Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Head of German Catholics tries to suppress large priests' revolt in his own Archdiocese

177 Priester und Diakone rebellieren gegen den Papst - SPIEGEL ONLINE

They are protesting with their signatures: 177 priests and deacons in a statement call on the Catholic Church to grant re-married divorcees continued access to the Lord's Supper. German Catholics threatened the rebel chief Zollitsch with tough sanctions.

The leader of German Catholics, Robert Zollitsch threatens to crack down on more than 177 priests and deacons of his diocese. His subordinates had not known until a few days ago about a statement of open disobedience. It it rebellious priests ask that Catholics who, after a divorce, marry again, can receive the Sacrament. This is forbidden by canon law, but in reality is, a common practice in many parishes and only one of many demands for reform that the German Pope Benedict XVI has rejected in Rome.

The 177 priests implicate themselves specifically of having acted against the orders from above. Such a statement has so far not existed in Germany of this dimension. Zollitsch and his Vicar-General Fridolin Keck now enjoin the priests to withdraw their signatures.

In the letter to each of the 177 disobedient priests, it says ominously, "I need to explicitly point out to you that our archdiocese cannot approve a general and indiscriminate practice which violates rules of the Catholic Church in an unauthorised manner."

With the signing of the memorandum, the cleric "deliberately flouted the applicable canon law," and it was "inappropriate and unhelpful".

"Ruthless behavior towards Catholics of good will"
On behalf of Archbishop Zollitsch, Vicar-General Keck asks, "I beg you not to sign the document or withdraw a given signature."

The website of the rebel priest has been showing live this afternoon the result of pressure from above . At 4.30 pm, there were 177 signatories, less one who withdrew his signature.

The initiators of the Priests' Memorandum want to defend themselves and accuse the Pope and the Church of a ruthless behaviour against Catholics of good will who are refused perhaps the most important sacrament for believers for the rest of their lives, . Why should I come to church on Sundays? This has long been the question of the victims. "The people in the parishes should know where we stand," agreed the 13 initiators who are committed to continue to provide, despite the pressure communion to re-married divorcees.

A Freiburg priest refers to the case of a Catholic woman who married for the first time about fifty years ago. Even after a year,the relationship broke up and the woman soon found a new man to whom she has now been married for almost five decades, but she may not receive Communion. He gives, however, the Body of Christ, even though illegally, in "good conscience" to such Catholics.

A recurrent problem postponed

A 86-year-old who recently celebrated his diamond jubilee as a priest also signed. For the people and the Church's sake, he maintains a reform is "urgently needed". The unfortunate condition, which cannot be understood by anyone outside the church, no one could any longer maintain. The problem was that the church had "postponed the issue again and again," says another signatory. The backlog of reforms in the Catholic Church is now immense.

But Pope Benedict XVI only recently has wiped out any hope that the Church may rethink the exclusion of divorced and re-married to Communion. The denial was "a great suffering of the present church," but the church, however, had no panaceas.

Father Konrad Irslinger from Freiburg does not find the threatening tone of the letter surprising. "Every priest is man enough to decide what the hour is." He knows priests who have decided explicitly to sign only after reading the letter from Zollitsch and Keck.
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