ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT ON “WHAT HAPPENS IN GERMANY…”

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT ON “WHAT HAPPENS IN GERMANY…”

I posted this earlier today on my Facebook page and, in the midst of a busy news day, only now have I had time to copy this to Joan’s Rome:

Kudos – and heartfelt thanks (!) to Abp. Charles Chaput for this timely, accurate and much needed evaluation of the proposal of many of the bishops of Germany to allow communion to be given to the non/Catholic spouse of a Catholic husband/wife. The archbishop tells us clearly why this is not possible. You never need to worry about what the Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches when you follow Philadelphia’s archbishop. I am only sorry that this even had to be written – that something contrary to the teaching of the Church and the Magisterium came from a Catholic bishops conference.

We are used to reading tweet-length versions of very important news stories so please take your time to read this in its entirety – and say a pray for Abp. Chaput! Let’s also pray, in charity, for the German Bishops that they revert to Church teaching.

A final word: Yes. folks, I know Pope Francis speaks of a pastoral approach to matters, undoubtedly important in so many cases, but is there a pastoral approach to a red light?

The archbishop’s article was in FIRST THINGS:

“What Happens in Germany”

In The Making of Martin Luther, the Cambridge scholar Richard Rex notes that 1518, not 1517, marks the real birth of Luther’s public profile. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses hit the wider German market in January 1518. He wrote his Instructions for Confession and his Sermon on the Proper Preparation of the Heart for the Reception of Communion in the spring of the same year. The Sermon, especially, bore the early seeds of Luther’s later full-blown attack on Catholic sacramental theology—a fact that Cardinal Thomas Cajetan had already sensed when he met with Luther and pressed him to recant his more problematic views in Augsburg in October 1518.

Luther declined. The rest of the story is well known.

Exactly 500 years after Luther’s Sermon, communion is again a matter of debate in Germany. This time the disputants are the bishops themselves. Munich’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx and other German bishops seek to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive communion under certain conditions, so long as they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist.” Cologne’s Cardinal Rainer Woelki and six other German bishops oppose the effort. They have sought clarification from Rome. The Vatican, however, has declined to intervene and returned the matter to the German bishops, urging them to arrive at a conference-level agreement.

Heat around the issue spiked earlier this month at a national German Catholic gathering. The country’s president, along with a major television personality and others, publicly sided with Marx. Cardinal Marx argued that “When someone is hungry and has faith, they must have access to the Eucharist. That must be our passion, and I will not let up on this.” Cardinal Woelki disagreed, noting that “whoever says ‘yes’ to the real presence of Christ in the [Catholic] Eucharist” also “naturally says ‘yes’ to the papacy, and the hierarchical structure of the Church, and the veneration of the saints, and much, much more”—all typically rejected in Protestant belief. Woelki further stressed that “we [in Germany] are a part and parcel of the universal Church. There can be no German exceptionalism.”

Being human, bishops often disagree. Internal differences are common in any episcopal conference, and they’re handled—no surprise—internally. But two things set the German situation apart: the global prominence of the controversy and the doctrinal substance of the debate. Who can receive the Eucharist, and when, and why, are not merely German questions. If, as Vatican II said, the Eucharist is the source and summit of our life as Christians and the seal of our Catholic unity, then the answers to these questions have implications for the whole Church. They concern all of us. And in that light, I offer these points for thought and discussion, speaking simply as one among many diocesan bishops:

1. If the Eucharist truly is the sign and instrument of ecclesial unity, then if we change the conditions of communion, don’t we in fact redefine who and what the Church is?

2. Intentionally or not, the German proposal will inevitably do exactly that. It is the first stage in opening communion to all Protestants, or all baptized persons, since marriage ultimately provides no unique reason to allow communion for non-Catholics.

3. Communion presupposes common faith and creed, including supernatural faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, along with the seven sacraments recognized by the perennial tradition of the Catholic Church. By renegotiating this fact, the German proposal in effect adopts a Protestant notion of ecclesial identity. Simple baptism and a belief in Christ seem to suffice, not belief in the mystery of faith as understood by the Catholic tradition and its councils. Will the Protestant spouse need to believe in holy orders as understood by the Catholic Church, which is logically related to belief in the consecration of the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ? Or are the German bishops suggesting that the sacrament of holy orders might not depend upon apostolic succession? In such a case, we would be confronting a much deeper error.

4. The German proposal severs the vital link between communion and sacramental confession. Presumably it does not imply that Protestant spouses must go to confession for serious sins as a prelude to communion. But this stands in contradiction to the perennial practice and express dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church, the Council of Trent, and the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the ordinary magisterium. It implies, in its effect, a Protestantization of the Catholic theology of the sacraments.

5. If the teaching of the Church can be ignored or renegotiated, even a teaching that has received a conciliar definition (as in this case, at Trent), then can all councils be historically relativized and renegotiated? Many modern liberal Protestants question or reject or simply ignore as historical baggage the teaching on the divinity of Christ from the Council of Nicaea. Will Protestant spouses be required to believe in the divinity of Christ? If they need to believe in the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, why would they not need to share the Catholic belief in holy orders or the sacrament of penance? If they do believe in all these things, why are they not invited to become Catholic as a means to enter into visible full communion?

6. If Protestants are invited to Catholic communion, will Catholics still be barred from Protestant communion? If so, why would they be barred? If they’re not barred, doesn’t this imply that the Catholic view on holy orders and valid Eucharistic consecration is in fact false, and if it is false, that Protestant beliefs are true? If intercommunion is not intended to imply an equivalence in the Catholic and Protestant confections of the Eucharist, then the practice of intercommunion misleads the faithful. Isn’t this a textbook case of “causing scandal”? And won’t it be seen by many as a polite form of deception or of hiding hard teachings, within the context of ecumenical discussion? Unity cannot be built on a process that systematically conceals the truth of our differences.

The essence of the German intercommunion proposal is that there would be a sharing in holy communion even when there is not true Church unity. This strikes at the very heart of the truth of the sacrament of the Eucharist, because by its very nature, the Eucharist is the body of Christ. And the “body of Christ” is both the real and substantial presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine, and also the Church herself, the communion of believers united to Christ, the head. To receive the Eucharist is to proclaim in a solemn and public way, before God and in the Church, that one is in communion both with Jesus and with the visible community celebrating the Eucharist.

An intrinsic link therefore exists between “being in communion” with a community, and “receiving communion” in that community. These realities point to each other.

Many things unite us with Protestant Christians. The age of bitter polemics is over, and among the blessings in my life are the presence and example of Protestant friends of great Christian character, erudition, and dedication to the Gospel. Nothing I write here is meant to diminish their extraordinary witness. But it’s also true that important things still divide us, and the issues that separate us are not merely the verbal artifacts of a bygone era. Our separation is a wound in the unity of Christians, and it is not willed by God; but it is a reality that we need to acknowledge. To insert a falsehood into the most solemn moment of one’s encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—to say by one’s actions, “I am in communion with this community,” when one is demonstrably not in communion with that community—is a lie, and thus a serious offense before God.

In his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II wrote:

The celebration of the Eucharist … cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection. The sacrament is an expression of this bond of communion both in its invisible dimension, which, in Christ and through the working of the Holy Spirit, unites us to the Father and among ourselves, and in its visible dimension, which entails communion in the teaching of the Apostles, in the sacraments and in the Church’s hierarchical order. The profound relationship between the invisible and the visible elements of ecclesial communion is constitutive of the Church as the sacrament of salvation.

Only in this context can there be a legitimate celebration of the Eucharist and true participation in it. Consequently it is an intrinsic requirement of the Eucharist that it should be celebrated in communion, and specifically maintaining the various bonds of that communion intact.

What happens in Germany will not stay in Germany. History has already taught us that lesson once.
(https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/05/what-happens-in-germany)

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A MOMENT FOR WOMEN IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION

I’ve posted some stories in previous columns about WINE – Women In the New Evangelization – often linking to the WINE website or Facebook pages. WINE was founded by my wonderful friend and fellow writer, Kelly Wahlquist. The group had its first Wine and Shrine pilgrimage to Italy last summer, with the special added attraction and presence of Teresa Tomeo, and the second pilgrimage with the same cast will be this coming November. The highlights of our travels in 2016 were the shrines of some of the world’s most famous women saints – Catherine of Siena, Clare of Assisi and Rita of Cascia, to name but a few. The 2017 pilgrimage promises us all that, and much more!

Kelly and Teresa and I were delighted when we saw the following piece by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia in CatholicPhilly.com.   I’ve added just a handful of photos from the 2016 pilgrimage.

A  MOMENT FOR WOMEN IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION

Last year’s WINE conference for women was an overwhelming success. Archbishop Chaput asks women to invite a friend to this year’s gathering in October and learn why a woman’s gift for relationship is the foundation for a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. • Posted August 3, 2017

When an event sells out five weeks in advance with 300 people on a waiting list, it’s safe to conclude a few things.  First, the event matters.  Second, it’s meeting a serious need. Third, the topic greatly interests its intended audience.

This is exactly what happened with last year’s Archdiocesan Catholic Women’s Conference at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pa.  I was pleased to celebrate the opening Mass with more than 1,200 women from around the Archdiocese in three different languages – English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. The Liturgy was standing room only.

Sunset in Assisi

At a time when some claim that the only way to be pro-woman is to advocate for contraceptive and abortion “rights,” Catholic women came together for a different kind of movement – a movement that seeks to promote women not by stealing from them what makes them women, but by honoring precisely those things that make women who they are.

Kelly –

The reason why so many Catholic women travelled early in the morning to gather at a Shrine hidden in rural Pennsylvania was to hear the affirming message of the feminine genius; that is, the particular gifts that God gives to women for outreach to the world. Contrary to secular assumptions, these women wanted to hear what the Church teaches about women. And they spent the day enjoying the strong bonds of Catholic sisterhood that inevitably flow from being rooted in the truth.

Live with Teresa Tomeo on Catholic Connection

Fast forward to now.  This year, on October 21, Philadelphia will be the host diocese for the first-ever National Catholic Women’s Conference, inspired by the new Catholic women’s ministry WINE: Women In the New Evangelization.  WINE is an effort that recognizes women’s central role in the mission of the Church to proclaim Jesus Christ to every part of the world.  WINE understands that women are uniquely positioned to play a leading role in this work of evangelization.  Woman has a particular “aptness” for the new evangelization because of her unique capacity for relationship, a gift that many men would do well to learn more deeply.

Cascia

Body of St. Rita –

In Pope Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), he speaks about the Church’s need to cultivate the “art of accompaniment” in all our efforts (EG 169-173). He reminds us that a person’s encounter with the saving words of Jesus Christ doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Rather, conversion comes about through a person-to-person relationship between the hearer and a loving Christian who walks with him or her and gradually shares God’s truth over time and as the hearer is ready to hear it.  This fundamentally relational dimension of evangelization is what makes women so especially apt for the task.

After all, this is a WINE pilgrimage!

I hope that this year, like last year, women across the region will pack the Shrine to standing room only for the WINE National Catholic Women’s Conference. While the event is for all Catholic women, it’s designed especially for those who might not yet have experienced the great love of Jesus Christ and the beauty of the Catholic faith.  So I ask women of the Archdiocese to be courageous:  Invite at least one friend or family member who’s been away from her faith to come to the conference with you.

The conference will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll hear from nationally renowned and compelling Catholic speakers. You’ll pray. You’ll share wonderful friendship and support.  Most of all, you’ll come into closer and richer contact with the personal love of Jesus Christ.  I look forward to seeing you there.

***

Learn more and register for the WINE National Catholic Women’s Conference at wineconference.org.

http://catholicphilly.com/2017/08/think-tank/archbishop-chaput-column/a-moment-for-women-in-the-new-evangelization/?utm_source=CatholicPhilly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=44215cc8df-Newsletter_vol_6_no_2+08-03-17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e0d5b43f94-44215cc8df-96033641