The annual spring meeting of the German Episcopal Conference (DBK) was held in Mainz from March 2 to 5, 2020. It was to elect its president for a 6-year term. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, who was finishing his term, said on February 11 that he did not want to be re-elected.
A New President for the DBK
So, the DBK has chosen a new president in the person of 58 year old Msgr. Georg Bätzing, Bishop of Limburg since July 2016. After his election this week, Bishop Bätzing said that he saw equality for women in the Catholic Church as the most important challenge in his mandate. “The question of the place of women in the Church is the most urgent,” he said in an interview on ARD radio. He added that the Church is far behind in catching up in this area: Catholic women are impatiently waiting for progress.
Bishop Bätzing, who had already declared himself in favor of the abolition of priestly celibacy, has also put the question of a female deaconate back on the table. An indult could be decided at the end of the synodal path, he explained during the program on Westdeutscher Rundfunk 5. This decision could be taken up by Rome, provided that it is strongly supported.
This statement sounds like a challenge, as Pope Francis ruled out this possibility in the post-synodal exhortation Beloved Amazon. It shows that the synodal path continues its hellish course, sticking to the proposal of the female diaconate which is explicitly mentioned in the working document.
The Instrumentum Laboris of the Synodal Path
The synodal path meetings use an instrumentum laboris made up of four documents. These texts, which are to serve as a basis for discussion, had been developed in the preparatory forums before the opening of the process on December 1. The two previous articles presented the first document,—the most important as regards ecclesiological content—then the second, which deals with sexual morality.
The third document deals with the “Form of Priestly Life.” This text is the shortest of the four. It is content with asking some questions that it then leaves to the assembly to resolve. But the spirit that inspires it is deeply tainted.
Thus the first paragraph asserts without ceremony: “The form of priestly life should not be treated as a state,” but according to the criterion of evangelization. This proposition is the outright negation of the whole of tradition on the priesthood. To understand this, it must be remembered that priestly ordination imprints on the soul of the priest a character, a spiritual and supernatural mark, just like is done also with baptism and confirmation. This character allows the priest to administer the sacraments and is the root of his power over souls.
In addition, the priest is a “cleric.” This term means “separated” and manifests a distinction from the other members of the Mystical Body, the laity. The clerical state traditionally is acquired by the tonsure—today by the diaconate—and the one who receives it enters into “the clerical state.” It is the immediate foundation of the power of teaching and governing in the Church.
These explanations allow us to understand the profound error of this first statement. But this is voluntary. They are acting to reduce the cleric to the level of the laity, making him a simple civil servant of the people of God, as the document says calmly in a later part: “This opens a perspective on our common baptismal conscience and on our mission as priestly people of God in a secular society.” A strange contradiction which affirms that baptism procures a “state,” but not the priesthood, while the foundation is similar: the character—baptismal or priestly.
Let us go on to raise another question: “Is celibacy the only form of life adapted to the nature of the priesthood?” For the authors, to ask the question, is to answer it.
The Fourth Working Document
This last document on “Women in the Ministries and Offices of the Church” came from the forum of the same name. This was demanded by the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) with a view to its participation in the synodal path. It takes up certain ideas from the first two documents, adding its own specific touch to them.
The text notes first of all the urgency to take up this subject: “In the public perception, this question is considered as an important ‘litmus test’ to show the authenticity of the will to reform the Church.” In other words: public opinion is waiting for a breakthrough, which must therefore be achieved. Divine revelation is therefore subordinated to what modern man thinks.
A more serious assertion follows: “Today, recourse to a magisterial authority only has a chance of being understood if the reasons for decisions are clear. The obvious inconsistency between the doctrine of the Church and the largely uniform doctrine of scientific theology on the question of the vocation of women to the apostolate is scandalous.” What is this “largely uniform doctrine of scientific theology,” if not all of the modernist opinions that are draped in their false science in order to better undermine and shatter the doctrines of the Church?
St. Pius Xexplained as early as 1907 in the Pascendi encyclical that the modernists supported each other by showering praise on their novelties: “For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium” (no.42).
The authors agreed “that they should enlarge the possibility for women to participate in the life of the Church on an equal basis.” This translates concretely into the following consequences:
“(1) In many countries of the world today, the legal equality of women and men is formulated in their constitutions. Respecting the dignity of women and men in the same way is considered as a proof of respect for human rights.” This is a new theological place: the political structure of the contemporary world and “human rights without God,” according to the formula dear to Jean Madiran.
The text continues in the same vein: “The position of women in the Roman Catholic Church does not correspond to the social expectations of fair participation in government services. The categorical exclusion of women from any form of binding doctrinal decision seems very strange.” To back up these lines, the authors of the document invoke research on gender.
The text also points out, “(2) the links between the lack of an official presence and responsibility of women in the Roman Catholic Church and the painful phenomenon of sexual abuse of children and young people; as well as spiritual violence against women in relation to sexual offenses, especially in religious communities.” This kind of consideration leads to a slippery slope. For that matter, the authors have sensed the difficulty and are trying to overcome it: “(this) is a question that can only be answered hypothetically: would the situation in the world be different if women exercised a higher leadership responsibility in the Roman Catholic Church?”
Very cleverly put. Women in power have not failed, throughout history, to show that they are as good as men in matters of abuse and violence: whether we think of an Elisabeth I in England or a Catherine II (“the Great”) in Russia. But in any case, that is not the problem. The problem is whether the revelation of Jesus Christ says anything definitive on the subject. And tradition unanimously answers: yes, Christ reserved the sacred power in the Church to men exclusively. Those who deny it are wrong.
“(3) In the public and also in the internal perception of the Church, there is a considerable difference between the declarations of theologians on the possibility of appointing women to the ministries and offices of the Church and their official consideration by the Church. This has the effect of provoking protests in the parishes, which, given the high level of their participation, gives food for thought. These events should be taken as expressions of the “sensus fidelium” (cf. Lumen Gentium 12).”
In other words, the opinion of Catholics, influenced by the ambient modernism which no longer understands the doctrine of the faith, is a theological source—which is what is meant by mentioning the sensus fidelium. This is the reversal of causes, already described in Pascendi: now the faithful must teach the Catholic hierarchy, the base must guide the teaching Church!
Finally, let us quote these last words: “What must be justified is not the admission of women to the ordained sacramental ministry, but their exclusion.” To the attentive observer, this is an implicit quote. In fact, in December 2017, the ZdK adopted the seven “Osnabrück theses” on the question of “Women in Ecclesiastical Offices.” These theses, developed during an ecumenical congress, affirm that “it is not the access of women to the ministries and offices of the Church which must be justified, but their exclusion; the question of whether God has given an immutable rule for designating the holder of an ecclesiastical office can and should remain open.” Or how to sow doubt and discord to better advance the revolution.
The text of the fourth preparatory document establishes a compilation—provisional, to be clear—of the activities that women could exercise based on current ecclesiastical law, the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Let us note some of them.
“The charisma and responsibility of women can and must also be reflected in the liturgy: in the regular presiding over divine services, in sermons, in important diocesan services, and in communities.”
“At the management level of the German general Ordinariates and Vicariates, women should be represented equally.”
“During the election and appointment of bishops, efforts could be intensified to adequately involve the baptized, men and women, in the process of finding candidates.”
“In order to involve women more in all decision-making processes, the DBK could permanently involve women as experts in its plenary meetings.”
“The representation of women in advisory bodies will have to be examined. A representation of at least a third and if possible 50% must be ensured in all committees.”
“A significant number of women must be involved in the deliberations and decisions of the World Episcopal Assemblies.”
This disheveled and extravagant document exposes a Catholic “feminist” thought. But there is a contradiction in terms. The feminist claim, considered in its substance and not in all its practical claims, is incompatible with revelation, because it is based on an anti-Christian philosophy. The effort to introduce a “theology” that calls itself “feminist” in the Church is ultimately just one more avatar of liberation theology.
But he who wants to “liberate himself” from tradition is headed for a fall, because only Christ liberates us by delivering us from sin. The modernist is also a forger, and of the worst kind: he plays fast and loose with divine revelation, he defiles the word of God with thoughts which are contrary to Him, he leads souls into error.
God only knows what will happen to the synodal path, but one thing is certain, the evil is already consummate in the minds of many participants, and the damage is already considerable in Germany and elsewhere. The German National Church is ready for its solitary flight and its inevitable fall.