6 February 2016

MAGISTERIUM: a crisis?

(1) It is claimed, on the Internet, that the 'addresses' given to ad limina groups of bishops visiting our Holy Father are not actually read aloud by him, but are distributed in written form.

(2) It is claimed that this is also true of the very critical address given ... or not given ... to the German bishops last year.

(3) It is claimed that "Cardinal Marx ... says ...

(4) ... that he asked Francis about that speech and ...

(5) ... was assured that he knew nothing about the text, and had not even read it."

I do not have much of a problem with (1) and (2).

I have a big problem with (3), (4), and (5). If they were to be, together and cumulatively, true, well, my immediate (and intemperate?) reaction would be to wonder why anybody should bother to take seriously anything apparently emerging quasi a manu vel ex ore Pontificis during this pontificate.

If (3) and/or (4) are true, but (5) is not true, this would help one to build up a more detailed general picture of Cardinal Marx's moral character.

I hope, for the credit of all concerned, that this report is untrue. If that is so, then I shall regard the Internet source on which these false claims are made as a creator of a skandalon.

This report itself rather reminds me, structurally, of the reported episode, earlier in this pontificate, when the Roman Pontiff was reported to have told some Latin American Religious superiors that they should not be "worried" by letters from the CDF (Rorate 11 June 2013).


Nicolas Bellord said...

Absolutely right Father. This is of course hearsay. Sandro Magister reports what Cardinal Reinhard Marx is alleged to have said. It is really up to Cardinal Marx to say whether he said this or not. I suspect he will say nothing. In normal circumstances one should doubt this story but unfortunately it sounds entirely credible.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Further as Sandro Magister has only just been re-instated as accredited to the Vatican Press is he likely to have risked his position with a false story?

Dominie Mary Stemp said...

Indeed Mr Bellord I think you are right

Jacobi said...

I think the problem Father, lies in the words, "it is claimed".

Sadly, in this day of super-communication, there is less and less we can trust?

Liam Ronan said...

So we are contemplating what amounts to a papal sock-puppet?

RichardT said...

There is a sixth area of doubt.

Cardinal Marx "was assured that he [Pope Francis] knew nothing about the text, and had not even read it."

It is possible that it is true that Cardinal Marx was so assured, but that the assurance was false (or, more likely, vague and imprecise), so that Pope Francis did know (something of?) what was in the text, but (no doubt for some good "pastoral" reason) now wishes to distance himself from it.

Nicolas Bellord said...

RichardT: Maybe. But if so are there other things which Pope Francis would like to distance himself from? For example the ban on communion for Lutherans. "I would love to be able to tell you to go ahead but I would not be allowed to" or words to that effect and other reported remarks. Is he someone who does not believe what he believes? I just do not know.

Nicolas Bellord said...

"Le modernisme consiste à ne pas croire soi-même pour ne pas léser l’adversaire qui ne croit pas non plus." Peguy 1913

Perhaps it is a form of mercy?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Sandro Magister tells us that it was Hamburg Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke speaking on a TV program Nachtcafe (Night Café) who told this story. The program is referred to on the German Bishop's website on 1st February at:


but it does not mention this story in that report but evidently only a tiny part of the program is mentioned. The program was on 29th January and can be viewed at:


My German is non-existent and the program lasted an hour and a half. It is entitled 'The Cross with Sex' and starts with an interview with the Polish Priest who 'came out' and was sacked from the CDF. I wonder if any German speaker has the patience to watch this video to see what the Bishop said. If this is the source of Sandro Magister's story and the video confirms this it would lend credence to it.

ansgerus said...

Upon your request I saw the entire Programm on the link you gave. In this program, Auxiliar Bishop Jaschke does not say any of the 5 propositions Father Hunwicke is quoting. What he is saying, is following. First of all, he is confirming - against others in the round of people talking in that program - that the call to celibacy is from Jesus himself, however, the bishop is claiming that it should be a free choice, not a legal requirement for the priesthood. But then, he also says following problematic sentences in this connection, which I like to quote literally:

"Der Männerklerus ist schon schlimm genug"
(The male clerus is already a Thing bad enough.) (at minute 26:18); a little later:
"In den Ostkirchen haben wir verheiratete Priester. Nur die Bischöfe, die müssen besonders engelsgleich sein, die dürfen nicht heiraten" (followed by a smiling)
(In the eastern Churches, we have married priests. Only the Bishops, they have to be especially angel-like, they may not marry."

and then, about a meeting of German Bishops with Pope Francis half a year ago:

"Wir haben ja mit dem Papst vor einem halben Jahr gesprochen, wir deutsche Bischöfe. Da haben wir ihn auch gefragt: "Wie ist denn das in Gebieten, wo die Messe nicht gefeiert werden kann, kann man da nicht andere Formen auch von Priester-sein, von verheirateten Priestern finden. Da hat er nicht abgewunken."
"See (Ecce enim, Father Hunwicke would say), we talked with the Pope half a year ago, we German Bishops. Then we also asked:"How is it in area, where the mass cannot becelebrated, could one not find there other forms of being priest, of married priests. There he did not wave it aside" (The Bishop uses the word "abwinken" which here means "to wish away, to put aside, to neglect)

This is all what Bishop Jaschke said in this round. I personally know from a talk I had with this very Bishop a few years ago, that he is in favour also for female priests, but - as he said to me - "Ich glaube nicht das ich das noch erleben werde. I do not think that I (Jaschke) will still be alive at that time." On the same occasion, he also told me, the first aim now should be to realize female diacones, e.g. the "Diakonat der Frau" as he said, as the first step. He also attended personally the "Amtseinführung/Putting into Office" of the female so-called Bishop of the Lutheran Nordkirche/Northern Church located in Northern Germany, which took place in the Cathedral of Luebeck, a church occupied by the Protestants since almost 500 years now. I wonder whether the attending at such schismatic ceremony acc. to his own will - he was not forced to attend this ceremony - alone is not already a reason for becoming suspended, at least acc. to devine law (as it was an official attending, mentioned also in newspapers, at a clearly schismatic event, the making of a non-catholic, Lutheran Anti- or Pseudo-Bishop in his own diocese)

Nicolas Bellord said...

Angerus and others: I really must apologise for starting a completely false hare. I should have read Sandro Magister's post more carefully. He does mention Bishop Jaschke's appearance on Nachtcafe and then goes on to mention what Cardinal Marx had to say about the ad limina visit. I am afraid I ran the two things together and thought the source for this was the Nachtcafe program with Bishop Jaschke. In fact this was wrong and Sandro Magister gives no source for what he states:

"And in fact Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and president of the German bishops, as well as being a member of the council of nine cardinals who assist the pope, says that he asked Francis about that speech and was assured that he knew nothing about the text, and hadn’t even read it."

Sorry to have wasted angerus's time on this but I thought what he has told us was extremely interesting. I wonder if our Bishops attend installations say of the Archbishop of Canterbury?