Wednesday, December 26, 2007

German Bishops caught napping at Christmas

from the ever excellent , a report on the low standard of German episcopal preaching.

Everyone asleep-Alles schläft (a play on the opening of the lyrics of Silent Night in the German version)

A deranged Christmas. Every year, the German bishops preach at Christmas before full cathedrals. With their banalities, they would even send the Virgin Mary and St Joseph to sleep. A commentary.

It is the Holy Night. While the angels rejoice at the birth of the Son of God, the churchgoers in the cathedrals of the contemporary ecclesiastical and spiritual decline do not hear much about the Christmas mystery.

Instead, on the way to Bethlehem, they are led by the bishops on the rocky path of senseless superficialities. The star of the Magi is obscured. Daily politics dictate the issues.

The Christmas sermons of the German pastors were even emptier than expected.

In the best case, there were the usual superficial phrases about the love of God.

The conservative Bishop Gregory Maria Hanke of Eichstaett suggested Christmas was "an invitation for us to collaborate with God."

The conservative Archbishop of Bamberg Ludwig Schick said that Christmas should not be allowed "to become just like commodities" -as if this has not been the case for decades.

Even the Bishop of Limburg, Msgr. Gerhard Pieschl, complained about long term "materialism", but here something else was added.

He spoke of lighting lamps, "to awaken the world from sleep, to dispel the darkness of the night, that is threatening to sink into an ever more hectic whirl of the material."

The fact that a reason for the hectic whirl of the material is that the church no longer has anything significant to say from the mouths of their chief pastors of the clergy, was not the viewpoint of the bishop.

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück warned his believers, residents of the richest country in the world, as the pastors have done for decades without anything changing of a " widening gap between the rich and the poor".

He asked his Faithful, as they were focused on Christmas, to be active opponents of climate change – perhaps by symbolically reducing Christmas lighting?

Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg stated that there was "much filth in paradise." He revealed to his Faithful that excessive demands, economic pressures, technical possibilities and the desire to have always more for oneself was having a disastrous effect on the ecological equilibrium of the earth.

The solution to these problems? In Jesus of Nazareth, "the tortured and abused creation finds a new hope". It's as simple as that!

Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff from Aachen devoted his sermon to two Africans who suffocated when they were smuggled in the undercarriage of an Airbus into Europe:

"No place for Africans. And if they enter, they are chased through the streets and pushed to death "- Msgr. Mussinghoff dramatically stated and doubtless moved his happy Christmas congregation to tears. (Cathcon note: heard this Bishop say once in a sermon, “God is not Catholic”.)

Several conservative bishops were still close to the field of Catholic moral teaching.

They defended the human rights of unborn life, old and sick people.

Can we hope that German bishops in the distant future also respect the right to life of the Christian mystery?

1 comment:

Mike4b said...

Were you able to watch the broadcast from Erfurt by any chance? I was going to, but as I didn't get bact from [Traditional] Midnight Mass until 3am I forgot to a) set the timer to record it and b) wake up in time...

This may of course have been a blessing.... :-)