RECKLINGHAUSEN, Germany (LifeSiteNews) — A German priest will be transferred to the Czech Republic after the parish where he was allowed to say the Traditional Latin Mass reported him to the diocese for questioning mainstream narratives about the COVID-19 vaccine, homosexuality, and gender ideology.
Fr. Michael Ramm FSSP, a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, was responsible for the faithful in the Ruhr area, the largest urban area in Germany. He had permission to celebrate two Masses each Sunday at St. Michael Catholic Church in Recklinghausen, as well as one Mass each Thursday at a different church.
On August 24, three representatives of the parish council sent a letter — obtained by LifeSiteNews — to the vicar general of the Diocese of Münster, Fr. Klaus Winterkamp, as well as to Bishop Rolf Lohmann, the auxiliary bishop in charge of the western part of the diocese.
The signatories said they wanted “to emphatically express our indignation and horror” at Ramm over criticizing “the current zeitgeist” in his monthly bulletin to the faithful attached to the Traditional Latin Mass.
They quoted extensively from Ramm’s bulletin for August and September:
What do we think today about the zeitgeist that prevailed in the Third Reich? And what will future generations say about our present zeitgeist? … How will they judge this entire COVID panic in the future? How will future generations judge this ‘voluntary compulsory vaccination’? What will they say about the fact that perfectly healthy people are being vaccinated with a genetic vaccine, for the production of which people were murdered? What will people say later about the fact that today the whole world is exposed to such an unnecessary risk through vaccination? What will people say later about this gender ideology to which everyone is bowing today? Will it be celebrated in the future as a heroic deed that soccer stadiums are illuminated in rainbow colors?
The representatives of the parish council called Ramm’s questions “deliberate false statements and conspiracy myths.” In an apparent reference to people practicing homosexuality or being confused about their gender, they said that “groups of people are discriminated against that we as a community would like to encounter openly.”
The letter to the Diocese of Münster lamented that people entering the church might see Ramm’s monthly bulletin and be offended:
We do not want people who visit our church to be confronted with such statements. This contradicts how we as a community understand and live our Christianity here in this place. We want to be a welcoming church, but hospitality stops where other people are hurt and discriminated against.
Additionally, the letter referred to several deaths related to COVID-19 in a nursing home for people suffering from dementia next to the church: “What might a person think who visits his relative and perhaps comes to our church one day later, if we have such statements on display on our church premises and thus at least tolerate them?” The letter provided no answer to that question.
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Days later, Fr. Klaus Winterkamp, the Diocese of Münster’s vicar general, told the district superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter — incidentally addressing not the current superior, Fr. Stefan Dreher FSSP, but his predecessor, Fr. Bernhard Gerstle — that both Bishop Felix Genn of Münster “and I can understand the anger of the pastor and the committees.”
“By no means is it acceptable that the proclamation within the liturgical celebration is used to express private opinions with regard to the coronavirus pandemic or the COVID vaccine or other socio-political problems/challenges,” Winterkamp wrote in an email obtained by LifeSiteNews. “It is also totally unacceptable in this context to accuse Pope Francis of expressing his own opinion when the proclamation, of all things, is used to disseminate private opinions.”
“We certainly agree that the proclamation of the Good News within the liturgy serves precisely this purpose: to proclaim the Good News and not one’s own opinion, certainly not on socio-political or medical issues,” the vicar general continued.
Within the Diocese of Münster, at least six churches offered “blessings” for homosexual couples in May. The diocese’s news website, published by Bishop Genn, ran an article advertising the events that took place across Germany. The diocese did not respond to a request for comment on what consequences the priests and parishes involved in those “blessings” had to face.
A spokesman for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter told LifeSiteNews that questions of personnel would not be addressed in the media, but explained that the district’s leadership had decided “to reorganize the responsibilities in the Recklinghausen apostolate in order to pacify the situation and to be able to maintain the pastoral care offered by the Fraternity there without restriction in the future.”
Jacek Spendel, who attends the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church in Recklinghausen, told LifeSiteNews that Ramm will be transferred to the Czech Republic “before the end of this month,” even though he doesn’t speak the language.
“Fr. Michael addresses uncomfortable topics, and not everyone likes it,” Spendel said.
“Fr. Michael has never condemned anyone, and he keeps telling us to be very careful about judging,” he continued. “He condemns the sin, never the sinner. That is the experience we have in the community.”
Spendel pointed out that the Fraternity had bought a residence in Recklinghausen “only in March. The whole community has actively given money and helped with the renovations. Now the house will be empty.”
“We are now left without a shepherd,” he said. “The community, which is very young and dynamic, doesn’t deserve that. What Fr. Michael has built up here in a very short time, how he has strengthened unity — it’s all incredible.”
Ramm had, among other things, founded a girls’ choir, started new programs of catechesis, and strengthened families, according to Spendel.
The spokesman for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter told LifeSiteNews that “there is no definite decision at this time regarding the future pastoral care at the apostolate in Recklinghausen.”
For now, Spendel said, a priest of the Fraternity will travel 30 minutes every Sunday from a residence in Oberhausen to say Mass in Recklinghausen, “which is a pity, as pastoral care from a distance is very difficult and does not bring as much fruit.”
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