29/6: Feast of SS Peter & Paul – Is Pope Putting Brakes On Dissent in Germany?

Vatican City, Jun 27, 2020 : Pope Francis “appreciates” the German Church’s “Synodal Way,” the president of the German bishops’ conference said after meeting with the pope Saturday.

In a statement following his private audience with the pope June 27, Bishop Georg Bätzing said: “I feel strengthened by the intensive exchange with the Holy Father to continue on the path we have taken. The pope appreciates this project, which he associates closely with the concept of ‘synodality’ which he coined.”

He continued: “It was a matter of concern to me to make it clear that the Church in Germany is following this path and always knows that she is bound to the universal Church.”

Bätzing traveled to the Vatican the day after the German Church released figures showing that it lost a record number of members in 2019.

The statistics, issued June 26, showed that 272,771 people exited the Catholic Church last year, a significant increase on the 2018 figure of 216,078.

In Bätzing’s own diocese of Limburg, 9,439 people left the Catholic Church in 2019, 1,459 more than in 2018.

Bätzing said Saturday: “We must find answers to urgent challenges facing the Church, ranging from coming to terms with sexual abuse of minors to the dramatic numbers of people leaving the Church.” ….

Referring to a 28-page letter that Pope Francis wrote last year to German Catholics, Bätzing said: “With his letter to the pilgrim people of God of the Church in Germany in June 2019, he encouraged and gave indications. He will continue to accompany us attentively.”

The pope’s letter was prompted by the German bishops’ decision to launch a two-year “Synodal Way,” bringing together lay people and bishops to discuss four main topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

The German bishops initially said that the process would end with a series of “binding” votes — raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge the Church’s teaching and discipline.

In his letter, the pope suggested that participants in the “Synodal Way” faced a particular “temptation.”

“At the basis of this temptation, there is the belief that the best response to the many problems and shortcomings that exist is to reorganize things, change them and ‘put them back together’ to bring order and make ecclesial life easier by adapting it to the current logic or that of a particular group,” he wrote…  [emphasis added].

In May, Bätzing expressed the hope that the results of Germany’s “Synodal Way” would be discussed at a synod in Rome.

He said he was “very much in favor of transporting to Rome, to the level of the whole Church, the insights and decisions that we garner from the Synodal Process — also with regard to [the role of] women and ecclesial ministry” …

After his meeting with Pope Francis, he said he looked forward to a meeting of the world’s bishops in Rome in October 2022, which will be dedicated to the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”

He said: “I hope that with the experiences of the Synodal Way we can make a contribution to the world Synod of Bishops in October 2022, which will deal with the question of synodality.”   Click here to read entire piece at Catholic World Report

Comment:

While Pope Francis appears to sound a warning note about the danger of the “Synodal Way” (which is, at least, arguably designed to encourage dissent), he does, at the same time, seem to approve it.  Allowing the topics listed to be raised and debated, such as the role of women (when female ordination is out of the question, cannot happen), could be interpreted as Pope Francis giving the green light to dissent. 

So, which is it?  Is he encouraging dissent or putting the brakes on the already dissent-ridden Church in Germany?

On this Feast of SS Peter & Paul, when we celebrate the Gospel account of Our Lord’s entrusting of the keys of the Kingdom to Peter,  we might assess the pontificate of Pope Francis.  Raise any relevant issues of interest and/or concern in the comments, but above all, let’s remember to pray especially for Pope Francis today.  

29 June: Feast of SS Peter & Paul…

Comment: 

Discuss any issues arising from this important Feast – perhaps  the role of Peter – Francis – as Supreme Pontiff?  

As well as discussion on relevant key issues, though, such an important Feast must be celebrated with the usual mix of Feast day greetings, favourite prayers, hymns, jokes and stories – enjoy!

A very happy Feast of SS Peter & Paul to one and all!  

Cardinals Join Battle With Pope Francis

Cardinal Burke on Amoris Laetitia Dubia: ‘Tremendous Division’ Warrants Action

Posted by Edward Pentin on Tuesday Nov 15th, 2016 at 11:25 AM
In an exclusive Register interview, [Cardinal Burke] elaborates about why four cardinals were impelled to seek clarity about the papal exhortation’s controversial elements.

Four cardinals asked Pope Francis five dubia questions, or “doubts,” about the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in a bid to clear up ambiguities and confusion surrounding the text. On Nov. 14, they went public with their request, after they learned that the Holy Father had decided not to respond to their questions.

Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Burke

In this exclusive interview with the Register, Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, explains in more detail the cardinals’ aims; why the publication of their letter should be seen as an act of charity, unity and pastoral concern, rather than as a political action; and what the next steps will be, if the Holy Father continues to refuse to respond.

Your Eminence, what do you aim to achieve by this initiative?

The initiative is aimed at one thing only, namely the good of the Church, which, right now, is suffering from a tremendous confusion on at least these five points. There are a number of other questions as well, but these five critical points have to do with irreformable moral principles. So we, as cardinals, judged it our responsibility to request a clarification with regard to these questions, in order to put an end to this spread of confusion that is actually leading people into error.


Are you hearing this concern about confusion a lot?

Everywhere I go I hear it. Priests are divided from one another, priests from bishops, bishops among themselves. There’s a tremendous division that has set in in the Church, and that is not the way of the Church. That is why we settle on these fundamental moral questions which unify us.

Why is Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia of such particular concern?

Because it has been the font of all of these confused discussions. Even diocesan directives are confused and in error. We have one set of directives in one diocese; for instance, saying that priests are free in the confessional, if they judge it necessary, to permit a person who is living in an adulterous union and continues to do so to have access to the sacraments — whereas, in another diocese, in accord with what the Church’s practice has always been, a priest is able to grant such permission to those who make the firm purpose of amendment to live chastely within a marriage, namely as brother and sister, and to only receive the sacraments in a place where there would be no question of scandal. This really has to be addressed. But then there are the further questions in the dubia apart from that particular question of the divorced and remarried, which deal with the term “instrinsic evil,” with the state of sin and with the correct notion of conscience.

Without the clarification you are seeking, are you saying, therefore, that this and other teaching in Amoris Laetitia go against the law of non-contradiction (which states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time when dealing with the same context)?

Of course, because, for instance, if you take the marriage issue, the Church teaches that marriage is indissoluble, in accord with the word of Christ, “He who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Therefore, if you are divorced, you may not enter a marital relationship with another person unless the indissoluble bond to which you are bound is declared to be null, to be nonexistent. But if we say, well, in certain cases, a person living in an irregular marriage union can receive holy Communion, then one of two things has to be the case: Either marriage really is not indissoluble — as for instance, in the kind of “enlightenment theory” of Cardinal [Walter] Kasper, who holds that marriage is an ideal to which we cannot realistically hold people. In such a case, we have lost the sense of the grace of the sacrament, which enables the married to live the truth of their marriage covenant — or holy Communion is not communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. Of course, neither of those two is possible. They contradict the constant teachings of the Church from the beginning and, therefore, cannot be true.

Some will see this initiative through a political lens and criticize it as a “conservative vs. liberal” move, something you and the other signatories reject. What is your response to such an accusation?

Our response is simply this: We are not taking some kind of position within the Church, like a political decision, for instance. The Pharisees accused Jesus of coming down on one side of a debate between the experts in Jewish Law, but Jesus did not do that at all. He appealed to the order that God placed in nature from the moment of creation. He said Moses let you divorce because of your hardness of heart, but it was not this way from the beginning. So we are simply setting forth what the Church has always taught and practiced in asking these five questions that address the Church’s constant teaching and practice. The answers to these questions provide an essential interpretative tool for Amoris Laetitia. They have to be set forth publicly because so many people are saying: “We’re confused, and we don’t understand why the cardinals or someone in authority doesn’t speak up and help us.”

It’s a pastoral duty?

That’s right, and I can assure you that I know all of the cardinals involved, and this has been something we’ve undertaken with the greatest sense of our responsibility as bishops and cardinals. But it has also been undertaken with the greatest respect for the Petrine Office, because if the Petrine Office does not uphold these fundamental principles of doctrine and discipline, then, practically speaking, division has entered into the Church, which is contrary to our very nature.

And the Petrine ministry, too, whose primary purpose is unity?

Yes, as the Second Vatican Council says, the Pope is the foundation of the unity of the bishops and of all the faithful. This idea, for instance, that the Pope should be some kind of innovator, who is leading a revolution in the Church or something similar, is completely foreign to the Office of Peter. The Pope is a great servant of the truths of the faith, as they’ve been handed down in an unbroken line from the time of the apostles.

Is this why you emphasize that what you are doing is an act of charity and justice?

Absolutely. We have this responsibility before the people for whom we are bishops, and an even greater responsibility as cardinals, who are the chief advisers to the Pope. For us to remain silent about these fundamental doubts, which have arisen as a result of the text of Amoris Laetitia, would, on our part, be a grave lack of charity toward the Pope and a grave lack in fulfilling the duties of our own office in the Church.

Some might argue that you are only four cardinals, among whom you’re the only one who is not retired, and this is not very representative of the entire Church. In that case, they might ask: Why should the Pope listen and respond to you?

Well, numbers aren’t the issue. The issue is the truth. In the trial of St. Thomas More, someone told him that most of the English bishops had accepted the king’s order, but he said that may be true, but the saints in heaven did not accept it. That’s the point here. I would think that even though other cardinals did not sign this, they would share the same concern. But that doesn’t bother me. Even if we were one, two or three, if it’s a question of something that’s true and is essential to the salvation of souls, then it needs to be said.

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.

In a conflict between ecclesial authority and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which one is binding on the believer and who has the authority to determine this?

What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition. I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if “even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”

If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?

It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.

Comment:

Some commentators may argue that the Cardinals’ action will have little to no effect, that things will continue apace.  But IS this an historic moment in the life of the Church? Might this conscientious challenge by the four Cardinals, mark a turning point in the current, worsening crisis?  What about the papolatrists? How do they reconcile their false belief that the pope – any pope – is beyond criticism, with the impending public correction of Pope Francis by a number of  Princes of the Church?  How do they square that circle? Maybe we should ask Michael Voris! 

General Discussion (5)

ImageIf there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread.  Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!

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Enjoy!

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General Discussion (4)

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General Discussion (3)

If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread.  Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions. Whatever.

Enjoy!

To read General Discussion Thread (1) click here (2) click here (3) click here