Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The state of Catholicism in Germany: a sample

A friend recently sent me a link to a piece of vintage current German liberal Catholic "religion talk," symptomatic of the state of the Church in Deutschland. The piece, entitled "Kirche 2011: Ein notwendiger Aufbruch" (April 4, 2011), is a sort of manifesto by liberal German theology professors and professorettes (the writers insist on being au courant in the gender inclusive department). Interestingly, the semantic range of "Aufbruch" covers everything from "start" and "departure" to "break" and even "awakening."

Taking recent sex scandals as their point of departure and pretext for distancing themselves from Catholic tradition, the authors blaze through the following points in rare, fashionable form: (1) Structure of participation; (2) Community; (3) Legal culture, respecting the rights, dignity and freedom of each individual; (4) Liberty of conscience, (5) Reconciliation, stressing a solidarity with 'sinners' which takes the Church's own sins seriously; (6) Worship.

Two excerpts -- #4 and #6 -- loosely translated:
(4) Freedom of Conscience: Respect for the individual conscience means to place trust in the decision-making ability and responsibility of the people. Supporting this capability is also a task of the Church, which must not turn into paternalism. On a serious note, this particularly concerns the realm of personal life choices and individual lifestyles. The Church's esteem for marriage and the celibate life is beyond question. But it also commands us not to exclude people living responsibly in love, loyalty, and mutual concern in same-sex partnerships or as remarried divorcees.

(6) Worship: The liturgy depends on the active participation of all believers. Experiences and expressions of the present must have a place in it. The service may not be frozen in traditionalism. Cultural diversity enriches liturgical life and is not consistent with tendencies towards centralized uniformity. Only when the celebration of faith partakes of concrete life, will the Church's message reach the people.
Yada, yada.

[Hat tip to C.F.]


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Individuals are not sinners, only institutions - one in particular, of course. Individuals cannot be sinners, because their salvation policy has the all-important "freedom of conscience" rider. This wonderful codicil owes its existence to the nouvelle / transcendental thomist corporate policy of "natural supernaturalism" (in the happy phrase of M H Abrams, who was writing about the English Romantics at the time), by means of which all individuals are possessed, not only of appendixes and prostates, but of a special inborn grace gland which guarantees their goodness, and necessitates that their actions, no matter how much like sins they may seem to the benighted, be given the widest possible latitude and justification, which is only the due of the free and freewheeling conscience.

Reconciliation, then, is really nothing more than a charming custom -- unless we are talking about institutions that, for nefarious purposes of their own, require it. Then reconciliation acquires unpleasant associations: inquisition and suchlike. Ugh. So medieval.

Thus, there will be no souls of individuals found in Hell -- only the corporate soul of the Catholic Church (well, maybe a few souls of individuals -- Hitler, Stalin, Garrigou-Lagrange).

Fifty odd years of Rahner, De Lubac, Balthazar, Crazy Adrienne, and their many flunkeys, and this is what you get.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Ralph, you have a way of lighting up a combox. Good to see you here.

BTW, I noticed the other day a comment by Grega. Remember him? What ho!