THE SERVANT GENERAL
TAKING A STAND - 3
June 4, 2015
The situation of lay German Catholics is much the same as
lay Catholics all over Europe, of many in the western nations,
and unfortunately, due to liberal media and indoctrination,
also of many in the developing nations. The sad truth is that
many lay Catholics, a majority, are lapsed and/or not practicing.
Part of this is the fault of clerics, who have not been bold
enough to speak, teach and stand up for authentic Catholic
truth, in the face of the onslaught of secularism and gender
ideologies. We would also have thought bishops at least would
stand up for Catholic teaching. However, none of this is anymore
the case. Even bishops at the highest levels, and who will
be part of the Synod of Bishops in October, are singing the
liberal, progressive, modernist tune.
It is time for the laity to stand and be counted. We are the
great majority of our Church. As Catholics, we have the same
dignity and responsibility as the clergy and the religious
in the life and mission of our Church. We cannot wait on the
clergy. We cannot depend on them. And we certainly should
not follow them if they go the liberal route.
Lay Catholics need to know their faith more. And lay Catholics
need to participate in the work of massive evangelization.
Understanding the kerfuffle in the German Catholic
Church - interview with Mathias von Gersdorff
June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- German Catholic journalist
and pro-life activist Mathias von Gersdorff spoke with LifeSiteNews
about the recent stir caused by a document by prominent Catholics
(ZdK) that recommended changing Church teaching on divorce
How important is the role of the ZdK within the German
The “Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken" has
an historical importance: in the 19th century, due to the
persecutions of Catholics in Prussia [i.e., the Kulturkampf],
the laypeople were obliged to organize themselves in associations
of civil law because these were more difficult to target by
the anti-Catholic laws of the Bismarck-government. The ZdK
was created in order to have a central organization. The origin
of the ZdK is therefore quite good. But unfortunately, with
the time, especially after the persecutions, two characteristics
became more and more predominant: an autonomous attitude and
also a lack of distance to the non-Catholic world. These two
characteristics today are predominant: the ZdK very often
rather represents the interest of a political party than those
of the Catholic Church and sometimes even attacks the teaching
of the Church.
Coming back to your question: the ZdK is important because
the bishops – at least the majority of them –
treat this organization as the main voice of the Catholic
laymen. Also the mainstream media treat them like that.
But they are not important in the sense that they influence
the normal Catholics who go every Sunday to church. The ZdK
represents the organized Catholicism: employee’s organizations,
youth organizations with ecclesiastical recognition etc.
2) Who are its representatives?
The ZdK is basically a parliament with 226 members; the majority
are delegates from Catholic associations. Another big percentage
are representatives from the political parties or civil society.
84 of the members are elected at parish-level. Due to this,
the influence of technocrats and politicians is very big and,
as I mentioned above, they tend to represent other interests
than the genuine Catholic ones. That is the reason why the
ZdK regularly upsets conservative Catholics who want the Church's
teaching to be followed.
3) Basically you are saying, that ZdK does not really
represent the Catholic laity in Germany.
Exactly. They represent what we call in Germany the “Räte
und Verbandskatholizismus.” In English that would be
something like the “technocrats and apparatchiks,”
people who have important jobs in the apparatus.
4) Would you say that the ZdK's recent statement that
the Church's moral teaching and practice should be liberalized
represents the true views of the majority of the German Catholic
It is known that in Germany
we face a big crisis of the faith. Many Catholics believe
just in fragments of the whole Catholic faith and teachings.
Maybe the ZdK reflects what these Catholics think. But in
fact the vast majority of these so-called Catholics don´t
care what the ZdK says.
If you just consider the Catholics that practice the faith
– roughly 10 to 12 percent
go each Sunday to Mass – the ZdK represents
at best the most liberal Catholics. But unfortunately, these
liberals are much more active and interested in gaining influence.
The more pious ones go to church to attend Mass, to pray,
but not necessarily to get in conflict with the liberals.
5) How would you describe the situation of the Catholic
Church in Germany? Is there a strong resistance against Cardinal
Marx and his liberal tendencies?
The last statement of the ZdK regarding the “Synod of
the Family” in October this year was so much against
the teaching of the Church about sexuality, marriage and family
that they scandalized many people. Thank God, also many bishops
reacted and took a right position. First Stefan Oster from
Passau and a few days later five more who sent a letter of
support to Bishop Oster.
Also, many laymen perceived that a true revolution was going
on. Many conservative writers criticized heavily the ZdK.
A wave of protest arose. I think this is the reason why Cardinal
Reinhard Marx, Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck (Essen), and Bishop
Stephan Ackermann (Trier) – these three belong clearly
to the liberal factions – rejected some of the statements
of the ZdK with mildly stern criticisms. I guess they saw
the formation of a big conservative wave in Germany.
6) What do you think, how many German bishops of the
27 are in opposition to Cardinal Marx?
Six are openly in favor of the traditional teaching: Stefan
Oster, Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg), Wolfgang Ipolt (Görlitz)
Konrad Zdarsa (Augsburg), Friedhelm Hoffmann (Würzburg)
and Gregor M. Hanke (Eichstätt).
7) How do you assess the meeting organized by the
Bishops' Conferences in Germany, France and Switzerland that
took place in Rome on May 25 concerning the upcoming Synod
on Marriage and the Family? And: What will be the role of
the German Bishops at the next Synod of Bishops on the Family?
With respect to Germany, we have the following situation:
the delegation consists of Cardinal Marx and the Bishops Heiner
Koch (Dresden-Meißen) and Franz-Josef Bode (Osnabrück).
All three are liberal and are open to the way suggested by
Cardinal Walter Kasper in his speech at the Consistory. This
means that the German delegation
is the only 100 percent liberal delegation for the upcoming
Synod on the Family.
8) What are the implications of the new Church Labor
Law in Germany, where now “remarried” divorcees
and homosexual people who do not live according to the Church's
moral teaching are allowed to work in the Church's institutions?
So far, there has been little debate about the consequences
- morally, but also practically (health benefits and financial
support for homosexual partners, children of homosexual couples,
With the changes planned there are no automatic procedures
any more to lay off people who get divorced or who enter a
“civil partnership.” The Church Labor Law is in
this way introducing the reforms that the liberal bishops
like Cardinal Reinhard Marx would like to be approved at the
Synod of the Family convening in October 2015. With this step
the Church Hierarchy in the dioceses that perform the reforms
(any diocese has to introduce these changes individually,
and some have declared already that they won't adapt their
labor structure to the “Sexual Revolution”).
The moral implications are enormous
because, without any real necessity – i.e., no civil
authority was making any pressure, at least not openly –
the bishops will now signal that it is no problem to live
according to the “Sexual Revolution,” instead
by the teaching of the Church. Given that
the Church is a large employer in Germany – with all
her hospitals, schools, rest homes, kindergartens etc. –
this proposed reform now constitutes a
real social revolution: its own Self-Chosen Secularization,
which not even Napoleon himself was able to accomplish.
As you can see also in these debates prior to the Synod on
the Family, a vast majority
of the clergy have not any more the courage and the conviction
to defend the full teaching of the Church about marriage and
sexuality; and they are, instead, willing
to adapt to a world that is more and more shaped in contradiction
to this teaching.