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German bishops release new book about the controversial ‘Shadow Council’ in Rome

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

September 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- At the end of this Autumn's General Assembly of the German Bishops' Conference, the President of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, presented a new book containing an edition of the talks from the controversial and heterodox May 25 “Shadow Council” at the Gregorian University in Rome.

From September 21-24, the German Bishops assembled in Fulda, Germany, for their annual General Assembly. Fulda is the city where the “Apostle to the Germans,” Saint Boniface is buried. At the press conference on September 24, the president of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, took another initiative in order to promote a more liberalizing and indulgent attitude of the Church toward marriage and the family, in light of the upcoming deliberations at the October 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family.

According to the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, the German bishops pleaded “for preserving the current teaching concerning the indissolubility of marriage, while at the same time looking for independent ways with regard to the question of the pastoral care.” In an official press release, Cardinal Marx repeated the idea that “here with us [in Germany] and in many parts of the world, the life realities of many faithful are not always in accordance with the teaching of the Church.” During the press conference, Cardinal Marx, in addition to making the official statement about the upcoming Synod of Bishops, presented a new book that he considers to be a contribution to Pope Francis' invitation to discuss openly and candidly the matters of the Synod. In holding the book up in the air, Marx explained that it was edited by, among others, the secretary of the German Bishops' Conference, Father Hans Langedörfer, S.J. (who was himself present at that press conference), and that the new publication is entitled Theology of Love: Concerning the Current Discussion On Marriage and the Family. Father Langendörfer himself had been involved in the earlier organization of the controversial May 25 “Shadow Council” at the Gregorian University in Rome, whose presentations are, it is said, all contained in this new book, along with the Synod's Instrumentum Laboris (working document) itself. The well-respected Vatican expert, Edward Pentin, wrote about the Jesuit Father Langendörfer in May 2015 and made the following revealing comment:

They [the participants of the Rome Meeting] included Jesuit Father Hans Langendörfer, general secretary of the German bishops’ conference, who has been the leading figure behind the recent reform of the German Church labor laws to controversially allow remarried divorcees and homosexual couples to work in Church institutions.

Significantly, Cardinal Marx, in speaking of this new book, has surprisingly insisted it contains “solid Catholic theology,” even though the very contents of the Rome Meeting (as now published in this new book) earlier had been highly criticized, for example, by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In an interview with Die Tagespost on June 6, 2015, Müller spoke with a direct reference to this “Shadow Council,” which had been organized by the three prestigious presidents of the German, Swiss, and French Bishops' Conferences. He warned that “truth itself cannot be externally organized” and that the foundations of the Church would crumble if, “in the Church that claim would be itself regarded as true which is being promoted by opinion-makers.” And he reminded the readers that “the foundations have been laid once and for all,” meaning that the moral teaching of the Church is not up for discussion. Müller also said that it is “nearly absurd” now to oppose the more differentiated theology of the body of John Paul II with a vaguer “theology of love with which the binding teaching on marriage is now supposed to be made a little more elastic and likewise more relativized.”

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