Marx and the Manifesto… of the German Church [OPINION]

Whether he is a theoretician, actor or chef, the name of Marx is impressive. This unique and long vowel produces its small effect on the ear. When it comes to a clergyman, this one slaps even more offset. Rest, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, 69, excels in the art of the opposite. During the bicentenary of Karl's birth (1818), the Archbishop of Munich "canonized" his namesake by stating that without him, " there would have been no social doctrine of the Church” and " The Communist Manifesto is a very great work, written in a language of genius”. In Trier (Rhineland-Palatinate), the prelate even had his photo taken at the foot of the statue that the Chinese regime had just offered (!) to the city, the cradle of Marxism. The German right, although not very divisive, was strangled a little, some seeing in it an absolution given to one of the fathers of contemporary political violence.

Archbishop Marx is one of the most influential clerics. He chaired the German Bishops' Conference (2014-2020), the richest church body in Europe, and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE, 2012-2018). He belongs to the "C9", the council of cardinals created by Pope Francis in 2013 to help him govern.

Why talk about him today? A year ago, on June 10, 2021, the Holy Father refused his resignation. Bishop Marx had offered it to him for " take joint responsibility for the sexual abuse disaster”, wanting to create an electric shock for a “ new revival of the Church”. Calendar coincidence: this anniversary coincides with the earthquake caused in France by the Roman decision to suspend ordinations in the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon (Var) led by Bishop Dominique Rey.

To confuse the two cases would be inept, to judge the second on the merits too, no information having leaked. But comparing France to Germany is not. Do the two countries form the couple we talk about so much? Let us stick to Catholicism alone:

On the one hand, Msgr. Reinhard Marx, figurehead of Germanic progressivism, is maintained and supported in spite of himself by the Vatican institution. On the other hand, Rome brutally disavows Msgr. Rey, muse of French conservatism.

This comparison is only worth the perception it arouses in our minds. : the German Church, rebellious and subversive, is managed by the Vatican, while the laboratory of evangelization, a sort of California of Catholicism in Europe, seems sanctioned. Added to motu proprio restricting the mass “in Latin”, part of the French flock thinks that it is beaten on it, while Rome pampers Teutonic schismatics.

Let's talk about it: Archbishop Marx endorses the famous synodal path launched in December 2019. This half-clerical, half-secular assembly made a series of proposals in Frankfurt in February aimed at making the Church a permanent synod aligned with the rule of law and new morals. The most publicized reform concerns sexual morality. " One of the two so-called 'action' documents recommends that the pope carry out a 'clarification and doctrinal reassessment of thehomosexuality'« , observes the Swiss site Cath-Info. " Same-sex sexuality is not a sin and, contrary to what appears in the catechism, 'should not be judged as inherently disordered'", is it written.

This Germanic path differs from that taken by “Latin” Catholicism. Switzerland is a good example : the German part speaks only of inclusivity and deconstruction. " We leave the room but there is no more room”, summarizes the Swiss theologian Grégory Solari, joined by LSDJ. Conversely, French-speaking Switzerland aspires to a firmer and more missionary faith, without a dialectical spirit. "These Catholics, although benevolent towards the synod, are so cooled by the Germanic avant-gardism that all things considered, they would prefer a return to a neo-Tridentine church", says Solari.

By their excesses, do the “Germans” risk torpedoing the synodal approach framed by Pope Francis in his letter June 2019 ? This church installed in the concordat and culturally Protestant comfort is more permeable to the injunctions of the world. Federalism also deprives it of a form of greatness and institutional combativeness. If French Catholicism is materially impoverished, its capacity to resist and to mobilize is stronger than across the Rhine.

In any case, on April 11, some 74 cardinals and bishops, mostly Americans, signed a " open letter fraternal » to signify their growing concern" before the risk of schism to which Germany exposes the Catholic Church.

We await the response of the Holy See to the wishes of the German synodal path. Any precipitation would only give echo to its claims. It is also perhaps for this reason that there is no Marx deposited either… . So as not to create a void that the pope cannot fill and which would increase unease.

Louis Daufresne

source: Cath Info

This article is published from Selection of the day.

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