Vatican Now in Crisis Management Mode with German Bishops

NEWS ANALYSIS: Sources say that two senior cardinals wanted to bring the president of the German bishops’ conference to Rome for correction regarding his recent controversial comments, but were overruled by Pope Francis.

Bishop Georg Bätzing at the German bishops’ spring meeting in February 2021.
Bishop Georg Bätzing at the German bishops’ spring meeting in February 2021. (photo: Sascha Steinbach/epa pool.)

Edward Pentin at NCR, March 26, 2021:

VATICAN CITY — In January, two Vatican cardinals wanted to summon the president of the German bishops’ conference to Rome and correct him about a media interview in which he expressed his dissent from Church teaching in a number of areas. 

Such a meeting, which some believe should have been used to give the Vatican’s formal opposition to the Synodal Path, never happened and now the German bishops are blazing ahead unfettered, drawing grave concerns of possible schism. 

Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Swiss president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, were concerned about comments Bishop Georg Bätzing made in a lengthy interview with the German publication Herder Korrespondenz published at the end of December.

Vatican sources told the Register that the interview, in which the bishop questioned established Church teaching, was highly revealing of the bishop’s own dissent from the magisterium, leading the two concerned cardinals to want to ask Bishop Bätzing to come to Rome to correct him. 

“Santa Marta said ‘No’,” said one of the sources referring to the Pope’s official residence.

The Register has contacted both cardinals and the Holy See Press Office if they could confirm this version of events but has so far received no response. 

The Controversial Interview

In the largely overlooked interview, headlined “I Want Change” and published over the New Year, Bishop Bätzing of Limburg began by describing himself as a “good conservative because I love this Church and gladly give my life and energy to it. But I want it to change.” 

He then went on to directly challenge the Church’s teaching and tradition regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood, the blessing of same-sex unions, priestly celibacy and Holy Communion for Protestants. 

Limiting ordination to men seemed to him “less and less convincing,” he said, adding that “there are well-developed theological arguments in favor of opening the sacramental ministry to women as well.” 

“This is why I often mention the diaconate of women, because I see it as a space for action,” he continued. He added that when it comes to opening up priestly ministry to women, every pope, starting with John Paul II, had “unanimously” answered that question by ruling it out. “Nevertheless,” he said, “it is on the table.” 

Bishop Bätzing questioned what he saw as the need to “cling to the current conditions of admission” to the priesthood, saying the Church blocks vocations by “ex-culturating” herself. 

And on the much-criticized Synodal Path of the Church in Germany, a two-year program to debate issues of power, sexual morality, priestly life and the role of women in the Church in an effort to ostensibly root out abuse, he said he tried to understand Rome’s reservations about it and sensed “strong pressure on how to keep the universal Church united in the presence of such different cultural characteristics.” 

Referring to Pope Francis’ 2019 letter to the Church in Germany, in which the Pope supported the Synodal Path but urged its participants to focus on evangelization, Bishop Bätzing said the “blocks of systematic causes of abuse” hinder evangelization and must be “dissolved” first. He also said he disagreed with parts of the Pope’s letter that distinguished the spiritual path from the democratic one, saying he wanted more democracy in the Catholic Church in order to “understand, and not exclude, the opinions of the other.” 

On priestly celibacy, he said he believed the discussion had matured and it was no longer a matter of discernment. 

“At a certain point, you have to decide,” the Limburg bishop said, adding that the Pope is “not pope in all matters” and that bishops are “part of the government of the universal Church.” 

Regarding the blessing of same-sex unions, Bishop Bätzing said there was a need for solutions, that he believed it necessary to find liturgical answers “without Rome’s approval,” and that he believed “we should change the Catechism in this sense” after “intense discussion.” 

Lastly, on ecumenical Eucharistic celebrations, he argued that a document called “Together at the Lord’s Table,” drawn up in 2019 by a German group of Protestant and Catholic theologians in favor of “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality,” was a “wise step forward” despite the Vatican formally rejecting it.  

The ecumenical document, Bishop Bätzing said, was not about a “common celebration” of the Eucharist or intercommunion but rather whether Catholics and Protestants who attend each other’s celebration of the Communion “have good reasons for doing so.” He added the “practice has been around for a long time.” 

Cardinal Koch’s Concerns

In March 8 comments to the Register, Cardinal Koch said he shared the concerns of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formally expressed in a four-page critique and letter to Bishop Bätzing last September, which stated that doctrinal differences are “still so weighty” that “mutual participation in the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist” was not possible. 

Cardinal Koch, who sources say is deeply concerned by developments in the German Church like many other senior officials in the Vatican and who has been uncharacteristically direct in resisting the recent developments in Germany, also emphasized that he had made his opposition to the ecumenical group’s document known through interviews and a detailed open letter to the director of the Protestant side of the group. 

He pointed out that the Vatican is awaiting the response of the German bishops’ conference to the CDF’s letter “before being able to consider whether and what further steps will be necessary.” 

Bishop Bätzing said in the Herder Korrespondenz interview that the bishops’ conference would respond to the CDF’s letter and “confront the counter-arguments,” adding that the letter took him by surprise, failed to “appreciate the ecumenical effort” behind the group, and that he felt it was “somewhat cynical” of the Vatican to say: “No, this is not right, work on it again.”

In a March 1 letter to clergy of his diocese, Bishop Bätzing said that they could give Holy Communion to non-Catholic individuals if they requested it after examining their consciences, but there could be “no general, inter-denominational reception of the Eucharist” or “new forms of Eucharistic celebration.”

In other parts of the Herder Korrespondenz interview, Bishop Bätzing said he was “convinced” we are living in a “time window in which we can really change something,” and that “we have to use it.” 

Some German Church leaders believe Bishop Bätzing’s advancement of heterodox arguments is occurring partly because, like many other German bishops, he is influenced by the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the country’s powerful lay organization that is known for its dissenting ideological views and political ties. 

“They have the same thinking, the same line,” said Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Cardinal Ladaria’s German predecessor at the Congregation for the Faith, told the Register on March 22. “Does the ZdK’s leadership believe in the God of the Catholic creed? They only have ideas to justify themselves but they don’t speak of the God who revealed Himself, the Lord of history, of Israel and Jesus Christ.” 

Stronger Vatican Action Required?

As opposition to Rome continues, as shown most recently in resistance to the CDF’s statement rejecting the blessing of same-sex unions, Cardinals Ladaria and Koch are not alone in their concerns about the direction of the Church in Germany. Pope Francis has registered his criticism, most notably when he voiced “dramatic concern” about developments last year after having received the German apostolic nuncio in private talks.

But some officials in Rome believe that insufficient steps are being taken to prevent a possible formal schism. They contend it would be a grave error if the plan is to allow the Synodal Path to play out to a conclusion, with the likely endorsement of a broad range of dissenting views on key matters, before the Vatican formally intervenes to correct the dissenting direction of the German Church.

“People are very concerned, nobody is enthusiastic about it,” said one Vatican source. “If the German bishops are going to go through with the Synodal Path, there will be schism, and it would be very bad — and not a good tactic — to allow the bishops to proceed and then, at the end, the Vatican says stop.”

Cardinal Müller said he doesn’t “have great hope” in the Vatican taking action “because they’re unable to understand the gravity of the situation.” He compared it to the early stages of the Reformation when the Roman Curia “didn’t take the right measures” because they were involved in politics which they considered “more important than the religious mission of the Church.”

“Now we have a similar problem in that the Vatican is too diplomatic and political and doesn’t theologically analyze the great danger,” he said, adding that the Vatican is nowadays more concerned “about good relations with governments and the United Nations.” 

He and others in Rome have also compared the situation to the time of Martin Luther and Pope Leo X. Too preoccupied by political events, Leo failed to view the Lutheran movement with sufficient seriousness and by the time he did take action, Luther had already gained influential and lasting support.

“Pope Leo had a superficial view and he couldn’t understand Luther,” said Cardinal Müller, who wrote a 2017 book on the history of the popes called Der Papst: Sendung und Auftrag (The Pope: Mission and Mandate). “Leo wasn’t a theologian, he didn’t understand what was happening,” he said.

But Cardinal Müller pointed out a “great difference” between that time and now, namely that the issue then was “the sacraments, the authority of the Successors of the Apostles and St. Peter.” Nowadays, he said, “we’re talking about the Protestantization of the Church, but it’s not the Protestantism of the Reformers, rather it’s the Protestantism of liberal theologians who reduce Christianity” only to “certain moral forms, individual or social.”

See also: Cardinal Burke: St Peter’s is now like a Tomb

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3 Responses to Vatican Now in Crisis Management Mode with German Bishops

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    I have a few thoughts for Batzing, Batwing, Moonbat!
    What church does he think he is in? It is not a democracy or a republic. Bishop Bat is a whiner. He’s only thinking of problems and not of solutions. His answers are in the bible, the council of Trent, the actual words of Jesus Christ! Who has he been talking to that rearranged his thoughts?
    Now Francis did not ever answer the Dubia and may possibly never answer Moonbat! This is a repetitive problem. It is like a teacher who does not correct disruptive students in her class; the other students not only begin to act out, but lose respect for her lack of appropriate action.
    This is very unfortunate for the church, but at some point good and justice will prevail.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Crisis not Christ being raised everywhere!
    Before I even got half way through reading this article I was immediately struck with the clear sense that Bishop Georg Bätzing was some form of Lutheran advocate perhaps following in the footsteps of Martin Luther to radically transform the Catholic Church to meet some modern day influences be they political or cultural. Then as I read on this was being discussed and viewed in such a light; when I read this, “Cardinal Müller pointed out a “great difference” between that time and now, namely that the issue then was “the sacraments, the authority of the Successors of the Apostles and St. Peter.” Nowadays, he said, “we’re talking about the Protestantization of the Church, but it’s not the Protestantism of the Reformers, rather it’s the Protestantism of liberal theologians who reduce Christianity” only to “certain moral forms, individual or social.”
    To me the radical confrontations taking place in society and government, Liberalization; the polluting, is very much the same as we see now the leftist liberals are looking to even radically alter the Church to fit today’s themes of same sex marriage, acceptance of abortion, premarital sex and even some blending of other religions or philosophies with Catholicism, which as I see it would certainly pave the way for the antichrist..

    Bishop Georg Bätzing mentioned here, “by describing himself as a “good conservative because I love this Church and gladly give my life and energy to it. But I want it to change.” And by what authority is he basically demanding change? Not God’s as I see it, so who does he think he is to create such discord like this in the Church? Here he states “when it comes to opening up priestly ministry to women, every pope, starting with John Paul II, had “unanimously” answered that question by ruling it out. “Nevertheless,” he said, “it is on the table.”

    Then this made it abundantly clear to me that this man either of his own accord or being manipulated by someone or a group is showing with this statement that in his mind change is going to happen one way or another because the current status-quo is unacceptable to him! He continued with outlandish Babble, “Regarding the blessing of same-sex unions, Bishop Bätzing said there was a need for solutions, that he believed it necessary to find liturgical answers “without Rome’s approval,” and that he believed “we should change the Catechism in this sense” after “intense discussion.” What solutions could he be alluding to or how can the Church “find liturgical answers “without Rome’s approval,” because logically as I see it same sex union or marriage is either right or wrong and is condoned or it isn’t by God, and these matters are perfectly clear in Holy Scriptures; case closed! This man is a ranting lunatic in my eyes and he is working for dark ulterior purposes just as we see going on with Bergoglio’s deep involvement with Global Politics and United Nations affiliation a well know highly corrupted organization; along with wicked men like Biden! I can only see all of this hoopla as another sign of the times and the work of Satan to disrupt, cause turmoil, divisiveness, controversy and divide; in this case the Church and flock, as it were! Not a good thing going on here by any means, so our fervent prayers and discipline are strenuously required now; to hold onto our faith, Church and above all our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whom without there is no Church of God’s; as we proceed through this tumultuous storm!

    In a definite way what we see happening here is not unlike such things we see in pop culture where Cardi B who I know is one of the worst female role models on the planet is elevated to some icon stature for the “ways of the world” that now promote to the youth that she like a “whore of Babylon” is someone to emulate and all those wholesome days gone by “wholesome female role models” are a fraud, and only promote whiteness along with the old ways of colonialism; and all you young girls want to get WOKE! This Bishop reminds me of that; like some WOKE cheerleader in the Church! I tend to be a considerate man and very sensitive, but all I want to tell this fool is shut up already you make me sick; and you don’t want to know what that Cardi character makes me feel like or want to say! Dr. Seuss’ books are now classified as grotesque and something that children don’t need to see; but now it’s indecent not to applaud Cardi B’s Grammy immoral simulated sex performance and people need to get WOKE? I say someone forgot to toss out a lot of trash! These same people are redefining morality and putting down so many standard, wholesome, cultural icons and heritages; as a pure example last summer’s riots without accountability when statues of Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves along with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many other historical figures and other such monuments were destroyed, but now because they dictate what is moral we are supposed to accept Cardi and other wickedness or unsavory characters as not just acceptable but someone to idolize, and yes, in a sense worship or adore! Do you see where I’m going here; how the “ways of the world” are firmly in the clutches of Satan and he wants the younger people to worship the world, and not God and Jesus; then to of course, following in line with that evil; to turn to Satan and worship him! If this isn’t “End Time” then there must be some stage of reckoning and chastisement coming that I’m not aware of and missed somewhere along the line, but as before the flood, when Noah prepared; the world was in a whirlwind of debauchery, sin, folly and madness right to the moment of calamity!

    That is a Demon look!

    We are now living in a world that is far worse than Sodom and Gomorrah or Noah’s time of the flood ever could have been in their rampant decadence and stupidity! We who have all the tools to do remarkably better than all previous generations are actually doing exceedingly worse! I’ll say it’s a forgone conclusion that with the beyond morbid and actually “diabolical unholy abomination of Abortion” alone, which is now Industrial Scale and still growing especially now that the diabolically operative; Radical “Democrat” Politically Organized Crime Syndicate has taken the helm with the infamous 48 year Professional Career Politically Organized Crime Syndicate Racketeer, The Puppet POTUS Old Scranton Joe Biden; the Devil’s Own, and I dare say “a Man of Perdition in America!” This is the time for such a monster to be a figurehead of the most powerful nation on earth the United States of America the Republic under God which has been the perceived by many “crown jewel” for Satan to possess; and that he has done in spades!

    Getting back to the Abomination of Wholesale Industrial Scale Abortion which is now as simple as getting your toenails clipped, even Full Term Day of Delivery a complete “Human Baby” can be snuffed out like a candle and used for experimental purposes or the more likely scenario organ and tissue harvesting for all kinds of purposes, all of which by the way are Satanically Evil, even such things as Covid Vaccines and the like, actually exceedingly worse than what the Mayans and many Amazonian Ancient Pagan wild people did when they sacrificed human adults and babies to a host of false gods! But they were stupid and totally controlled by fear, ignorance, madness and actual evil spirit’s possession! But today we have young whack job women who after an abortion have a Happy Abortion Party! And look how we have this Bergoglio to me the heretic pope bringing the Pachamama Amazonian Paganism right into the Holy Mass at the Vatican, and now this Bishop Bätzing is pushing to the hilt for “CHANGE.” I see what he is!

    Yes these words are absolutely true and coming to fruition before our very eyes; “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
    The End!

    God bless you.
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III

    https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2F13%2Fad%2Fbd%2F13adbd779b404c21232877bc2c820f1d.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

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    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: Prophecies By Visionaries Who Foresaw Today’s Crisis in the Church – Zero Lift-Off

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