Germany: Canon Law Loses Stature in the North

August 25, 2022

In the diocese of Freiburg im Breisgau (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) canon law is now echoing the Synodal Path. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the canonical act of baptism will have to integrate the most progressive trends of society. 

If two persons of the same sex are civilly “married” when a child is baptized, this child will be considered as the son or the daughter of the one who is his or her biological parent. The other “parent” will be noted as “custodial.” This was decided by the Archdiocese of Fribourg.

In addition, so-called “transgender” people who have already been baptized, and who have decided to change their sex in the civil registry, have the possibility of having their “official sex” entered on the margin of the baptismal certificate, in addition to their birth sex.

Finally, to complete the matter, the Archdiocese of Fribourg has also decided to take into account people who claim to be “intersex,” and allow them to be registered as such in the baptismal registers, taking into account their particularism.

This is an acceptance of an alignment with the most progressive laws of the country by the diocesan judicial vicar. “It was simply necessary to take legal provisions that react to this evolution of society, especially since state law gives directives in that sense,” explains Fr. Thorsten Weil with confidence.

For him, these new provisions remain “within the framework of the doctrine of the Church.” A bold statement.

Contacted by the daily La Croix, Fr. Ludovic Danto, dean of the faculty of the Catholic Institute of Paris (ICP) agrees: “A register is not a profession of faith, it only reports a fact. Transcribing filiation in a register does not mean that the Church approves of the moral life of the family,” said the canonist.

A statement that should be qualified, because the act of baptism is a testimony of the faith of the subject at the time of his baptism and of the commitment of his parents or legal guardians to grow in the faith and morality of the Church. As such, how can the commitment be discerned of same-sex couples who come to ask for baptism for an adopted child or one born as a result of assisted reproductive technology or surrogacy?

Moreover, the act of baptism is not reduced to proving only the civil identity of a subject, but shows his rootedness, his identity in a deeper sense: thus, the Church does not note a baptism in the same way, depending on whether she is dealing with a person born out of wedlock, adopted, etc.

Is the situation better in France? Not really. In 2018, the Conference of Bishops of France proposed to the bishops to replace, on baptism certificates, the mention “son/daughter of” by “surnames and first names of the parents or other holders of parental authority,” without, however, looking into the registration of subjects who claim to be “transgender.”

Not very many of the French bishops went along with this new formulation, which is evidence that their view of issue is not unanimous, even within the episcopate.

Whether in the case of Germany or France, a ambiguity is being allowed to take root that is harmful to Christian faith and morals, because the notion of filiation is being completely diluted when it is reduced to being equivalent to that of a “holder of parental authority.”

In the same effect, the new German and French formulations treat a baptized child born from artificial insemination with a donor in the same way as a child born naturally. This is a rupture with the practice of the Church.

On this subject, as early as 1987 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its instruction Donum Vitae, recalled that artificial insemination “infringes the right of the child to be conceived and brought into the world in and through marriage.”

Not to mention the possibility, quite delusional if you look closely, offered by the diocese of Fribourg to add the “civil sex,” possibly “chosen” by the baptized, on the register: as are many pledges given to the promoters of gender ideology.

This suggests, or at the very least wants applicants to believe, that the integration of “marriage for all” into canon law will only be a matter of time. Because integrating into a canonical document a provision that has no other foundation other than the will of the subject, is a preparation to accept the “marriage” of these subjects uprooted from their biological identity, which is the one of the foundations of Catholic marriage.