Rorate Caeli

German Bishops Stand Behind Mammon
- Ratzinger explained it better than anyone, and he paid a price for it

Nicolas Poussin
The Adoration of the Golden Calf (1633)
The National Gallery
It's all about the Kirchensteuer.

It's always been about the Kirchensteuer.

They can't get enough of their dear Kirchensteuer.

Their god is money,
their religion is greed,
their morality is more and more money,
milked from their golden cow,
the self-declared Catholics of Germany.

That's really all there is to it.  They don't care about the divorced. They don't care about the abandoned. They don't really care about the poor. They certainly don't care about Our Lord, and His Gospel of total renunciation. They are not behind Kasper, as Cardinal Marx said, with a ridiculous declaration signed by most* of Germany's bishops presented explosively in the Synod Hall. They are behind Mammon, and if being behind Kasper advances their agenda of greed, then that is quite perfect. They burn their original product imagining that will preserve their market-share!... As if the Lutheran-Reformed "Evangelical Church in Germany" (EKD) were having any better luck with their even more liberal reforms...


There were milestones in the unraveling of Benedict XVI's long-suffering pontificate. We can see much clearer now the steps leading to its collapse. And one of those was certainly his last address ever in his homeland. It was supposedly directed at the laity. The Bishops were the ones he meant to address.

It would be too much. He had touched the third rail. The first leaks of the scandal known as "Vatileaks" that would bury his pontificate would show up in the media merely three months later.

This is how we presented it at the time (and, not coincidentally, on the same day the first ever trustworthy report on his possible resignation was announced by Antonio Socci - at the time, we were accused of "rumor-mongering"...).

The Pope's last address in Germany, to the Catholic laity (officially, to "Catholics active in the Church and society gathered in the Konzerthaus", in Freiburg im Breisgau), is certainly the most impressive of his visit to his nation - including on the need that the "reform" of the Church begin by those who truly need reform: each Christian faithful. And, as we had mentioned yesterday regarding the Kirchensteuer, on the absolute necessity of the "organized" and "wealthy" Church to rid itself of all that renders it "worldlike". It is the official response of the Pope to the disgraceful attitude of much of the German-speaking hierarchy, priests, and lay faithful, including those making up or supporting the "Pfarrer-Initiative", in Austria - and one of his most important addresses this year.

For some decades now we have been experiencing a decline in religious practice and we have been seeing substantial numbers of the baptized drifting away from church life. This prompts the question: should the Church not change? Must she not adapt her offices and structures to the present day, in order to reach the searching and doubting people of today?

Blessed Mother Teresa was once asked what in her opinion was the first thing that would have to change in the Church. Her answer was: you and I.

In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes settled in this world, she becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world. She gives greater weight to organization and institutionalization than to her vocation to openness.

In order to accomplish her true task adequately, the Church must constantly renew the effort to detach herself from the “worldliness” of the world. In this she follows the words of Jesus: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17:16). One could almost say that history comes to the aid of the Church here through the various periods of secularization, which have contributed significantly to her purification and inner reform.

Secularizing trends – whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like – have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she has set aside her worldly wealth and has once again completely embraced her worldly poverty. In this the Church has shared the destiny of the tribe of Levi, which according to the Old Testament account was the only tribe in Israel with no ancestral land of its own, taking as its portion only God himself, his word and his signs. At those moments in history, the Church shared with that tribe the demands of a poverty that was open to the world, in order to be released from her material ties: and in this way her missionary activity regained credibility.

History has shown that, when the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly.
It is not a question here of finding a new strategy to relaunch the Church. Rather, it is a question of setting aside mere strategy and seeking total transparency, not bracketing or ignoring anything from the truth of our present situation, but living the faith fully here and now in the utterly sober light of day, appropriating it completely, and stripping away from it anything that only seems to belong to faith, but in truth is mere convention or habit.

To put it another way: for people of every era, not just our own, the Christian faith is a scandal. That the eternal God should know us and care about us, that the intangible should at a particular moment have become tangible, that he who is immortal should have suffered and died on the Cross, that we who are mortal should be given the promise of resurrection and eternal life – to believe all this is to posit something truly remarkable. (September 25, 2011)
* Most, but there are remarkable exceptions in Germany itself (not only the Pope Emeritus and Cardinal Müller in Rome).