Rorate Caeli

The Ouellet batch of bishops

Nothing has changed in the Congregation for Bishops. reports on the newly-chosen Bishop of Basel, Felix Gmür:
Felix Gmür: sexuality is primarily a matter of conscience of each individual

The new Bishop of Basel on celibacy: "The church must consider whether this must necessarily be the rule. I do not think so - even though celibacy is the correct way of life for me."

Basel (

Felix Gmür, the newly-appointed Bishop of Basel, welcomes in a recent interview with Tagesanzeiger the (alleged) relaxation of the condom ban by the Pope and declares, "Sexuality is primarily a matter of the conscience of every human being. I welcome what the Pope said. ... ."

When asked whether now that he is in the diocese of Basel he would follow the line of Rome, Gmür then says, "It is not the message of the line of Rome, but [the message of] the line of the Bible that we have to proclaim, and that is the message of Jesus Christ. ... In the diocese of Basel, there is a lot of freedom within [the Church] structure."
[Full article in German; tip: Papa Ratzinger blog]
This is just great.


  1. Anonymous10:58 AM

    We need to stop intellectualizing the very dangerous situation confronting us Roman Catholics and ask ourselves who or what is running things in the Vatican.

  2. El nombramiento del Obispo de Basilea es DIFERENTE a todos los otros dado que el Cabildo eclesiástico de Basilea tiene un antiguo privilegio para elegir a su propio obispo, el cual es luego confirmado por el Santo Padre.

    No se puede juzgar con un solo nombramiento, más aún si es absolutamente particular su procedimiento, el trabajo de un Cardenal Prefecto.

  3. Anonymous11:56 AM

    What we must understand is that the arrangement for the nomination of bishops in Switzerland is VERY different from the arrangement in any other country: in Switzerland, the candidates for the episcopacy are nominated by the canons of the cathedral and only confirmed by the Holy See, and, in some cases, the candidate MUST be chosen from among the canons of the cathedral. Moreover, in at least one Swiss diocese, the SECULAR authorities choose the candidate from among the canons of the cathedral and that priest's name, chosen by the secular authorities, is sent to the Holy See for confirmation. This was one of the problems with the nomination of Mgr. Haas in the Diocese of Chur, Switzerland. The previous pope named him without the approval of the canons of the cathedral of Chur.

    While these arrangements seems strange to us, it has been done this way for centuries in Switzerland, particularly since the Reformation. Each of the secular cantons in which the Swiss dioceses are located has a concordat with the Holy See - and not a recent concordat, rather a centuries-old concordat - to name bishops in this manner.

    Add to this that, in Switzerland, canon law is not recognized by the cantonal authorities AT ALL. There was a case in German-speaking Switzerland where a priest had fathered a child and so the bishop duly removed him. The priest then sued the bishop in court because it is illegal in Switzerland to fire someone for having children. The bishop was forced by a secular judge to reinstate him. Also, when a priest is named to a parish in Switzerland, the authority of the bishop is not recognized by the secular law. So, if Bishop X names Father Y to be pastor of St. Z's parish, the only thing the state recognizes is that a group of people who are registered with the government and who call themselves "St. Z's Parish" must ELECT this priest as President of their organization. This is actually true on the diocesan level, too. When the Holy Father names a bishop, even in accordance with the special Swiss concordats with the Holy See, he must be elected president of an organization of people specifically registered with the government as the "Diocese of Basel."

    What's more, add in to this situation the frightening state of the Faith in Switzerland, and it's even WORSE in German-speaking Switzerland than in French-speaking Switzerland, good candidates for the episcopacy, at least ones who would satisfy the secular authorities and/or the canons of the cathedral, are hard to find.

    Due to the Reformation, it was actually illegal in the Protestant Canton of Vaud (Diocese of Lausanne-Geneva-Fribourg, French-speaking Switzerland - Romandie) to wear a cassock in the street until the 1990's.

    Please pray for Cardinal Ouellet and the Holy Father in this difficult situation; their hands are tied by centuries-old concordats agreed to by their predecessors. Switzerland is already is a sort of de facto schism; a one-sided annulment of these concordats by the Holy See would provoke what is a de facto situation into becoming a de iure situation.

  4. Gideon Ertner12:17 PM

    Pray for good Bishops! Pray for holy Bishops! Neither Card. Ouellet nor Pope Benedict are (necessarily) going to give us them.

    It is the Mother of God and St. Joseph who are going to give us them.

    And pray, pray hard for the conversion of Mgr. Gmür. Don't forget that his predecessor was once a raving liberal but is now a staunch Ratzingerian. That is certainly not nothing, even if it is not everything.

  5. Is it possible that we are in those times prophesised by St Paul when many will lose the loved of the truth and fall away from the faith?

    Near the end of his life, Pope Paul VI once openly pondered the words in St Luke "when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on earth" and surmised that we may approaching that time.

    The commentary of Fr John Zuhlsdorf who has spoken of Pope Benedict's "Marshall Plan" for the rebuilding of the Church has turned out to be largely the product of wishful thinking on his and our parts. I fear we are facing darker storm clouds on the horizon.

  6. That is not a reasonable justification; similar methods subsist in many nations and dioceses, but the Pope can always reject the choice of other authorities involved in the process and ask for a new selection. He may have his hands tied by other reasons in Vietnam, not in Basel.

    If that were not enough, it is certain that newly-created Cardinal Koch could have intervened (he may have...) in order to achieve the selection of a better name.


  7. Thank you, New Catholic, for bringing a ration of common sense to this report.

  8. NC - it may well be that Cardinal Koch has intervened and that the best option was the appointment of Bishop Gmur. Given the historic circumstances (and , yes, similar arrangements do apply elsewhere in the world), it is perhaps unwise to jump to conclusions regarding the input of Cardinal Oullet.

    It seems to me that we will be better placed to assess (not judge) Cardinal Oullet when we see appointments being made here in the UK or other similarly liberal nations.

  9. Anonymous1:25 PM

    German fruits seem to be rottening this week. How long, O Lord?

  10. Gideon Ertner1:29 PM

    "similar methods subsist in many nations and dioceses, but the Pope can always reject the choice of other authorities involved in the process and ask for a new selection."

    But, as Tom said, it may well be that Mgr. Gmür was simply the least bad option available. This is by no means unlikely. I was in Basel a couple of months ago and went to Mass in what seemed the most 'conservative' parish in town. Awful.

  11. Anonymous1:53 PM

    The worst part of losing one's faith is that you don't realize you've lost it. Hubristic apostasy is a terrible punishment...and far too many of the shepherds seem content to be shining examples of this.

  12. Anonymous3:05 PM

    brick by brick...

  13. Anonymous4:33 PM

    This is a terrible appointment!!!

  14. Anonymous4:36 PM

    To show what the Holy Father thinks Archbishop Haas of Vaduz, Liechenstein (forced out of Chur, Switzerland) should have been given the red hat!

  15. Anonymous5:58 PM

    "The commentary of Fr John Zuhlsdorf who has spoken of Pope Benedict's "Marshall Plan" for the rebuilding of the Church has turned out to be largely the product of wishful thinking on his and our parts."

    Fr Z's conservative blog operates in the same manner as any conservative outlet.

    They are determined to portray the Pope as a staunch Traditionalist.

    They will insist that the Pope believes "X".

    But when the Pope gives them "Y", they find ways to cover their tracks.

    A small but telling example:

    On December 21, 2005, the following in regard to the Pope having worn the camauro was posted by Fr Z:

    Now, move forward to December 23, 2010.

    Note the manner in which Fr Z attempted to make fun of the camauro incident.

    The Pope revealed in Seewald's new book that he (the Pope) had worn the camauro simply to combat cold weather.

    His Holiness stated that he hasn't done so since "in order to forestall over-interpretation."

    By the way, note that on Fr Z's December 23, 2010 blog, one honest poster said the following:

    "I love it! Everyone was debating the “deeper meaning” of wearing the camauro, and the Holy Father just thought it practical."

    Conservatives concocted the "deeper meaning" five years ago to pretend that the Pope was determined to send "rolling-back-the-clock" traditional signals to the Church and world.

    But once again, their "brick-by-brick...the-Pope-has-a-Marshall-Plan" fantasy has gone by the wayside.

    Their latest cover-up game involves the Pope's unfortunate condom-related comments.

    Conservatives have posted to the Web convoluted explanations and "clarifications" to attempt to justify the Pope's remarks.

    The conservative's cover-up shill games never end.

  16. M. A.7:39 PM

    "Conservatives have posted to the Web convoluted explanations and "clarifications" to attempt to justify the Pope's remarks."

    Just the other day, some so-called main-stream priest around here was defending the exegesis of Raymond Brown by mentioning an 'endorsement' of sorts by Pope Benedict. These days anybody and everybody can cite a post-conciliar pope to prop up their favorite ideology. I find this especially amusing in light of the most recent papal blunder. When it suits their purposes, they quote the pope. When it embarrasses them, they explain it away.

    Either way, one can't lose when he is a 'papolator'!

  17. Anonymous9:24 PM

    The new Bishop of Bruges and now this new Bishop of Basel. So Catholics in these diocese have to accept their Bishops are wolves and ignore them or I fear lapse which is so easy to do with a bad and heresy spreading bishop.
    Is this how the Church should function???

  18. Thank you, "anonymous", for your trenchant and spot-on description of the mental gymnastics performed by the conservative Catholics to try to tell us that the Pope really didn't say what he obviously DID say.

    Being a Catholic who is appalled by the decomposition of the Church these well nigh on fifty years + I do sympathize with my fellow "traditonalists" but at the same time I refuse to abandon my reason.

    We have a weak, cowardly man, more concerned about the media than the Church, occupying Peter's chair. That doesn't mean I don't respect him; that doesn't mean that I wont pray for him; that doesn't mean I don't think he is a true Pope; it means that I recognize him as a fellow human being subject to making serious if not catastrophic mistakes, just like, alas, I have done in the past. And the conservatives have to simply begin to understand that, and to stop confusing infallibility with impeccability.

    Again, bravo "anonymous."

  19. Anonymous11:19 PM

    "We need to stop intellectualizing the very dangerous situation confronting us Roman Catholics and ask ourselves who or what is running things in the Vatican."

    I agree with this post.
    I also read of a group of Catholics in a Latin American country ( I won't name which), which has taken it into their own hands to save the Church, even if in a small way.

    They have purchased over 4 thousand acres of land (enough for a small city!), and indeed plan to build a totally Catholic city, in architecture to be built as a duplicate of a neighborhood of Rome . They have their own priests (over 70), seminarians (40), friars and monks (200+) from several countries including some from the USA and even former monks from Europe who have decided to settle in this new city, and over 300 nuns and female volunteers who are striving to re-establish traditional branches of religious Orders of nuns. They plan to build an exact copy of a Roman neighborhood, with a full scale copy of St. John Lateran Basilica.
    They even have decided to settle along a river, and call their stretch of it, the new Tiber!!

    What some people might not like (but which will probably appeal to more and more people considering these worthless liberal Bishop appointments, and the news of the Pope and condoms story, is that this group also has it's own tiny Curia, it's own bishops (6), and will choose one of them to be their own Pope.
    These are not members of a cult, or liturgical lunatics or schismatics. They say that they are doing this only because Rome of Vatican II and the Pope have betrayed the Mass and the Faith, and that they will gladly rejoin the Church, and not consider one of their members as "the Pope", if the Roman Catholic Church returns to tradition. Not likely in our lifetime!!

    But, considering the appointment of this horrible liberal in Switzerland (wait for a scandal regarding him to come out in a year or two)....I say more power to these good people who are trying to save the Church.
    God bless them, and the SSPX and all other like minded groups.

    After Pope Benny's semi-acceptance of condoms in some circumstances...I would stand with these Catholics, or the SSPX rather than with Pope benedict.

  20. Gideon Ertner12:01 AM

    "So Catholics in these diocese have to accept their Bishops are wolves and ignore them or I fear lapse which is so easy to do with a bad and heresy spreading bishop.
    Is this how the Church should function???"

    Well, that's how it has functioned for very nearly 2,000 years. There have always been Bishops spreading heresy or dining in palaces while their flock starved spiritually.

    However, I believe I have heard of cases in the past where the laity would have enough; they would simply depose the rotten Bishop and throw him in a dungeon, and then either elect a new one themselves or petition Rome for one.

    Anyone fancy meeting up for a demonstration in Bruges sometime soon?

  21. Louis E.1:36 AM

    The Swiss Confederation seems to have contrived to exempt itself from the basic structure of the Roman Church.All sees,besides having bishops nominated locally by locals,are directly subject to the Holy See with no archbishops/provinces/metropolitans allowed anywhere in the country.Liechtenstein was part of a Swiss diocese until separated for Archbishop Haas.

    Would it be impossible for it to be declared "partibus infidelium" and all sees left vacant until the political situation changed...much like mainland China?

  22. J. G. Ratkaj10:57 AM

    The few orthodox believers left in Switzerland are once more left out in the rain by the roman bureaucracy, which is more interested in irenic calm and harmony with error than supporting the remaining holding out sheeps. FSSPX, traditional Anglicans and others schould think twice if an arrangement with conciliar Rome is indeed a worthwhile effort.

  23. Anonymous11:41 AM

    My advice to the SSPX after the Pope's allowance (or semi-allowance) for condoms is.....break off the talks with Rome, go your own way. Uphold the Catholic Faith and the True Mass.

    You hold the deposit of the Faith. You have true priests and bishops. You have the True Mass and the Church.

    Let the Vatican II Church, the condom Pope, and these liberal lunatic bishops slide into the garbage can of history alone.

  24. Brian1:52 PM

    "It is not the message of the line of Rome, but [the message of] the line of the Bible that we have to proclaim."

    Sola scriptura . . . haven't we heard this before?

  25. Ratkaj & Anonymous Said

    Rome has all but apostasised the faith. This papacy is a disgrace to The Roman Catholic Church and the SP was always a trap set to catch a traditional mackerel into the pincers of the ptotestantised NO & its eventual hybridisation. The radical ecumenical and interreligious collegiality of the establishment illustrates an instituton which is rotten at the core.

  26. Anonymous6:00 PM

    TO Anon 23:19 who wrote:

    " this group also has it's own tiny Curia, it's own bishops (6), and will choose one of them to be their own Pope.
    These are not members of a cult, or liturgical lunatics or schismatics. "

    If they are declaring an anti-Pope they are certainly schismatic, no question about it.

    To declare an anti-Pope and follow him, pretending that he is infallible on ex cathedra declarations, is absolute lunacy, and certainly NOT Catholic.

    I can certainly understand the desire to set up a place that is Catholic and protected from outside influences, although this too can tend towards the heresy of Montanism. It has been done before even in the early Church, and invariably created arrogant self-puffed churchy elites who were anathemized for it in the end. For example, will this little lunatic anti-papal community consider that they alone are "truly" Catholic? The temptation will certainly be fostered.

    Yes, the scandal of recent days is hard to bear. Electing our own (anti) Pope is just a different way of following the blind into the pit.

    The other advice of recommending the SSPX cool off its discussions with Rome are well intentioned and may be necessary whether one likes it or not so as to clear the air and allow a sane discussion to continue to take place. But then again, cooling off these talks may be just what "Father" Lombardi and the rest of his Vatican troubadores really want from all this hubris.

    Our Lady of Fatima gave us the proper approach:

    1. Obey the commandments.
    2. Pray, pray much for the Holy Father.
    3. Pray the following: "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls into heaven, especially those most in need."
    4. Finally, offer many sacrifices - starting with the spiritual anguish of watching our aging Pontiff and so many wolves in his Vatican make a mockery of himself on the world stage - for the conversion of Russia, the restoration and triumph of Holy Church, and a great increase in traditional vocations to the priesthood.

    Catholics have had to endure Popes who were murderers and fornicators and some who lived in sin with women and bore children while they were Popes. I'm sure this tormented saintly Catholics, who then had to suffer the deformation, by protestors who had been scandalized by their clergy.

    But becoming antipapal lunatic Montanists was not the saintly approach then, and neither does it become justified now.

    Sincerely, Neophyte

  27. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Regarding Neophyte's comment

    "25 November, 2010 18:00"

    Well said, I agree, this lunatic idea of setting up communities with people electing their own pope etc, doesn't go well with me.

    For my part I am not leaving Rome but I am afraid Rome has left us.

    Malachi Martin said that "most Roman Catholics are in denial of the evils besetting the organization of the Roman Catholic Church." Father Martin goes on say that the Catholic Church as an organization is in Apostasy.

    Bravo Father Martin you said it in 1997 and you are absolutly right.

  28. Ah yes! There is the postmodernist primacy of conscience once again. Anyone who can maintain this is not subversion writ large fails to understand liberalism at its worst. The hypothesis is akin to freedom to do as you wish. It is within this framework (or lack of it) that the NO liturgy becomes the instrument of infection that it is. The papal predecessor claimed conscience could call one to leave the Catholic faith if necessary - the NO version one can only hope he meant. The Vatican is being run by the hermeneutic of continuity contrived by the Councils visualised by the current pope. Indeed, he believes in the primacy of conscience too and in freedom of religion according to conscience. This is where the enemy is.

  29. What about Genesis 38 and Romans 1:25? I guess the message of the bible is not so important there.


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