9 January 2016

Not all German bishops are bad!!

Well, of course they aren't. Joseph Ratzinger and Gerhard Mueller are, after all, both Germans and both bishops.

But there are others. Good has been heard of Bishops
Oster of Passau;
Zdarser of Augsburg;
Hanke of Eichstaett (a See founded by the English S Willibald*, relative of S Boniface of Exeter);
Ipolt of Goerlitz;
Voderholzer of Regensburg (a See founded by S Boniface himself);
and Hofmann of Wuerzburg.

The penultimate of these has already been mentioned on my blog; so just a brief word, today, about the Bishop of Eichstaett. One of his predecessors in the See of S Willibald was the (later Cardinal) Count von Preysing who subsequently went on to be Bishop of Berlin. He was a most resolute opponent of Hitler.

Count von Preysing did not see eye to eye with the Chairman of his own Episcopal Conference, a Cardinal Bertram. It isn't that Bertram was a Nazi. He was nothing like a Nazi. He said some bold things. But his instinct was to do what business one could do with the government; not to break off relationships just for the sake of rhetoric which might not do any actual good. Is there really any harm in sending Birthday Greetings to Hitler? (Von Preysing, on the other hand, rather strongly thought that there was.)

That is always the temptation for the Ecclesiastical Statesman: failure wholeheartedly to resist the Zeitgeist, the Spirit of the Age, the Consensus of Society. Keeping contacts, if possible, open, for the achievement of some deal. Not to be too "shrill". This is not the temptation to which the heroic Count von Preysing ... or the equally heroic (Blessed Cardinal) Count Clement von Galen ... fell victim. They were what the second century Church used to call confessores. (Hitler is recorded to have said "Count von Galen is an intelligent man and must know that when I have won this war, I shall have an account to settle with him". Von Preysing he described as the very worst of the "carrion crows".)

Bertram was not a confessor.

I am sure that Bertram's successor as Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Marx, is also not a Nazi ... what I mean by that is: he is not a modern day slavish follower of every aspect of the modern Zeitgeist. I would not be surprised to learn that he has indeed spoken against aspects of our modern post-Christian, sexually corrupt European Culture of Death. But he believes in keeping open the lines of communication between the Church and the mores of the German society within which she has to operate; his praxis is not to be too shrill.

Marx is not a confessor.

Perhaps we should ask our English Saints Boniface and Willibald, who brought the Gospel to Southern Germany with much parrhesia, to multiply by their intercessions the Spirit of Eichstaett; the Spirit of Confessio, of Martyrion to which bishops especially are called. And not only in Germany.

*If you look up S Willibald on Wikipedia, you will find a photograph of an attractively Baroque statue of the Saint wearing the Rationale, a pontifical vestment historically worn round the neck by the bishops of Eichstaett and a few other German bishoprics. It is good that Bishop Hanke has resumed its use; bishops are not mere Vicars of the Roman Pontiff, nor are they regional managers of a multi-national corporation. Anything that emphasises the Hiccitas, the 'here-ness', of a particular bishopric through the ages is to be commended. Anything that establishes the continuity between the present Bishop and his predecessors in Sede ... back to the Founder of the See ... and behind him to those who sent him ... and, of course, his identity with their teaching ... 

This is why Good Marini used to ransack the sacristies to provide Papa Ratzinger with vestments designed for his predecessors. Those who deemed this foppishness were simply too blind to recognise Acted Theology.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for some positive news from Germany but I wouldn´t count the Bishop of W├╝rzburg to the good one´s-he is not the badest one but look what he did with his cathedral as the Bishop responsible for "arts" in the Bishops conference.

I know and appreciate Bishop Hanke very much: he is Benedictine, Liturgist(adhearent of Gamber), bi-ritual (byzantine and both forms of the Roman rite).
After his Ordination to the priesthood he asked for the Indult to say the mass according to the Missal of S. John XXIII. Although he doesn´t like to wear the dalmatics (although Marx wears it for the ordinations to the priesthood!) he is absolutely the best and holiest Bishop in Germany-theologically and liturgically. He also studied English.But at the moment there is no Chance for him to become archbishop or cardinal by getting a big and important diocese-but there would be some extraordinary ways although at the Moment most Bishops are from Paderborn and cologne-but the last ones aren´t all like Meisner.
The best auxilliar Bishop is Schwaderlapp from Cologne who is the only german Bishop who openly preaches the whole christian truth without any fear.

Stephen said...

Yet, is it the case that Cardinal Bertram was more in sync with the Concordat between the Holy See and Hitler, orchestrated by Sec. of State Pacelli, before he was crowned Pope Pius XII? Which was not considered a monument to subsidiarity. Indeed, there were not a few German Catholics who thought they had been eviscerated by the Vatican in its drive to sign the Concordat.

Victor said...

Let's hear it for Good Bishop Gregor! I know him personally and can thus say that not only is he a pious and good Catholic, but also a very fine human being! However, it would be cruel to send him anywhere else. He was very happy as the abbot of Plankstetten abbeay, and rumour has it that he accepted the nomination for Eichstaett only the second time it came around ("I can say no to the Holy Father once but not twice"). Let him continue the good work he does there - better have one thoroughly reformed diocese than two or three only superficially converted...

Anonymous said...

You've forgotten Cardinal Walter Brandm├╝ller and Cardinals Josef Cordes. Both are wonderful German bishops.

Tancred said...

Mmm, Vorderholzer is has issues, Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg is good, but he is the Neoconservative replacement for Bishop Mixa, and he reassigned a fairly decent priest who worked for Jungefreiheit. http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/search/label/Bishop%20Konrad%20Zdarsa

Bishop Laun an Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg is pretty decent, very pro-life.

A number of German Bishops did call out the Kasperians during the Family Synod.

Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur, Switzerland is wonderful, and has been under attack constantly both from the media and his own employees. Here's a testimony by Deacon Keith Fournier:

"In the politically charged language of the present, Bishop Vitus Huonder is a “conservative” if not an “extremist.” In fact, he is simply a faithful Catholic Christian. And for that he’s being threatened with three years in jail. It’s happening in Switzerland, but the conflict epitomizes a wider phenomenon of anti-Christian secularists on both sides of the Atlantic using the courts to target Christians for simply standing up for biblical truth.
"In 2011, Huonder, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Chur in Switzerland, supported parents being able to opt out of having children as young as four subjected to mandatory “sex education” which rejected the truth about the dignity of human sexuality, the gift of sexual differentiation, and marriage. In 2013, he issued a pastoral letter to the faithful under his care exposing unbiblical gender identity theories and defending the Christian vision of the human person, the family and a truly just and human social order. He called upon the faithful of the Catholic Church to “use their social rights” to protect “the dignity of man founded on the order of Creation and of Redemption.” Last February, he called for a Swiss priest who had purportedly “blessed” the union of a lesbian couple to step down from his ministry.
"Here is the challenge he faces. In Switzerland, there is a wholesale rebellion against the Christian vision of the human person, and of the family and society founded upon it. Leaders of the rebellion abhor the clear and unchangeable teaching of the Bible and the Catholic Church. Included in the ranks of these dissidents are some Catholic clerics. To say their leaders do not like this Catholic Bishop is an understatement."

There's also Bishop Oster of Passau, who led the German resistance along with the other bishops you mentioned against the Kasperians at the Synod.

carl said...

I would suggest as well Archbishop Schick of Bamberg, knowing him to have spoken out against the Kasper camp during the recent synods.