Cardinal Brandmüller on the German Catholic Church

April 19, 2021

In an interview with Il Messaggero on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, did not mince words.

“The schism in Germany? In fact, it has already begun.” Responding to Franca Giansoldati's questions, the high prelate did not hesitate. He claims that the schism he denounces “is happening before our eyes.” And he adds that “it is enough to see the statements or the positions of many German bishops.”

But the porporato wants to get to the bottom of things. “We must be careful not to confuse two aspects, schism and dissension on the doctrinal level, because then we would be dealing with a heresy.” With that clarification, he adds, “In the case of Germany, we have both of these aspects.”

And to be sure that he is understood, he repeats further: “What is happening in Germany is both a schism and a heresy from a dogmatic point of view.”

Then asked about the reason for this separation, Cardinal Brandmüller explains: “They have long asked for the female priesthood, communion for the divorced and remarried, the acceptance of homosexuality, and the blessing of gay couples.”

He thinks that the cause is a desire to get closer to the Protestants, and perhaps they even want “a Church united with the Protestants.”

Asked about the celibacy of priests, he admits that it is not a “doctrinal question,” but adds that “it is an apostolic tradition. It is therefore unacceptable.”

However, Cardinal Brandmüller puts into perspective the number of those who will follow the schism and heresy. He says “with certainty” that the majority of German Catholics are indifferent to all these demands.

“Those who adhere to progressive theses,” he explains, “are people linked to the Central Committee of German Catholics [participants in the synodal path. Editor’s note]. ...Secularism is galloping at full speed and the estrangement of the faithful from the Church has increased.”

This lucid observation is self-evident for those who regularly follow Church news in Germany. What remains completely incomprehensible, however, is the inertia of the Holy See. Certainly, concern has been in place for the past two years in the Vatican over the German synodal path, but waiting will not improve the situation.