Monday, August 31, 2015

Death throws of the Catholic Church in Germany

Catholic Church loses more elderly members

The Catholic Church in Germany has clearly significantly more withdrawals of older church members reported last year than the year before. This is the result of a newspaper survey.

According to the "Rheinische Post"  the screen that appears in Dusseldorf  almost twice as many people aged over 60 left the Church in 2014 compared to the year before. The survey took place in the 27 German dioceses, of which eleven have surveys of departures by age group.

In the Diocese of Essen according to the report, from 764 people aged over 60 left last year compared to 341 in 2013. In the Archdiocese of Hamburg, the number has risen from 330 to 886, it said. In Freiburg  in 2013, 950 senior citizens left the Catholic Church, a year later there were 2,185. The Diocese of Bamberg recorded an increase of 1,470 withdrawals to 2,074, and the diocese of Limburg withdrawals increased from 399 to 537.

The proportion of senior citizens in the withdrawals is however still relatively low: it lies in the various dioceses at about six to eight percent, according to the report. However, in the Diocese of Münster now one in ten are older than 60 years.

The Viennese pastoral theologian Paul Zulehner spoke in view of the development of an "epochal upheaval" in the church. "The institutions do not contribute any more, it counts only as a personal decision", Zulehner told the newspaper. In his estimation,  in the coming years, a sort of "representative, sympathetic churchiness without membership" could arise similar to trade unions.

Even as a whole last year, the two major hurches in Germanyhave lost more members than in previous years, . According to published figures in July, there was in the Catholic Church a decline of 230,000 believers and in the Protestant church of 410,000. In 2014, the Catholic Church lost almost 218,000 people -in the previous year it had been nearly 179,000. The Protestant church in 2014 lost significantly more members than in previous years.

Pope supports European unity

Pope: unity of Europe requires openness to God
Message to 1,400th anniversary celebration of the Irish monk and missionary to Vorarlberg, Columban

Brotherhood and unity in Europe presupposes, in the words of Pope Francis, a culture and society that are "open to God". Today, such a civilization should revive the European continent, he stressed in a message to the anniversary celebration of the Irish monk and missionary to Vorarlberg, Columban (540-615) in the northern Italian Bobbio.

Saint Columba had an image of the church impressed by European ideals and campaigned for a cultural unity of Europe, emphasized the Pope in a message conveyed by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin . He therefore applies rightly regarded as one of the "fathers of Europe".

Columban, who evangelized in France as well as in the region around Lake Constance in Bregenz, died as abbot in Bobbio in the present province of Piacenza. To contrast him with St Columba (512-97), the missionary in Scotland, he is also known as Columba the Younger.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Leading moral theologian sees no barriers to sacramental homosexual marriage

An interview on the official church website of the German Bishops' Conference.

"Not to break the staff on the backs of others"

The moral theologian, Stephan Goertz about the Church's attitude to homosexuality
"If someone is gay, who the Lord seeks and has good will - who am I to judge him?" Thus Pope Francis spoke two years ago at a press conference on the return flight from his first trip to Latin America. "Who am I to judge him?" in line with this is the title of a new collection of essays on the subject "Homosexuality and the Catholic Church".

In an interview the theologian. Stephan Goertz the Mainz moral theologian explained the motivation for the publication of the comprehensive 400 page volume.

Question: Professor Goertz, why so many religions find homosexuality difficult?

Goertz: religions such as Judaism, Islam or Christianity come from a time that did not yet have available today our human scientific knowledge about human sexuality; that which then applied was unquestionably equated with the divine order: the Earth is the centre of the world, men and women are not equal, all men covet women, all women men. And that affects the sexual morality.

Stephan Goertz (pictured here with the Essen Bishop Overbeck) is a professor of moral theology at the University of Mainz

Question: What was derived from it?

Goertz: The reproduction was considered the primary God-given natural purpose of sexuality. And sexual behavior was not allowed to endanger the social order. In this concept, sexual relations between men or women had no place.

Question: Do you deal in your book specifically with the subject "Homosexuality and the Catholic Church". Does the Church of today not have more important, more urgent issues?

Goertz: You should ask that to those for whom homosexuality still is a problem. It would be irresponsible if the theology would not comment. First, sexuality is something that affects all people. And secondly, we still have to deal with the fact that at the political level in many parts of the world there is discrimination, persecution, with exclusion of homosexuals. It would be an important Christian witness, if the Catholic Church were to act with a resolute anti-discrimination policy.

Question Now, the church has long said yes, that homosexuals should not be discriminated against. But then there are also the traditional and biblical passages, where homosexuality is condemned ...

Goertz: We always have to figure in the concrete historical situation of the authors of biblical texts in our interpretation.

Question: In the book of Leviticus, sexual acts between people of the same sex are called "atrocities" that "are punished by death". That sounds pretty clear.

Goertz: The context here is of that sexuality had to fulfil the primary purpose, to ensure the survival of the people. That's obviously not our situation, and that's especially since the Council no longer our sexual morality. Therefore, one cannot use single quotes taken out of context to answer a moral issue today. That would be a fundamentalist use of biblical texts.

Question: Opposition: Do you not do the exact same thing if you pick out the points that match your view of things?

Goertz: I take a theological stance on the foundation of the Bible. That God has absolutely promised everyone his love that in the people of God natural, social differences are to be overcome, that we should not condemn others. I think that is theologically more important than rules on the "nature" of individual sexual acts.

Question: The problem is that anyone who wants to talk today about homosexuality and church without foaming at the mouth, is at once caught in the crossfire between right wing blogs or left wing church critics ...
Goertz: In certain circles one has the impression that arguments barely penetrate in fact. The task of theology is to examine the arguments and to ask what today the Christian message demands from us. We must carefully differentiate and boldly approach the issues. And then such a theology will hopefully be perceived accordingly by the bishops.

Question: In the autumn, the topic of the World Synod of Bishops is marriage and the family. What is to be expected in your view as you overlook the treatment of homosexuals in the church? And what would be desirable?
Goertz: To be realistic, perhaps, once again it can be stressed that homosexuals should not be discriminated against and criminalized and that they have their natural place in the church. This is globally considered an important message. Maybe it will finally also leave behind the old condemnations of homosexual acts. I think it is desirable that one searches even more within the Catholic Church for a direct dialogue with homosexuals and does not talk more over their heads away and give precipitate moral judgments. That would be a positive signal.

Question: Then perhaps the question would also be in the room, which is now being discussed already in politics, how far the marriage can be made equal with gay or lesbian partnerships.
Goertz: Different can be designated as separate, yet experience an equal consideration and respect. One might ask theologically whether a binding gay love affair that sees itself as a partnership in faith in the God of Israel and Jesus, possesses a sacramental character. Homosexual partnerships could then find church recognition.

Question: Could that one day also be done by external signs, or by a blessing of homosexual couples?

Goertz: Although I do not expect that this will be already on the synod agenda: I see no problem in principle theologically.

The moral theologian on far left with Cardinal Lehmann.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bogus monk- dangerous influence on Pope

: "The theme of the 73rd course was: "We charge the image of God for a more human world," which took place on the 19th-23rd August. Bianchi's lecture was "the image of God, of man: Why responsible?" Bianchi said: "The family is a form which is based in community. The natural family does not exist."
Enzo Bianchi although he calls himself "Prior" and is the founder of the "ecumenical" Monastery of Bose, appears in a religious habit, and speaks of "his monks", is in reality neither cleric nor monk, but a layman. In 2014   the Vatican expert Sandro Magister revealed  discussing the religious '68er,  that Bianchi together with Alberto Melloni, the head of the progressive "school of Bologna", held a "secret" ecumenical project, which aims to abolish, or rather, to dissolve the papacy in the name of ecumenism. Alberto Melloni was also Speaker in Assisi."

Full story

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Victims demand trial in Rome of cardinal, archbishop and bishops

Victims of abuse in the Church have asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith to bring Cardinal Danneels and Archbishop Léonard among others before the special new tribunal which should examine negligent priests.

Pope Francis announced in early June the establishment of a tribunal, under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The tribunal should interview bishops who would have been remiss in addressing cases of pedophile priests.

An investigation shows that in Belgium several victims wrote to Rome asking for Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, former Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe and the Bishop of Hasselt, Patrick Hoogmartens to be tried. They wrote a personal letter on this matter to Cardinal Müller, who is the head of the Congregation.

Léonard is internationally one of the few bishops who have been held liable in a case of sexual abuse. But that certainly does not mean that he certainly will have to appear before the tribunal in Rome, said canon lawyers, Rik Torfs and Kurt Martens.

The Vatican spokesman would not confirm whether the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already received files on the Belgian bishops.


Catholic church in Scotland asks forgiveness

"The Scottish Catholic church has offered a “profound apology” to victims of child abuse and the church’s failure to investigate and punish the culprits, after a damning independent report into its conduct.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the official head of the Scottish church, told a congregation in Glasgow on Tuesday that their bishops were “shamed and pained” by the abuse suffered by children and adults over recent decades. “We say sorry. We ask forgiveness.”"

Full story

Postscript Archbishop Tartaglia is not "the official head of the Scottish Church" . Archbishop Tartaglia is president of the Bishops Conference but the head of the Church is Archbishop Cushley of Edinburgh and this because the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh is the primatial see.

Cardinal calls for rapid deportations

Clear words: The Cologne Cardinal, Rainer Woelki in favour of a rapid and consistent deportation of refugees from safe countries of origin, such as Albania.

"As a rule, Albanians who come to us cannot invoke the right of asylum in the Basic Law", Woelki said on Wednesday to the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger".

Return refugees consistently

The 59-year-old who currently is visiting Albania and Kosovo, therefore considers it right to send them back, "moreover consistently, so as not to stir up the hope for every individual, maybe that they as one of hundreds or thousands of newcomers can then just be allowed to stay".

Given a large number of poverty refugees, the right of asylum should be protected from abuse, demanded Woelki. "We cannot overcome the problem of poverty by trying to solve the problem of asylum."

What was needed was an immigration law, "which allows the people from countries such as Albania, legal entry and a perspective on life in Germany," said the Cardinal. The intention of the Federal Government is to declare Albania and Kosovo in future as "safe countries of origin". This would make it difficult for those immigrating from there to claim their fundamental right to asylum in Germany.

Proposals to reduce the allowance for refugees, Woelki called outlandish and spoke of attempts of politics, to conduct the refugee debate " on the backs of those affected".
Specifications in Germany apply for each refugee

The requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court are clear. "They apply to anyone who comes to us", underlined the Archbishop. One also cannot compare salaries and cost of living in a country like Albania with the German level. "Therefore, the idea is absurd, 'Poverty refugees' - a terrible word by the way! – wishing to put them in a worse position than asylum seekers or Hartz IV recipients ".

The Cardinal showed openness for a "national refugee pact" as part of a genuine welcoming culture. "We need to further pull together socially and thereby give ourselves economic challenges. Since all social groups are needed to be involved, why not in a national pact?" said Woelki. The churches would make our contribution.