Author Topic: German Catholic bishops proclaim homosexuality ‘normal,’ adultery ‘not grave’  (Read 3793 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

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https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/german-bishops-proclaim-homosexuality-normal-adultery-not-grave

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German bishops proclaim homosexuality ‘normal,’ adultery ‘not grave’

BERLIN, December 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The Commission for Marriage and Family of the German Bishops’ Conference has come to a consensus that homosexuality is a “normal form of sexual predisposition.”

Two German prelates have also claimed that Amoris Laetitia teaches that sexual relationships formed after a divorce are neither gravely sinful nor a bar to the reception of Holy Communion.

On December 5, the German Bishops’ Conference published a press release detailing the results of an “expert consultation on the topic ‘The sexuality of man: how to discuss it scientifically-theologically, and how to assess it ecclesiastically?’”

The consultation, which included a panel of bishops, sexologists, moral theologians, dogmatic theologians, and canon lawyers, took place in Berlin and concluded on December 4. The timing of the event coincided with the German bishops’ departure along their own “synodal path.”

According to the press release, the experts agreed that “human sexuality encompasses a dimension of lust, of procreation, and of relationships.”

They also agreed that homosexuality is as “normal” as heterosexuality and that neither sexual attraction should be changed.

“There was also agreement that the sexual preference of man expresses itself in puberty and assumes a hetero- or homosexual orientation. Both belong to the normal forms of sexual predisposition, which cannot or should be be changed with the help of a specific socialization,” the press release stated.

The communiqué offered this status of normality as the reason why “any form of discrimination of those persons with a homosexual orientation has to be rejected,” a teaching it says has been demanded for “quite some time” by the teaching office of the Church and was “explicitly stressed by Pope Francis” in Amoris Laetitia.

Agreement had its limits, however. There was no consensus on “whether the magisteral ban on practiced homosexuality is still up to date.” The experts also disagreed on whether or not both married and unmarried people should be allowed to use artificial contraceptives.

The German bishops’ press release mentioned in particular Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, the head of the Commission for the Family, and Bishop Franz-Joseph Bode of Osnabrück. Both had been present at the Synod on the Family in Rome in 2015. According to the statement, both men stressed “the importance of a solid discussion based on human sciences and theology and stressed the developments that already can be found in Amoris Laetitia.”

As their example of a “development” in Amoris Laetitia, the German bishops state that the document says “a sexual relationship after a divorce and remarriage is no longer generally assessed as being a grave sin, and, subsequently, a general exclusion from the reception of the Eucharist is not foreseen.”

The other German prelates in the panel included Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz, and several auxiliary bishops from the Commision for the Family.

The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church states clearly that homosexual acts are “instrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law” (CCC 2357).

“They close the sexual act to the gift of life,” it continues. “They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.”

“Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

However, the Catechesis does indeed stress that the suffering of people with same-sex attraction should not be increased by unkind treatment:

    The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition (CCC 2358)

The Catechism also stresses that “homosexual persons are called to chastity” and can “approach Christian perfection” through self-mastery, friendship, prayer, and sacramental grace (CCC 2359).

However, there is widespread rebellion in the Catholic Church in Germany against the perennial doctrine of the Church on sexual matters, including among members of the German Bishops’ Conference. The German Bishops Conference’s insistence on holding its own synod, or “synodal path,” without Vatican permission, has more traditional German Catholics worried.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, a president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, has warned that proceeding down this  path — one that  questions the Church's teachings on the celibate, male priesthood; homosexuality; and marriage — could lead to a “national church” without “nearly any ties to Rome.” The dubia cardinal stated that this would be “certainly be the surest path into the final decline” of the German Church.

Erbarme dich, Herr.
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D. Engebretson

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Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, a president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, has warned that proceeding down this  path — one that  questions the Church's teachings on the celibate, male priesthood; homosexuality; and marriage — could lead to a “national church” without “nearly any ties to Rome.” The dubia cardinal stated that this would be “certainly be the surest path into the final decline” of the German Church.

I'm curious if this statement from Germany will be fully and enthusiastically supported by the Vatican.
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, a president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, has warned that proceeding down this  path — one that  questions the Church's teachings on the celibate, male priesthood; homosexuality; and marriage — could lead to a “national church” without “nearly any ties to Rome.” The dubia cardinal stated that this would be “certainly be the surest path into the final decline” of the German Church.

I'm curious if this statement from Germany will be fully and enthusiastically supported by the Vatican.

The Papacy has no provision for "national Churches" or, what Orthodoxy calls autocephalacy.

Within the Orthodox Church, autocephalacy cannot be demanded or obtained through rebellion, but can only be granted through the Patriarchates (remember the Ukrainian situation?).   

If the Pope of Rome to grant German autocephalacy this would be new ground west of the line of demarcation.
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David Garner

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Charles Austin

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J. Thomas Shelley writes:
If the Pope of Rome to grant German autocephalacy this would be new ground west of the line of demarcation.
I muse:
You can have it granted or ungranted. And you might have it unofficially.
The time will come, I believe, when the remnants of papal monarchy will be challenged and/or fade away.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

David Garner

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J. Thomas Shelley writes:
If the Pope of Rome to grant German autocephalacy this would be new ground west of the line of demarcation.
I muse:
You can have it granted or ungranted. And you might have it unofficially.
The time will come, I believe, when the remnants of papal monarchy will be challenged and/or fade away.

Your beliefs never seem to bear any resemblance to reality.  For example, the Roman Catholic Church is growing.  UNDER the Papacy, not away from it or in opposition to it.  Roman Catholics tend to add about 10% to their membership rolls per decade.  They represent about half of Christians worldwide and have 1.2 billion members.  Again, UNDER the Pope, not in opposition to him.

Now, if you were to say "the time will come, I believe, when the remnants of the ELCA fade away, absorbed by other denominations or simply dying off," you might be onto something.  The ELCA by contrast has lost 7% of its membership in the last decade, and literally has shrunk since the day it was formed.  If not for communion agreements with other shrinking churches, things would be far worse.  There is no reason whatsoever to think your brand of Christianity is sustainable.

With regard to what we in the East call autocephaly, no, you cannot have it "unofficially."  You cannot have it "ungranted."  That's because autocephaly isn't like your view of doctrine, where you can just call a thing _______ and it becomes ________.  Autocephaly has canonical requirements, and among those are that it is specifically granted to the purported self-ruling church by its parent church.  There is also the matter of acceptance, since autocephalous churches are generally not considered as such by the whole Church unless and until the other Patriarchates agree the church in question should be self-ruled.  In this case, that means Rome (the parent church) would have to grant autocephaly, AND the remaining Catholic bishops would have to agree.  Since the first of those will never, ever happen, any German national "church" formed by rogue bishops would be an heretical schismatic body, and not part of the Catholic Church at all.  Put very bluntly, they would be like you.

My general assumption when you tell us how you "believe" every church will eventually ordain women and bless same-sex marriages and (now) form national "churches" to decimate the Roman Catholic Church is you are trolling.  Given that your beliefs bear no resemblance to what is actually happening in the world, and that contrary to your triumphalism, it is you and yours who are shrinking and going away, it is simply your way of trying to trigger people.  And at this point, it's almost comical in its absurdity.  Sure, we may not know what the future holds for the Roman Catholic Church, and maybe in 500 years you end up being right.  But there's no reason to think that right now.  Right now, the better bet is the ELCA won't be in existence 50 years from now.  But your self-serving "beliefs" never seem to want to talk about that.
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Michael Slusser

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The press release to which the lifesitenews article apparently refers can be read at https://www.dbk.de/nc/presse/aktuelles/meldung/fachkonsultation-die-sexualitaet-des-menschen/detail/ on the website of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Peace,
Michael
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Charles Austin

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Mr. Garner writes:
Your beliefs never seem to bear any resemblance to reality.  For example, the Roman Catholic Church is growing.  UNDER the Papacy, not away from it or in opposition to it.  Roman Catholics tend to add about 10% to their membership rolls per decade.  They represent about half of Christians worldwide and have 1.2 billion members.  Again, UNDER the Pope, not in opposition to him.
I comment:
But not, by any means, under lock-step agreement with every bull, every canon law, every pastoral practice proclamation that comes from Rome. Catholics, even lay people informed by their Christian faith, teaching, and conscience, will believe, teach and even practice things that are not in line with edicts from Rome.

Mr. Garner writes:
Now, if you were to say "the time will come, I believe, when the remnants of the ELCA fade away, absorbed by other denominations or simply dying off," you might be onto something.  The ELCA by contrast has lost 7% of its membership in the last decade, and literally has shrunk since the day it was formed.  If not for communion agreements with other shrinking churches, things would be far worse.  There is no reason whatsoever to think your brand of Christianity is sustainable.
I comment:
And the temporal survival of the ELCA is of no concern to me at all. It is quite possible that the ELCA will one day disappear, and it is certainly likely that we will continue to decrease in numbers and increase our partnerships with our full communion neighbors.

Mr. Garner:
With regard to what we in the East call autocephaly, no, you cannot have it "unofficially."  You cannot have it "ungranted."  That's because autocephaly isn't like your view of doctrine, where you can just call a thing _______ and it becomes ________.  Autocephaly has canonical requirements, and among those are that it is specifically granted to the purported self-ruling church by its parent church. 
Me:
See above. Those Roman Catholics making their own way through “church” do not give a thurible wisp about having their views or practices “specifically granted” or approved by Rome.

Mr. Garner:
There is also the matter of acceptance, since autocephalous churches are generally not considered as such by the whole Church unless and until the other Patriarchates agree the church in question should be self-ruled.  In this case, that means Rome (the parent church) would have to grant autocephaly, AND the remaining Catholic bishops would have to agree.  Since the first of those will never, ever happen, any German national "church" formed by rogue bishops would be an heretical schismatic body, and not part of the Catholic Church at all.  Put very bluntly, they would be like you.
Me:
Just gonna let that one stand, I am.

Mr. Garner:
My general assumption when you tell us how you "believe" every church will eventually ordain women and bless same-sex marriages and (now) form national "churches" to decimate the Roman Catholic Church is you are trolling.
Me:
Why do you not take my “beliefs” or opinion seriously? Because they sound outrageous to you? I take your recitation of the ins and outs of Orthodoxy seriously. Why am I accuse of being a troll just because you do not like what I honestly feel is the situation.

Mr. Garner:
Given that your beliefs bear no resemblance to what is actually happening in the world, and that contrary to your triumphalism, it is you and yours who are shrinking and going away, it is simply your way of trying to trigger people. 
Me:
See above.

Mr. Garner:
And at this point, it's almost comical in its absurdity.  Sure, we may not know what the future holds for the Roman Catholic Church, and maybe in 500 years you end up being right.  But there's no reason to think that right now.
Me:
Glad to give you a laugh, but Aha! God works sometimes slowly and the church is sometimes, not always, slow to change; changes taking decades or even centuries. I’ll settle for being right 500 years from now (but I think I’ll be right sooner than that.)

Mr. Garner
Right now, the better bet is the ELCA won't be in existence 50 years from now.  But your self-serving "beliefs" never seem to want to talk about that.
Me:
I’m talking now. It is quite possible that the ELCA will not be in existence 50 years from now. The church I grew up in is not in existence today. But Lutheranism will (probably) be in existence and the Church catholic will be in existence if God wishes it to be so.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

The Yak

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The ELCA by contrast has lost 7% of its membership in the last decade, and literally has shrunk since the day it was formed. 

The first half of the statement is incorrect.

In 2008, the ELCA had 4,633,887 baptized members.
In 2018, the ELCA had 3,363,281 baptized members.

This is a reduction of 1,270,606 or 27% relative to 2008.

David Garner

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The ELCA by contrast has lost 7% of its membership in the last decade, and literally has shrunk since the day it was formed. 

The first half of the statement is incorrect.

In 2008, the ELCA had 4,633,887 baptized members.
In 2018, the ELCA had 3,363,281 baptized members.

This is a reduction of 1,270,606 or 27% relative to 2008.

 :o

Wow......
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

David Garner

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But not, by any means, under lock-step agreement with every bull, every canon law, every pastoral practice proclamation that comes from Rome. Catholics, even lay people informed by their Christian faith, teaching, and conscience, will believe, teach and even practice things that are not in line with edicts from Rome.

(snip)

See above. Those Roman Catholics making their own way through “church” do not give a thurible wisp about having their views or practices “specifically granted” or approved by Rome.

I feel like you don't understand Catholic ecclesiology.  Either that or you have such understanding and are simply, as I said before, trolling.  We aren't talking about views or practices.  We're talking about whether the Pope is going to grant what amounts to self-ruling status to a bunch of Rogue German bishops.  Whether people who call themselves Roman Catholic care about that or not really is beside the point.  If their bishops are no longer Roman Catholic bishops, then whatever they might wish to call themselves, they are not Roman Catholics.

Traditionally, churches do not behave as you suggest.  They do not form and re-form and call themselves whatever they wish while everyone else just goes along with it.  Traditionally, the local churches (including the Church of Rome) are defined precisely by their communion, that is, which bishops are in communion with which other bishops.  The Eastern Church does not consider itself "Roman Catholic" just because we share common roots, and this is true even though many of the Byzantine churches still considered themselves "Roman" culturally for many years after the Great Schism.  Rather, we understand that we are not in communion with the bishop of Rome, and we consider that regrettable and work to heal the schism.  If these German bishops were to split from Rome, they are not Roman Catholics any longer.  If Rome excommunicates them, same result.  Why?  Because to be Roman Catholic means, first and foremost, to be in communion with the bishop of Rome, the Pope.

You seem to be suggesting that whatever yahoos split off from the Pope are still to be properly considered Roman Catholic.  That isn't how it works.
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Charles Austin

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Dr. yak, those people who left the ELCA are not lost to the church or the kingdom of God, at least I suspect that’s the case with most of them. They simply moved to another part of the church.
As for the situation with ecclesial unity and the dear old “who is in communion with whom” question, things like that may be in flux also. And I think we know that “communion,” that is, the ability to worship and receive the sacraments together, is not always dictated by the hierarchy.
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David Garner

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Dr. yak, those people who left the ELCA are not lost to the church or the kingdom of God, at least I suspect that’s the case with most of them. They simply moved to another part of the church.
As for the situation with ecclesial unity and the dear old “who is in communion with whom” question, things like that may be in flux also. And I think we know that “communion,” that is, the ability to worship and receive the sacraments together, is not always dictated by the hierarchy.

You are imposing your own free-wheeling view of what constitutes the Church over and against the Roman Catholics.  If your bishop is not a Roman Catholic bishop, you are not a Roman Catholic.  And if you surreptitiously go to Roman Catholic parishes and present for communion (that'll show them) without permission, you are also not a Roman Catholic.  You are a trespasser, an interloper, and one who does not respect Roman Catholics enough to respect their own beliefs and structure.

If you are a Roman Catholic who goes around communing wherever you wish, that is between you and your bishop, who (if he is a Roman Catholic) will likely correct your misunderstandings about communion.  But granted, those folks are still at least Roman Catholic.
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Coach-Rev

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Charles, you know this is patently false.

with a combined membership of 442,000 between LCMC and NALC (the landing spot for nearly every congregation that left - and a good chunk of those are in Canada, not the US), that leaves an awful lot left unaccounted for.

In general, the majority of those who have left the ELCA have not gone anywhere else, but simply let the practice of their faith lapse. 

One congregation here, at a mere 20 avg attendance from a few years' ago's 150 average, a full 2/3 of those members no longer attend anywhere.  I know.  We've been seeking them here.
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Charles Austin

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And how can you be sure, Pastor Cottingham, but they didn’t become Episcopalian  or Presbyterian or Baptist or Congregationalists or Methodist?
The problem for some might be that we have so indoctrinated them with the idea of “Lutheran” that they cannot find church anywhere else. That would be too bad, but if so, I wish you luck as you go after them.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.