magisterial authority of the Church, the word of God and the special charism of the priesthood.
Because women and sexually active priests would also protestantize the priesthood, this entire agenda will inevitably lead to defections among the faithful who will recognize this as the Church’s further surrender to the modern world and lack of resolve to adhere even to her own teaching and mandate. And if even the priests are no longer expected to live up to the challenges of their vocation, why should anyone else?
I thus add my voice to those calling upon the German people to act in the spirit of von Stauffenberg, Sophie Scholl and Cardinal von Faulhaber, to resist the new regime in the German Catholic Church, to refuse to pay the ecclesiastical tax, and to pledge fidelity to the immutable teachings of the Church.
What our world drowning in sex and sewage needs today is the restoration of the moral authority of the Catholic Church, based on the law of God and the law of nature, defended by the self-sacrificing example of celibate priests willing to deny themselves in order to bring the Lumen Christi into a world of darkness.
As a German American Catholic, I beg the German bishops not to do this, I plead with the German people to resist, and I call on the pope to condemn this with the full weight of his office.
The Church as an NGO!
“The Church must never become an NGO. Churches and parishes must go out into the public square if we are not to end up as an NGO”.
These are the words of Pope Francis on World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 - part of the famous speech in which he also exhorted young Catholics to "create a stir".
The strategy to prevent the Church from becoming an NGO appears to include the projects discussed during last year’s Amazon Synod. NGOs are generally defined as large, internationally active, mostly left-wing associations like Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Open Society, Gaia-Amazonas Foundation or other organisations that advocate a leftist-liberal interpretation of human rights, no barriers to mass migration or the struggle against “man-made climate change”.
From today’s perspective, it is difficult to say whether there was actually, back in 2013, any threat of a development in the Church that could have made the Church indistinguishable from the aforementioned organisations. However, looking at the current strong political engagement of the Holy See, especially since the encyclical “Laudato Si”, it seems obvious that the Church has moved closer to, rather than distanced itself from, the left-leaning NGOs. Ever since the Amazon Synod, we are hearing more and more about a "New Church" with an "Amazonian face".
On a superficial level, this Amazonian face is manifesting itself through actual or potential changes in the rites and in many aspects of practical church life. According to Bishop Kräutler, for example, pagan elements should be integrated into the lives of Catholics in this region. According to media reports, an NGO known as the Gaia-Amazonas Foundation, headed by a German-Colombian, Martin von Hildebrandt, appears to have played a rather prominent role before and during the Amazon Synod.
Von Hildebrandt advocates an idea that has actually existed for decades: that the Amazon region should be removed from Brazilian sovereignty and placed under international administration. Among those promoting this idea were Francois Mitterand, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Major and Al Gore. According to British journalist Edward Pentin, it was feared, in the run-up to the Amazon Synod, that the Church might openly support this political project. Only after meeting with high-ranking representatives of the Brazilian government did Cardinal Claudio Hummes give the assurance that the Synod would make no statement on this matter.
Regarding the question of immigration from Africa and Asia, Pope Francis has adopted positions much closer to those of the NGOs (and the Merkel government and the German Bishops' Conference) than to those of his predecessors.
This begs the question what the Pope could actually have meant by his statement that the Church should not become an NGO. The Church with the “Amazonian face” apparently focuses on propagating leftist “green” climate policy and glorifying pagan practices from South America, while frowning upon missionary activity.
The Pope recently confirmed this, telling Italian schoolchildren that the faith should not be proclaimed in words. But what is a church that no longer preaches, no longer obeys Christ's command to bring the gospel to all peoples? A church that limits itself to the political and social activities already mentioned? It is, to all intents and purposes, an NGO.
The greatest proponents of this "Church with an Amazonian face", which is increasingly taking on the characteristics of an NGO, seem to be the German bishops. Above all, the deputy chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Franz-Josef Bode, has repeatedly made it clear that the decisions taken at the Amazon Synod should also be implemented in Germany.
The introduction of the synodal path will probably mean that this process will proceed very quickly in Germany. The German church is trying to take on a kind of pioneering role here.
A closer look at these developments will make it pretty obvious that the alleged problems in the Amazon region are only a pretext. The demands for abolishing celibacy and for the consecration of women have been heard in Germany for many decades, much more so here than in the Amazon region itself, where - as local surveys there have shown - most people actually find them incomprehensible.
Catholics represent a minority among Christians in the Amazon region - approximately 80% of Christians there are evangelical Protestants, not least because the Catholic Church there has essentially behaved like an NGO for decades and has neglected the Church's mission mandate. Also, 80% of those Catholics live in cities with parish structures and an orderly church life. Additionally, several thousand priests from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, etc. are working in North America. In other words, there would be alternative ways of solving the problem of a possible lack of priests in the few remote Catholic communities.
It seems the Amazon region is meant to serve as an experimental laboratory for liberal-modernist Catholics in the West, especially in Germany. We might well ask ourselves whether the new smile of the church with the “Amazonian” face is not simply a mask hiding the old face of the German Bishops' Conference.
The solution to the Church’s crisis in Germany, South America and worldwide is much easier in theory, but much more difficult in practice, than the abolition of celibacy and the ordination of female priests. Much easier because all we need to do is to be faithful to the mission of Christ and the tradition of the Church; much more difficult because it requires every single Catholic to make personal sacrifices and to resist the errors of the current zeitgeist.
Throughout its two-thousand-year history, the Church has faced many challenges and has had to deal with many crises and deviations from the right path. It has only ever been able to renew itself by returning to the true teaching, and this time will be no different. It is for us to decide now how many wrong paths the Church must still go down, how much more must be destroyed before we can find our way back to the truth, to doctrine and tradition.
Why we do not accept the revolutionizing of the role of women in the Church
In a joint letter sent last December to the German faithful by Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Professor Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, the invitation was made to walk a “path of change and renewal together.” It all started with wanting to “make the Church a safe place” in the wake of the sexual abuse cases.
Along this “path of change,” set up in only one direction by the team which is orchestrating the “Synodalerweg,” the issue of the place of women in the Church and in ecclesial ministries is one of the four main themes. What does this have to do with sexual abuse within the Church? Not much, except if they consider that having women on the altar will prevent a minority of perverts to be attracted to boys and youths.
When reading the conclusions of the joint conference of the working group on the synodal pathway, I was struck by their open attacks on Church doctrine on the place of women. It is expressly a question of adapting traditional teaching, the world over, to what they call “scientific theology” and the general, fuzzy idea that things have changed and that women should be allowed to occupy all places. Including the diaconate and perhaps even the priesthood.
At a time when gender ideology is rife, it may seem to them a good idea to proclaim a form of interchangeability among men and women that would ultimately lead to ordaining women or men priests without regard for the biological sex: the ultimate gender confusion.
They want a “gender-equitable Church” that would in their eyes be the only “true” Church. In the Church they want, ladies would go on doing what they already do, often beautifully: teaching catechism, transmitting the faith and the love of God.
But they also want a Church where women do more and more of what they have only started doing recently: playing an active role in the liturgy, handing out communion, perhaps preaching as cardinal Marx recently suggested and generally managing parishes, dioceses and why not whole dicasteries. If you can have female generals, why not female bishops? The only problem with that so-called argument is that you can't even argue against female generals without being guilty of sexism and discrimination. It looks as if the German synodal path wants to maneuver the Church into a trap.
It would be politically incorrect nowadays to poke fun at the all-invading vicar's wife in Protestant communities, but basically the synodal reformers appear to want to multiply within the Catholic Church the numbers of all these formidable Church ladies who perhaps discourage men from being regular practicing faithful… They are even speaking of quotas of women in management positions, as if the Church were not modelled on the family, but on the business world.
The profound equality, but also the profound differences and complementarity between men and women have over the centuries been expressed by the deep wisdom of the Church. She expects men to serve God as men, and women as women. And in that she is wrong, say the reformers – no, the revolutionaries – who want to re-examine and re-evaluate even the Gospel, and to check whether the traditional refusal to ordain women is “binding” or not.
As a woman, a journalist – I was formerly director and editor in chief of several publications – and a Catholic, I can only say how pathetic I find this egalitarian approach. It is pathetic and it is even dangerous for my faith and for the Church I love, because it is willing to upset the whole economy of Redemption, the truth and the beauty of the respective roles of our Lord Jesus, Son of God, and the most perfect of all human creatures, His Virgin Mother.
She did not lobby for a prominent role, she turned all our eyes to Him, her Son, and for that she knew all generations would call her blessed. She was at the foot of the Cross, not to immolate but to offer. She suffered with her Divine Son in order to redeem humanity, but she did not offer her own body to the nails and the lance of the executioners. She there received the mission of being the merciful Mother of us all. Her honour was to serve, as now it is to reign over the whole Universe, as Queen even of the Angels. There is no better theologian than She, who carried the Logos in her mind, in her heart and in her womb.
I believe that that is more than enough of an example, and very hard to follow, even for a woman. I am sorry that the Catholic Church in Germany should be trying to downplay women’s’ key traditional role in order to let them play at being men. It is unfair to men, and it is unfair to women, but most of all, it is not right with regard to God, who lined out the role of both from the very beginning, and who gave a woman the very first place, because of her humility.
José Antonio Ureta
The Five Pseudo-Synodal Impostures of the German “Path”
The “synodal path” undertaken by the German Bishops’ Conference departs radically from the traditional synod model, and if not stopped in time, will lead to a schism. Indeed, the said “synodal path” is based on five impostures:
1. Theological Imposture
The goals of a regular diocesan synod being purely pastoral and disciplinary, questions of faith, and disciplinary questions beyond the diocesan level are outside of its competence. The four forums created to prepare for the event (power in the Church; priestly celibacy; sexual morality; and women's access to ministries) address exclusively address the above mentioned two types of prohibited questions. Furthermore, the propositions put forward in these four matters are, for the most part, heretical, while the alleged pretext – to listen to what the Spirit says to the Church through the community – is also heretical insofar as it suggests that divine Revelation is expressed and evolves through human vicissitudes.
2. Ecclesiological Imposture
Bishops received with ordination and appointment the power to sanctify, teach and govern. As masters, they must be not only witnesses but also judges of the revealed truth, a function they cannot delegate to anyone when controversies arise. As shepherds, they possess ordinary, proper and immediate power over their flock, including legislative power, which they must exercise in a personal and exclusive way without being permitted “to legislate together with other persons, organisms or diocesan assemblies.” The role of the synod’s members is, therefore, merely “consultative,” and all the more so if these members are simple laypeople.
Contrary to this hierarchical character of the Church, the German “synodal path” associates on an equal footing the Conference of Bishops of Germany and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), which obtained co-responsibility in the development and result of the synodal process. The democratic nature of the event is accentuated by the fact that:
- the synodal assembly, the supreme organ which will make all decisions, will be composed, to date, of a majority of 122 lay people (including a majority of 70 women) compared to only 105 clerics (including 69 bishops, 32 priests and 4 deacons);
- the synodal presidency will be co-managed equally by the presidents and vice-presidents of the Episcopal Conference and the Central Committee of the laity;
- the preparatory forums will be composed equally by 10 members appointed by each of these two organisms.
In short, “synodality” is only a fraudulent label to achieve a radical democratization of the Church.
3. Sociological Imposture
The German “synodal path” presumes that the Central Committee of German Catholics is a body representative of the Catholic faithful. It turns out, on the contrary, that the ZdK is a kind of parliament of which almost 2/3 of the members are delegates of Catholic associations that do not represent the ordinary Sunday-mass goer but rather what is called the “Räte und Verbandskatholizismus,” i.e., a sort of nomenklatura of apparatchiks of activist organizations of liberal orientation.
4. Methodological Imposture
The “synodal path” takes as a pretext the MHG report on sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergymen in Germany. Contrary to the evidence and other studies that point to moral laxity and the collapse of moral theology as the main culprits, this report instead accuses the Church's power structure, the sacred character of the priestly ministry, Catholic sexual morality, and particularly its condemnation of homosexuality. In other words, from the outset, the “synodal path” considers as indisputable premises the very conclusions it intends to draw.
5. Human Imposture
For fifty years, the predominant current of the German Bishops’ Conference has sought to infiltrate into the Catholic Church the heresies promoted by the leaders of German neo-modernist Theology. Instead of assuming these heresies with full transparency, the German bishops hide behind the laity and, under the pretext of “synodality,” want the laity to bear full responsibility for the rupture with the truth of Christ operated by the new schismatic church they are building on Luther's footsteps.
But Cardinal Marx and his cronies are completely mistaken: Even if Pope Francis approves the recommendations of the German “synodal path,” the living and dynamic elements of the Catholic Church in Germany and all true Catholics around the world will not be fooled by their moves and will manage to remain faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.
Indeed, the Church belongs to Christ and not to his Vicar. True synodality is achieved in the Church when pastors and the faithful “walk together” following the Good Shepherd guided by His teachings, not distorting them to follow the capricious winds of the Zeitgeist.
You have Blood on your Hands
Your Eminence, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, with respect and love for your office as a bishop and cardinal, as a pastor called to feed the flock of Christ, it is with great sorrow that I must now speak very strongly to you. I do this as a father of young children, as a member of the lay faithful whose love and concern for his own children and those of others does not allow me to keep silent. On too many occasions recently we have lacked the charity and courage necessary to speak challenging words to our pastors, so that worse evils might be avoided. And so I say….
Cardinal Marx, in the words of St. Paul, you have blood on your hands.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx you have shown yourself to be a wolf, like those prophesied by the Apostle Paul who come to devour the sheep by speaking twisted things and drawing away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30) In his letter to the Corinthians, St Paul called pastors like you false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising yourself as an apostle of Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:13)
Your false teaching on abortion, adultery and homosexual acts have perverted a whole generation of Catholic young people. Many of them now go on to practice abominable acts which cry out to heaven for vengeance, which will imperil their souls and make them suffer in their bodies too, all because you want to twist the truth of Christ for your own benefit.
You want to rub shoulders with the elite of this world. You talk about helping the poor and yet you spent over 20 million US dollars renovating your residences in Munich and Rome. You speak of care for those with homosexual orientation yet you encourage the very behaviours that you know lead to AIDS and other deadly diseases and worse than that to the loss of eternal salvation. Their blood is on your hands.
How dare you give a blessing to acts which harm people in their bodies and souls?
You are a false prophet like those warned against by St. Peter the first Pope. He said those like you would secretly bring in destructive heresies and that many would follow your sensuality and blaspheme the way of truth. (2 Peter 2:1-2)
You have confused the faith of our children. We Catholic parents are here to tell you, that you have perverted the faith of our children, you have scandalized them and led them astray you have led them down the path to hell making them believe your falsehood is the way of Christ.
Repent of your evil for the fire of hell awaits you. Our Lord warned you that it would be better for you that a millstone be tied about your neck and you be thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42)
How dare you call yourself a Catholic. You have said you don’t want to be a subsidiary of Rome and that Germany would follow its own so-called synodal path. You know full well there is one body and Spirit in the Church, there is only one Lord, one faith and one baptism because there is one God and Father of us all. (Eph. 4:4-6)
How dare you profess to be a faithful follower of Christ, when you reject His plan for human sexuality and attempt to bring the spirit of fornication into the Church?
All of your brothers in the clergy in Germany should know that in following your heresy they are betraying Christ. Let all the faithful clergy in Germany reject your heresies and fight the good fight and keep the true faith so that the righteous Judge will reward them. (2 Tim 4:7)
You continue to support and give Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion, yet when a faithful Catholic stops giving you money from income tax then you refuse them the sacraments.
You have presented people with a false Christ and a false gospel. We reject it, and cling to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which preaches sound doctrine in season and out of season, even when it goes against what the world wants to hear. (2 Tim 4:2)
And yet even now after all the harm that you’ve caused our beloved Church and our children we hope and pray for your conversion. You still have time to return to the way of Christ before meeting the just judge. (1 Pet 4:17-18)
Cardinal Marx, hear now the words of Christ: Repent, and believe in the Gospel! The true Gospel.
Until you do repent however, we will urge Catholics to shun you and ignore your teaching. Luther used horrible words to falsely describe the epistle of St. James calling it ‘not worthy of an apostle’ but those words with all their horror describe perfectly your actions.
Repent and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:15)
Roberto de Mattei
Appeal to German Catholics against the Kirchensteuer
I make an appeal to German Catholics, asking them to stop paying the so-called Kirchensteuer, the withdrawal of a part of their income based on their religious conviction. It is inadmissible that the only way to exempt oneself from this forced withdrawal is by a obligatory declaration of abandonment of the Church (Kirchenaustritt) which is automatically followed by a de facto excommunication.
The German Bishops’ Conference has decreed that those who subscribe to the Kirchenaustritt may no longer go to confession, receive communion or confirmation and, when they die, they may not receive a Catholic funeral. Without explicitly pronouncing the word “excommunication” the German Bishops’ Conference is punishing those who leave the Church for financial reasons by excluding them from the sacramental life, which is the essence of the punishment of excommunication (can. 1331 § 1). They may be readmitted to the sacraments only after retracting their declaration and pledging to meet their financial obligations.
According to the Synodaler Weg, divorced and remarried Catholics who pay the Kirchensteuer may receive the Sacraments, but practicing Catholics who refuse to pay this tax are rigorously excluded from the sacramental like of the Church. Heretics and notorious schismatic, including priests and bishops, are not sanctioned, while the punishment of excommunication is applied to an act that, even in the worst cases, qualifies merely as an act of lay disobedience, against which canon law provides no punishment.
It is true that the duty to materially support the Church is part of the Catholic tradition and was placed in the new Code of Canon Law in canons 222, §1 and 1260, but the tradition of the Church has never considered the violation of thus duty to be a crime punishable in itself and the Code does not name any penalty against those who transgress it.
Unless it is argued that what is being sanctioned is not the refusal to pay the tax, but the act of resignation from the Catholic Church, assimilated to the crime of schism or apostasy, which the Code punishes with excommunication latae sententiae (can. 1364 § 1). But the Kirchenaustritt, in order to have canonical relevance, must be a free and conscious choice, and not an act into which someone is forced who, for whatever reason, wants to avoid paying an unjust tax.
For its part, the German state is acting in contradiction with its Constitution (Grundgesetz) which assures the non-discrimination of citizens because of their religion. A non-confessional state does not have the right to interfere in the private sphere of citizens, knowing that the consequence of their indicating their religious faith to the ecclesiastical authorities will be either the loss of money or else severe canonical sanctions. In this situation, the civil authority is acting as the secular arm of the Church.
The Church, for its part, sacrifices the fundamental right of the Christian to not undergo meddling by the state in questions that concern faith and morals and violates the religious freedom of the faithful by forcing them to make a public declaration renouncing their membership in the Church for merely economic reasons.
The criterion of belonging to the Catholic Church is based on the gift of faith that every Catholic receives at the time of Baptism and cannot be reduced to the paying of a tax. Only a profoundly secularized institution can equate belonging to the Church with the payment of a portion of one’s income. The German Church, economically rich but spiritually ever more poor, appears in the eyes of the Christian to be a bureaucratic and corporate apparatus subjected to public opinion and the civil authorities. Furthermore, whoever subordinates the sacramental life to the payment of a tax falls into the sin of simony (Acts 8: 5-24), the selling of spiritual goods that has characterized all the ages of great crises in the Church.
The name Kulturkampf is remembered in history as the persecution against Catholics carried out by Chancellor Bismarck in the last thirty years of the 19th century. The communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci claimed in his own turn a new Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church, never imagining that the ones who would realize his plan of the secularization of society would be the bishops themselves. The crucial question that must be asked is this: can a Catholic be an accomplice in the process of de-Catholicization of their own country?
We understand that this is a painful problem of conscience. However, paying the Kirchensteuer means directly cooperating in the process of secularization of the Church in Germany and in the world that the German bishops promote on the ideological level and support on the financial level. Paying the Kirchensteuer means, in this moment, supporting the Synodalen Weg.
For this reason, the refusal to financially support the German Bishops’ Conference does not mean turning one’s back on the Church and even less does it mean abandoning the Catholic faith, but actually is the way to defend it. And it is the good of the Church – not only the Church in Germany, but the universal Church – that impels us to make an appeal to German Catholics: stop paying the Kirchensteuer! We place this appeal at the feet of Mary, Patrona Bavariae, she who is the invincible protectress of Germany and the Mother of the Church.
The most convincing study of the Kirchensteuer has been made by the Swiss theologian and canonist Msgr. Eugenio Corecco (1931-1995): Dimettersi dalla Chiesa per ragioni fiscali (3. Dimettersi dalla Chiesa per ragioni fiscali | Eugenio Corecco). The principal document on the abandonment of the Catholic Church is the Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica, issued on March 13, 2006, by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (Actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica).