Have the German Bishops Become Too ‘Anglican’?
BY FATHER DWIGHT LONGENECKER
I’ll admit straight up that I am not an expert on the Catholic Church in Germany. I know Cardinal Walter Kasper and a good number of the German bishops are in favor of a more permissive approach to marriage discipline. I realize they have voted to change labor laws to approve of married same-sex couples.
I also know Germany has a famous “church tax” through which the Church is funded directly by the state. I realize many German Catholics are progressive in their attitudes toward Church discipline, family issues, liturgical questions and the Church’s relationship to the surrounding culture. I understand many are worried about the increasing submission of the German Catholic Church to the forces of secularization.
What I know about the Catholic Church in Germany makes me wonder: The parallels to the Church of England seem uncomfortably close.
The Church of England is an institution I do know something about. I was a member of the Church of England for 15 years, 10 of which I was an ordained minister. I served as an assistant priest, a chaplain at Cambridge and a country parson on the Isle of Wight. I experienced all of the strengths and weaknesses of the Church of England firsthand.
The Church of England is one of the wealthiest landowners in England. The land it owns was confiscated from the Catholic Church by King Henry VIII in the 16th century. Along with the land, the Church of England retains all of the pre-Reformation Catholic churches, colleges, cathedrals and chapels.
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Five German Bishops Back Bishop's Public Criticism of Lay Statement
by Edward Pentin
Five German bishops have written a letter in support of Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau who last week openly criticized a document released by the German Church’s top lay organization, the ZdK.
In the letter published over the weekend, the bishops said they thanked Bishop Oster for his opinions on the ZdK statement and that they agreed “wholeheartedly” with his remarks on the importance of Church teaching, especially concerning Christian marriage “based on the teaching of Jesus in Scripture and on the tradition of Church.”
Last week, the ZdK — the Central Committee of the German Catholics — released a declaration that called for the admittance of civilly remarried divorcees to holy Communion, acceptance of all forms of cohabitation, the blessing of same-sex couples and the reconsideration of the Church’s teaching on contraception.
Bishop Oster criticized their statement for being “incomprehensible” and said that, if enacted, it would mark a “dramatic change of much that has been valid concerning marriage and sexuality” based on holy Scripture, Tradition and the magisterium.