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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BISHOP FOLEY, KEEN INTELLECT, PASTORAL SENSITIVITY, POWERFUL PREACHING – VATICAN REPORTEDLY REJECTS GERMAN BISHOPS’ PROPOSAL FOR INTERCOMMUNION OF SPOUSES – “BENEDICT XVI: IN HONOR OF TRUTH” :WHY HE REALLY RESIGNED

The unrelenting pace I have kept since March 29 when I flew to New York finally caught up with me, as it always does. I had a dinner party Monday night for Michael Warsaw of EWTN, the latest on a merry-go-round of events, invitations, hosting friends, attending meetings, researching, writing, editing and trying to memorize and then filming new episodes of Joan’s Rome videos, etc. etc.

Michael is in town for the annual three-day communications conference hosted by the Pontifical University of Holy Cross as EWTN this year is the principal sponsor of the event. I was there this morning for Michael’s talk entitled “Religious Information in a ‘fake news’ Society.”

I felt a cold coming on Monday, found the strength to continue activities and appointments but it hit me with a bang yesterday, the morning I was to do the commentary for the Pope’s weekly general audience. I asked the Holy Sprit to be with me for at least an hour and to make sure I could stop sneezing and coughing so that I could actually speak and do the commentary. I spoke to the right person and for an hour was fine (although there were microphone issues in Alabama for a short period of time). In any event, I came home, everything hit me and I spent the rest of the day in bed, except for my usual Wednesday appearance on Catholic Connection, Teresa Tomeo’s radio show.

I wanted to be in fine fettle for Michael’s talk today and a parish council meeting this evening, then dinner with priest friends from Chicago.

I was sorry to hear of Bishop Foley’s death but knew he had been suffering. Even more than that, he was totally ready to meet the Lord. Below is Michael Warsaw’s message.

On the other hand, I was delighted to hear what seems to be good news from the CDF – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

And I was truly delighted to hear of the documentary about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that explains “the truth about his resignation.” It is the same truth, the same story I have been telling people since the day Benedict resigned on February 11, 2013. I have written about it and have talked about the “real reason” on TV and radio. In fact, my first TV appearance on February 11, 2013 was with Shep Smith on FoxNews: “So, Joan, tell us why Pope Benedict really resigned.” My answer – and a bit more – could have been summed up in the piece you’ll read below.

BISHOP FOLEY, KEEN INTELLECT, PASTORAL SENSITIVITY, POWERFUL PREACHING

Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN network, issued the following statement on the death Tuesday night of Bishop emeritus Foley of Birmingham, AL:

“All of us at EWTN are saddened by the death of The Most Reverend David Foley who served the Diocese of Birmingham as Bishop for over a decade. I had the privilege of first knowing Bishop Foley thirty years ago when he was a pastor in the Archdiocese of Washington. Throughout his life and wherever his service to the Church took him, he was always known for his keen intellect, pastoral sensitivity and powerful preaching.

During his time as Bishop of Birmingham, he served as a member of the EWTN Board of Governors. He also took great joy in hosting “Pillars of Faith”, a weekly live call-in television program that examined the Catechism of the Catholic Church from cover to cover.

Despite their occasional disagreements, when Mother Angelica suffered her stroke and brain hemorrhage in 2001, Bishop Foley was one of the first to be at her bedside and he remained a frequent visitor to pray for her. He never waivered in his respect for all that Mother had accomplished and was always supportive of the Network she founded.

May God reward him for his life of service to the church, and may he rest in peace.”

VATICAN REPORTEDLY REJECTS GERMAN BISHOPS’ PROPOSAL FOR INTERCOMMUNION OF SPOUSES

(CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reportedly rejected a planned proposal by the German bishops’ conference to publish guidelines permitting non-Catholic spouses of Catholics to receive the Eucharist in some limited circumstances.

Austrian news site kath.net has reported that Vatican sources say the CDF, with papal approval, has suspended the German bishops’ proposal, and sources close to the congregation have confirmed this to CNA.

It is not clear whether the Vatican has asked the bishops’ conference to modify the contents of the draft guidelines, whether they have suspended the development of a draft while the matter is considered further, or whether it has been entirely rejected.

In February, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising announced that the German bishops’ conference would publish a pastoral handout for married couples that allows Protestant spouses of Catholics “in individual cases” and “under certain conditions” to receive Holy Communion, provided they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist”.

The announcement was made “after intensive debate” at the conclusion of the general assembly of the German bishops’ conference, which was held Feb. 19 – 22 in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, and attended by 62 members of the bishops’ conference under the leadership of conference chairman Cardinal Marx.

Last month, seven German bishops sent a letter to the CDF and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity asking for clarification on the matter. The signatories did not consult beforehand with Cardinal Marx.

The seven bishops asked whether the question of Holy Communion for Protestant spouses in interdenominational marriages can be decided on the level of a national bishops’ conference, or if rather, “a decision of the Universal Church” is required in the matter.

The letter was signed by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstätt, Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, and Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz.

“From the view of the signatories, the goal in a question of such centrality to the Faith and the unity of the Church must be to avoid separate national paths and arrive at a globally unified, workable solution by way of an ecumenical dialogue,” the Archdiocese of Cologne told CNA Deutsch April 4.

The Code of Canon Law already provides that in the danger of death or if “some other grave necessity urges it,” Catholic ministers licitly administer penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick to Protestants “who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”

“BENEDICT XVI: IN HONOR OF TRUTH” – WHY HE REALLY RESIGNED

His closest collaborators deny that the cause was the leaking of documents to the press or the issue of sexual abuse (From a story on Aleteia by Sylvia Costantini)

It was February 11, 2013, when Benedict XVI communicated to the world his decision to resign from the exercise of the papal ministry. This historic event has left many open questions.

Five years later, on the occasion of the Pope Emeritus’ 91st birthday, a documentary has been presented in the Vatican, called “Benedict XVI: in Honor of Truth,” precisely in order to clarify the reasons for that decision.

Some of the people closest to Joseph Ratzinger relive that moment—including his brother, Georg; Fr. Federico Lombardi, former spokesman of the Holy See; and the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who was his personal secretary for years.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna and one of the theological disciples of Professor Joseph Ratzinger, is visibly moved when he shares some of his memories.

Cardinal Schönborn, remembering the Pope’s deceased sister, Maria, who was particularly beloved by the Pope Emeritus, reveals: “The day after the conclave [in which he was elected Pope], when he entered the Casa Santa Marta for breakfast, in the morning, dressed in white… —our beloved professor, our friend, yes, dressed in white…—he greeted each one of us personally, and I said to him, ‘Holy Father, yesterday, during your election, I thought about your sister, Maria, and I asked myself if she had said to the Lord, “take my life, but leave my brother here.”‘ And he answered me, ‘I think so.’”

One decisive moment of the documentary helps us to understand Ratzinger’s decision to retire. It is explained by Stephan Horn, who had been his assistant at the University of Regensburg, and is his disciple and friend: “The doctor had told him he wouldn’t be able to travel to Brazil to participate in the World Youth Day. So, he decided to resign before the event.”

Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, describes the impressive responsibility proper to a Pope, and the daily marathon of commitments, both public and private, that characterize it (liturgical ceremonies, journeys, long meetings, audiences…). Pope Ratzinger would not have been able to face such exertion, with his inexorable natural loss of strength due to age. According to the Jesuit priest, it is clear that this was the true motive for Benedict’s resignation.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein categorically denies that the motive for Pope Benedict’s resignation was the leak to the press by his butler (the famous “Vatileaks”), a betrayal which caused his heart profound suffering, or the burden of having to face the crisis caused by sexual abuse by Church representatives.

The documentary, which is 48 minutes long, was produced by the Rome Reports television agency, in collaboration with the Italian episcopate’s television channel, TV2000, and the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation of the Vatican, thanks to the patronage of the Doctor Ramón Tallaj Foundation.
During the presentation of the documentary at the Vatican Film Library in the presence of Archbishop Gänswein, Dr. Ramón Tallaj—president of SOMOS, a network of doctors in the New York area particularly committed to humanitarian causes—emphasized the continuity between the pontificate of Pope Benedict and that of Pope Francis, at the service of the Church and of humanity.

Gänswein confirmed that Pope Benedict retains all his intellectual lucidity, and acknowledged the gradual loss of his physical strength. He underlined the peacefulness of the Pope Emeritus’ life in retirement, spent with the small community of the monastery where he lives in the Vatican.

The documentary “Benedict XVI: In Honor of Truth” was produced in English, Spanish, and Italian, and will now be distributed around the world.

HAVE THE DUBIA OF 4 CARDINALS JUST BEEN ANSWERED?

HAVE THE DUBIA OF 4 CARDINALS JUST BEEN ANSWERED?

From the website of the Episcopal Conference of Malta (www.thechurchinmalta.org):

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech have drawn up guidelines for priests, for the application of Chapter VIII of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). This chapter is an invitation to mercy and pastoral discernment in the light of various social realities present today.

In a letter which will be read out this Sunday in churches all over Malta and Gozo, the Bishops explain that these guidelines for priests are aimed at accompanying people to an awareness of their life situation in the light of Jesus. “This message is also relevant to the couples and families who find themselves in complex situations, especially those involving separated or divorced persons who have entered a new union. Although they may have lost their first marriage, some of these persons have not lost their hope in Jesus. Some of these earnestly desire to live in harmony with God and with the Church, so much so, that they are asking us what they can do in order to be able to celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.” Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech invite all those people who are in such a situation, and who are seeking help to continue to enlighten their conscience, to seek the assistance of a priest to accompany them.

The guidelines of the Maltese Bishops have been published in a document which has been handed out to every priest in the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo.

Click here for that 22-page document: http://ms.maltadiocese.org/WEBSITE/2017/PRESS%20RELEASES/Norms%20for%20the%20Application%20of%20Chapter%20VIII%20of%20AL.pdf

News reports and commentaries:
1.      (AP) January 13, 2017: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/vatican-newspaper-communion-guide-remarried-catholics-article-1.2946142   VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is making clear Pope Francis supports letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion under certain conditions by publishing a set of new guidelines in the pope’s own newspaper that go beyond even what he has said.

2.      Times of Malta: January 14, 2017: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170114/local/divorced-remarried-at-peace-with-god-may-receive-communion-bishops.636462   Priests should offer assistance to couples whose marriage has broken down, the Maltese bishops are urging, issuing a set of guidelines which some observers have described as going even beyond the Pope’s teachings.

3.      Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN), January 13, 2017: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/maltese-bishops-divorced-and-remarried-at-peace-with-god-may-receive-communion-39095/   As debate over Amoris laetitia continues to gain steam, the Maltese bishops have come out with a new set of pastoral guidelines allowing divorced-and-remarried persons in certain cases, after “honest discernment”, to receive Communion.

4. Catholic News Service (CNS) – January 13, 2017: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2017/bishops-of-malta-issue-norms-for-ministry-to-divorced-civilly-remarried.cfm