(O Deutschland double a desperate name!
O world wide of its good!
But Gertrude, lily, and Luther, are two of a town,
Christ’s lily and beast of the waste wood:
From life’s dawn it is drawn down,
Abel is Cain’s brother and breasts they have sucked the same.)*
Cardinals Kasper, Marx, Lehmann and Schoenborn – all from the German – and “Greater German” – world, have been among the most vocal protagonists of Amoris Laetitia and of the process leading up to that document. They (rightly) see it as confirming and endorsing their own opinions and longstanding course of action. Their own surveys, however, have shown that these policies have brought Catholicism in the German lands to the brink of extinction. Truly it is The Wreck of the Deutschland! It does seem now that the catastrophe, which has overwhelmed the Church in Germany (and Western Europe) will spread worldwide. Continuing the nautical metaphor, Luc Perrin says:
The good ship Kasperic – like its ancestor the Titanic – is sinking: in the midst of exhilaration and slowly by reason of divine mercy but nevertheless it is taking on water. The music of the orchestra is lively and joyful; the dancers on the bridge are laughing and twirling but the water keeps rising. Yet in the radio room a sailor is tapping out “mayday, mayday, mayday.” There are vessels in the distance on the Catholic sea and lifeboats on the Kasperic. I am more focused on scrutinizing the ocean and launching the lifeboats than letting myself be swept away by the music of the ball…
Source “Le Forum Catholique.”
Yet this same German world has now provided us with the first clear responses to Amoris Laetitia. Athanasius Schneider (what a name!) an auxiliary bishop of German origin from Kazakhstan, has said the first clear episcopal words amid the universal cowardice of the Catholic hierarchy (to the extent, that is, that the bishops don’t actively support Amoris Laetitia)
Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church. This fact is explained by the absence of concrete and explicit affirmation of the constant doctrine and practice of the Church, which is founded upon the Word of God and was reiterated by Pope John Paul II.
And now the German philosopher Robert Spaemann speaks out loud and bold:
Article 305 together with note 351, however, in which it is stated that faithful “in an objective situation of sin” “by reason of mitigating factors” can be admitted to the sacraments directly contradicts article 84 of Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II.
The concentration on the above-mentioned passages is, in my view, fully justified. You cannot expect, in a papal magisterial document, that people delight in beautiful passages and ignore decisive sentences, which change the teaching of the Church. There is here only a clear yes or no decision. Give communion or not give communion – there is no middle ground.
The consequences (of Amoris Laetitia – SC) can already be foreseen: destabilization and confusion from the Bishops’ conferences to the individual pastor in the jungle. A thrust for secularization and a further decline in the number of priests in many parts of the world are also be expected.
So if the push for Amoris Laetitia largely rests on the support of the higher clergy of the German-speaking countries, the first unambiguous criticism of it – at least from parties who cannot be ignored – also comes from this culture. Perhaps, God willing, the Germans, having very largely contributed to the present crisis, will be among the first to show us the way out of it?
(Thanks to Sandro Magister’s Chiesa and Settimo Cielo)
* Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland II 20. (Martin Luther and St. Gertrude were both born in Eisleben, Germany)