Maneuvers are on to try and condition the Pope. Saint Peter’s Square puts the brakes on German bishops. Traditionalists and progressives keep pushing
A lot is happening in the Vatican, and the whole picture is not easy to understand. In the history of man and institutions, even ecclesiastical ones, there are moments when events keep you out of breath and allow no distractions. The Synod on the Pan Amazon region seemed likely to be the great watershed event that would eliminate a certain stiffness. But then, the German bishops came around and decided to make another Synod of their own.
First, to bring the picture into sharper focus, we need to look at the calendar. The German bishops are meeting before the universal synod that Pope Francis set for October 6 to shout “yes” to environmental protection.
Only this time, the German story is serious. The bishops do this often: start out as a Formula One Mercedes on the Nurburgring. Who can stop them? Suffice it to read the statement from Saint Peter’s Square to force the German fireball to stop: “… It is easy to see that these issues do not concern the Church in Germany but the universal Church and – with few exceptions – cannot be the object of deliberations or decisions of a particular Church without contravening what the Holy Father expresses in his letter.”
That means that the Germans may not deploy their team without first hearing the coach. To stay in the motor racing field, they cannot start moving to take pole position without the team manager telling them to get on the track. In ecclesiastical terms, in Germany, they cannot think of sitting at a desk to discuss whether priests still have to be celibate or not (their main topic) without considering what Jorge Mario Bergoglio has written about it. For those who may not know, he still is the Pope of the Catholic Church and the highest authority in doctrinal matters.
The aims of the Germans are well known. For years, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a progressive, has been repeating that one should not be afraid to open to the laity. How to do so, however, must be decided by Rome, albeit in collegial form. With papal approval, but Rome is still the one that gives the cards.
For many years, some circles, and especially conservatives, have been telling a story more or less like this: Since the German bishops and Jorge Mario Bergoglio love and agree with each other deep down the Holy Father will want to move ahead with the reform. Then there is another story more or less like this: Since the German Catholic Church, whose progressive ambitions Joseph Ratzinger tried to reduce, is prostrated before the Pope, Marx will succeed in his intent.
Reinhard Cardinal Marx, unrelated to the author of Capital, is nevertheless the head of German bishops and his position really counts. What is happening, however, puts pre-established schemes in doubt.
We have two pieces of information: The Germans are about to meet and take (they say) “binding” measures. Most Rev. Filippo Iannone, bishop emeritus of the diocese of Sora Aquino Pontecorvo in the province of Frosinone, Italy, and now president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts – has explained: The German meeting is not a Synod; if anything, it is a Council. In any case, one cannot rely on a majority criterion (we note this based on the above-mentioned agency).
At this point, we can draw the first conclusion: For a true Catholic, “schism” is an unbearable word. But they are talking a little too much about it, bringing back a ghost of ancient times. Charles Dickens’s ghost appears in A Christmas Carol. Will the ‘ghost’ of these Germans be nothing but a hymn to self-determination?
Now let us see what happens in the house of “traditionalist” cousins.
Traditionalists will not be there. They will not participate in the prayer to say that things are not going well. The high-ranking ecclesiastics who criticized Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his five-year period will not appear at St. John XXIII Square this coming October 5 for the “Prayer for the Church.” Lay people and some priests will be filling the square.
The conservative cardinals are producing prolific texts. Their main gist is that the Instrumentum Laboris on the Synod for the Amazon, as written, is unacceptable. Dissenting is possible and licit, but attending a conference a few meters from the Vatican would be too much. They are still princes of the Church and would be seen as part of a “cardinals’ protest.” Nor will they participate in the first, morning conference organized by some academics to show the alleged groundlessness of the ecological base on which the Synod is supposed to rest. But they will arrive later to give “salutation speeches” (as announced here).
They will participate in the third event, October 5 to help wage another battle: Catholics should be able to receive the Eucharist on their knees. So kneelers are needed.
Now, what does giving “salutation speeches” mean? It means being there without formally adhering to the gathering. It means attending while not being organically part of the list of organizers.
I almost forgot to say whom I was talking about. I think those present at the third event, on the 18th at Santo Spirito in Sassia will at least be able to listen to the speech of Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who a few months ago took a great distance from Steve Bannon, and to that of Bishop Athanasius Schneider. But officially, the two will have nothing to do with the prayer said few hours earlier.
Source: Alessio Porcu
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