April 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — On April 16, the German Bishops' Conference published a documentary about the situation of the Catholic families in Germany and their attitude toward current issues such as “remarried” divorcees, practicing homosexuals, and contraception. The report sums up the opinion of those who responded to the questionnaire about marriage and the family as published by the Vatican in the Lineamenta. As the Bishops' Conference sums it up in its press release of April 20:
The responses show, that the model of marriage and family still finds broad acceptance among the faithful. However, for the most part, they [those who responded to the questions] expect an increased understanding of the responsible Church authorities towards those forms of life that do not fully correspond to this model. Most commentaries answered those questions that relate to the question of how to deal with remarried divorcees, with couples who live together in a mere civil marriage or without any marriage certificate and with homosexual couples. In this matter, a majority of the faithful expect a further development of the Church's teaching and a greater openness toward the current life reality.
This document comes after the German Bishops had met on their annual meeting in Hildesheim in Northern Germany at the end of February, where the head of the German Bishops, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, announced that the German Bishops might allow “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion, even if the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome should decide otherwise. “We are no subsidiaries of Rome,” and “we also learn from life in doctrine,” were his and his colleagues' famous formulas that evoked much resistance and opposition, among others from Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Kurt Koch, and Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes.
Mathias von Gersdorff, a renowned pro-life activist and author of several books about problems of life and of the destructive influence of the media, lamented the German faithful’s responses in a strong article on April 28 in the German liberal-conservative weekly newspaper, Junge Freiheit. He says:
In reference to Germany, the statement of the German Bishops' Conference shows a desolate situation. If this survey reflects truly the reality here in Germany, the Church has no influence whatsoever over the views of their faithful concerning marriage, family and the sexual morality. […] In other words: in the eyes of the German Bishops' Conference, the sexual revolution in Germany has had a full success.
Von Gersdorff concludes that the German Bishops should consequently go to Rome for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family and appear “in front of the whole assembly kneeling, and, with ashes on their heads, asking for forgiveness for their failures.”
Bishops from poor dioceses, such as from inner Bolivia or from Nigeria, might ask them the following question: 'How can it be that such a wealthy Church has spent so little money to teach the faithful the true Catholic teaching about marriage and sexuality?'
The German author also mentions the Bishops might well be asked why they did not spend more money “to fight the negative influences of TV, Internet, and other media upon the people?” And von Gersdorff asked the painful question whether this lack of acceptance of the moral teaching of the Church among German Catholics is not also related to their own lack of Faith, even in the fundamental truths of our Faith concerning the “Divinity of Christ, His salvific work as a suffering and redemptive Victim.”
And von Gersdorff raises the important question:
In the face of such a catastrophe one rubs his eyes when the German Bishops have the sad courage to go to the Synod with demands. The teaching has to be 'developed further,' one should have more 'estimation' toward extramarital and homosexual relationships and so on. Which successes does the German delegation to the Synod want to present to justify its [presumed] authority to put out those demands?
In this context, the German author refers to a more liberal journalist from an established secular newspaper in Germany who himself has noted that the German Bishops are the only ones in the world who come up with this kind of liberal position toward the moral teaching of the Church. Yes, says von Gersdorff, the German Bishops “propose to level down the Catholic teaching about marriage and sexuality.” And he concludes:
Let us wait and see what Cardinal Marx and others say up until the Synod starts [in October of 2015]. The German Cardinal Walter Brandmueller already has taken his stance: 'Whosoever wants to change the Dogma, is a heretic – even if he wears the Roman purple.'