At the start of Lent, you could do little better than to read Archbishop Chaput's admirable Pastoral Letter. It manages to get one thinking on the Vatican's China policy; on the heathen pseudo-morality of AL ... and does so with great brevity and an engaging pastoral lightness of touch. He begins with the Vatican's Concordat with Nazi Germany.
The esence of that Concordat ... of doing a deal with the Spirit of the Age, the Zeitgeist ... is still not dead in Germany; or, indeed, anywhere else.
As I understand it ... correct me if I'm wrong ... in Germany, if you withdraw from paying your Church Tax, the Marxenkirche (correct me if I've got my German wrong) will excommunicate you. So an orthodox Catholic can't withdraw from financial complicity in the heterodox doings of the German episcopate without being deprived of the Sacraments.
Clearly, there ought to be pastoral and sacramental provision made for the victims of such an ugly tyranny. I'm sure (correct me if I'm wrong) the SSPX would happily make such provision as far as its ministry can reach. But Germany is a big country for which to assume the pastoral responsibility when one only has 600 priests to cover the whole world. What about the Ecclesia Dei communities? How willing would they be to share responsibility, against the will of the German bishops, for orthodox laity excluded from the Sacraments in retaliation for their orthodoxy?
I have a very great deal of respect for those bodies which faithfully, laudably, bravely, maintain liturgical orthopraxy. But I am occasionally a little uneasy if they are not publicly clearly seen to act upon the link between sound and safe liturgy, and orthodoxy in the area of dogma and the Church's moral teaching. Correct me if I am being unjust in saying this. It may be that I have not heard of statements, declarations, etc.. And I certainly appreciate that if one is a Superior, one has to be aware of the disastrous harm one might inflict on communities for which one is responsible, if one angers a local Ordinary, whether in Germany or anywhere else. And I am in no position to lecture anybody else, because I myself live off pension income and need be beholden to nobody. But ....
It is, for example, very natural to be joyful about the fact that a prelate 'gives' you a church for the authentic liturgy ... comes and celebrates the Old Rite with you .... even does Old Rite Ordinations for you. I like fine churches and graceful liturgy quite as much as anybody else. But what if the same man's policies in the ethical sphere were Bergoglian?
Is a time coming when carefully sitting on fences may itself be a schismatic deviation from witnessing to the Truth?
And I pose these as genuinely questions.
But I rather think Archbishop Chaput has just answered them.
14 February 2018
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[...]in Germany, if you withdraw from paying your Church Tax, the Marxenkirche (correct me if I've got my German wrong) will excommunicate you.
Withdrawing from the Church Tax means going to a notary or the registry office and signing an official paper. The registry office then passes on the information. The signing is probably considered similar to declaring publicly that one is at odds with the faith.
So an orthodox Catholic can't withdraw from financial complicity in the heterodox doings of the German episcopate without being deprived of the Sacraments.
Yes. However, what an orthodox Catholic can do, is muse how, for example, Cardinal Marx may justify excommunicating 20.000 or more people per year in his bishopric in this age of mercy.
It seems that the masters of the V2 Church have studied Cranmer and learned lessons. They may not have the police arm of the State to back them up, but the tactics seem very similar--carrot and stick judiciously wielded to bring the faithful into ... complicity and thus into an uneasy compliance. In my own archdiocese I'm told that priests were instructed long ago that there were to be no sermons re Islam or homosexuality. Perhaps that list has been lengthened since then. To what degree of complicity are confessors now brought? What, in such a case, are their responsibilities before Christ? And what of seminarians--those who thought they were entering the ministry of what turned out to be the fool's paradise of the Benedictine Church? These are tough questions--tough realities!
Re the Ecclesia Dei communities, those are surely valid concerns, but was that not in fact the hidden design of Ecclesia Dei? To minister to those who were "attached" to the "old" liturgy--"attached" being a clearly and intentionally emotionally laden term. Implicitly: do your smells and bells to satisfy your attachments, but you will be complicit. The clear intent, as it seems to me, was precisely to break "the link between sound and safe liturgy, and orthodoxy in the area of dogma and the Church's moral teaching." That was the sticking point, and still is, for SSPX. But even for SSPX the struggle to maintain the spirit of the Faith must be difficult.
As for a coming time when fence sitting will itself be be "a schismatic deviation from witnessing to the Truth," didn't Joseph Shaw address that issue when he and his fellow signatories were savagely attacked by the Vicar General of Opus Dei as causing scandal to the unity of the Church? Those evil times may in fact be upon us already.
Archbishop Chaput is unquestionably the strong man of the US bishops bench now, and the breadth of his reading is almost mind boggling considering his pastoral duties. And I would note from personal experience that he is a very kind man who can take the time to engage in personal correspondence with laity not otherwise known to him. He is the epitome of an orthodox and pastoral shepherd. May God grant him many years.
In Germany, while in theory opting out of Kirchensteuer (church tax) makes a person ineligible for church's ministration such as funeral, baptism, marriage and confirmation etc, in reality few priests withdraw their services simply over non-payment of church tax. Of course it's not a satisfactory situation and faithful are urged not to opt out, as it's a vital source of income supporting many church, social and charitable activities. But it's fair to say that the institution of church tax is coming under increasing scrutiny and fierce debate is going on in German society. Fr Masaki
"As I understand it ... correct me if I'm wrong ... in Germany, if you withdraw from paying your Church Tax, the Marxenkirche (correct me if I've got my German wrong) will excommunicate you."
I am sorry to say, but you are wrong :-). The Pontifical Council for Interpretation of Legilative texts reprimanded the German Conference of Bishops (for the whole story the keyword is Causa Zapp) for it's practice to excommunicate everybody who declares the leaving of the Public Cooperation Roman-Catholic Church (which is according to the Concordate the legal entity in state law of the Holy Mother Church). Thus this practice was ended. The reason was, that the state authority is not competent in canon law means to receive such a declaration in a canonical sufficiant way.
The German Conference of Bishops now divest you of all rights as member of the church as if you were excommunicated, but don't name it so!
Only nitpickers like me, who recite "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Matth. 5, 37 or "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14, 6, claim that this is a scam.
30 years ago in Austria I was taught a declaration about church membership to a civil authority does not affect one's part of a sacramental communion
Re: Ecclesia Dei communities, surely it is no surprise that nobody is signing up to be the next Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate?
Re: Abp. Chaput, I am delighted by his skill in snark. Cf. his use of "paradigm", "ideal", etc. I will have to see how many of my own concordats I can smash.
If I live in say, Munich, and I stop paying the Church Tax I can see how the Church could deprive my children of baptism or a requiem Mass for myself but how would they deprive me of Confession or Communion. Confession is anonymous so how would the priest know who you are? if you think he would recognise your voice then all you have to is go to another church a few miles away. Same with Communion. If you had stopped paying the tax and you presented yourself for Communion at the Frauenkirche in Munich would the priest recognise you? And if he did, would he actually refuse to give you Communion? In the Archdiocese of Mercy? Well, if the priest were to be so bold just go along to the Alter Peter. They probably wouldn't recognise you there. Talking of Alter Peter:
But maybe the 20,000 should form a League and the members of the Munich chapter could all present themselves for Communion at the Frauenkirche on the same day at the same Mass.
Meanwhile over in Clarification Land, Fr Ruttler has an excellent article on the American fudge made by that well-known manufacturer Cupich & Co.
By the way, did you know that tablet is a form of Scottish fudge.
The decree which brought the new practice referred to by Marcus of practically excommunicating non-tax payers without actually excommunicating them was recognized by the Congregation for the Bishops (August 28, 2012). Therefore the Vatican seems to be OK with this, paradoxical though it seems (the state is not competent to receive a declaration of apostasy, so you do not incur the sentence of excommunication, but you are still treated as if you had).
The idea to have the FSSPX or Ecclesia Dei communities take care of faithful who are not willing to pay their Church tax might solve the problem with regard to the sacraments received frequently (Confession, Communion) but faithful who do not pay their church tax need a dispensation from their bishop to marry, as would be the case with any non-Catholic spouse. I assume similar problems would arise in the case of vocations to Holy Orders.
It seems that the Vatican’s ‘dialogue’ with the Communist Chinese regime is similar to that of its pre-WWII negotiations with Nazi Germany – and it may have the same result. It should have been evident to the diplomatic ‘experts’ in Rome that ‘giving an inch’ to the Chinese regime is not going to result in better treatment for the Chinese Catholic faithful.
Rather, as with the Nazis, more concessions will be demanded until they have succeeded in completely neutralizing the Catholic Church in China and its relationship with the See of Peter. Unfortunately, they are emboldened in this by witnessing how Pope Francis refuses to stand up to other, similar regimes – like those of Cuba and Venezuela, to name but two.
Mouthing platitudes about ‘love’, ‘mercy’ and ‘pastoral accompaniment’ may work with the converted, but it is just seen as weakness by dictators. Two thousand years of martyrs for the Catholic Faith should have driven that lesson home. It appears the lesson needs to be re-learned by the current administration in the Vatican.
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