Rorate Caeli

Open thread - Der Papst in Deutschland

Dear friends - at the end of a personal recess, it can be seen that the visit of our dear Holy Father to his homeland has been fruitful. Well, fruitful in the number of news items it has inspired. How about an open thread about all that has taken place in Germany in the past few days?

Will we see part drei of the Altar-Frauen saga tomorrow in Freiburg im Breisgau (the image above is taken from a paraliturgical ceremony that took place today in Freiburg)? Does that really mean, as we have often implied here, that there really is no such thing as a "reform of the reform" that is not set in law - and that, anyway, the only true "reform of the reform" has a name and a surname, Summorum Pontificum? Does the Kirchensteuer really allow the German Bishops to do anything they want - and is this German "Church tax" really a bad thing, even though based on very (small t) traditional practices, since it makes the local episcopate afraid of hurting the "sensibilities" of non-practicing Catholics who finance most of the needs of the Church? Please, feel free to discuss anything related to the Papal visit or to the Church in Germany.


  1. It's been disappointing hasn't it? But then, it's not quite as simple as 'Isn't Dignitatis Humanae great', is it? There is more to it than that, it's about secularism really. I think we can argue about whether or not this is a good approach though.

  2. I am thoroughly confused:

    From "Detroit News":

    Pope praises Martin Luther in landmark visit

    Melissa Eddy and Victor L. Simpson/ Associated Press

    Erfurt, Germany— Pope Benedict XVI made a landmark visit Friday to the monastery where Martin Luther studied before splitting from the Catholic Church centuries ago and launching the Protestant Reformation.

    In a sign of how far relations have improved between the two churches in recent decades, the pope praised Luther for his "deep passion and driving force" in his beliefs. He didn't announce any concrete steps to achieve greater unity among Christians, as some had hoped.

  3. Anonymous12:55 AM

    The Mass at the Domplatz in Erfurt was lovely, as were the Marian vespers in the Eichsfeld.

  4. Anonymous1:07 AM

    I just want to comment on the 'Church tax.' The Church should not accept federal funds anywhere and under no circumstances. If Catholics want (their own) schools, hospitals, colleges, etc...we should finance them and make it work within the means of each parish, diocese, community and so forth.

    I know...not an easy thing but we should be willing to make sacrifices.

  5. No good will come of it.

  6. Anonymous3:39 AM

    I was of the opinion that an advance team led by Msgr. Marini oversaw all the liturgical matters that a papal visit entails. If so, then the team and Marini should be fired for the silliness of this last German visit. "Altar ladies' along with "altar girls" were omnipresent and that saxophone offertory made me turn off the mass. For all his charm the Supreme Pontiff has proved to be a great disappointment in what he needlessly tolerates. Like Obama, Pope Benedict must now own responsibility for the monumental mess.

  7. Lee Terry Lovelock-Jemmott8:06 AM

    Anonymous @1:07, I totally agree. Any state that is the creation of a paganistic cum statolotrous cum protestant ideal (such was Germany)should not have none literally none of its money defiling the church. I'm sorry to say but though the Germanic world (this is germanic speakers in general) has given us some venerable footsoldiers of The Lord, their souls seem to lie in the majority more with statist ideas and 'volkish' ideas. I pray for when germanic speaking people finally realise their error in all sorts of heresy and come back to The Good Shepherd and humble themselves completely. As for Germany, something needs to be done about it even if it means shrinking the church to a few and starting again with a thorough clean out.

  8. Gratias9:03 AM

    Benedict XVI is the best friend we Catholic Traditionalists have in th present. He gave a very profound address to all world politicians at the Bundestag or Parliament. Go back and read it in detail. One man trying to re-catechize Europe through the use of reason. We have a great theologian at the helm so think before you rise in opposition to your friend and leader.

    In Germany and Switzerland the state will collect additional taxes on those that are Catholic, Reformiert or Jewish. If you sign up as no confession (keine Konfession) you will not be taxed for religious support. So the various religions are well funded. This is not altogether bad as funding is assured and free will is involved.

    We are flooded with women Eucharistic ministers and altar servers here. In my Novus Ordo parish we even have tambourines at 5:30 Sunday Mass. At all masses the faithful form a chain on hand-holding for the Paternoster. If the Pope came here the procedures would not change because th Bishops have authority to regulate these matters since V2. At least the Pope set the example of Communion on your knees and tongue, except for one militant that kneeled and extended his hands with a closed
    mouth. Benedict gave him the Host in hand, but he could hardly have pulled him up by force.

    Maybe next time I go to Novus Ordo I will kneel in front of my liberal priest and extend my tongue. Last time I heard of such a challenge it was several years ago when someone knelt in front on Bishop Brown of Orange County, California. Bishop Brown disgraced himself by pulling this man on his feet. In Benedict opens the choice for all Catholics to opt out of communion in the hand while standing this would be a great achievement, don't ya think?

  9. Anonymous9:54 AM

    I've watched the final minutes of today's Mass (started watching at communion) and it seemed like a disaster.

    - Altar-girls;
    - All in german, including the final blessing, which is ALWAYS in latin ("Sit nomem...");
    - The Pope started singing the Te Deum in latin, there were 2 seconds of silence, and then the choir starts singing it in german.

    Liturgical n'importe quoi...

  10. One should not be so strict with Msgr. Marini. Surely he was not in full control. Th German Bishop esp. Zolllitsch will have had a big influence on the liturgy.

  11. Oliver11:34 AM

    All things to all people is the conciliar creed. You can keep your antiquity so long as it knows its place but the majority must rule. So ends the gospel of JR.

  12. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Praising the heretic Luther, multiple girls in the sanctuary, and people wonder why the SSPX isn't falling all over themselves to sign this preamble?

    I want unity as much as the next guy. But I'd never pray that St. Athanasius accept the Arian Heresy just for the sake of unity and "obedience."

  13. J.G. Ratkaj12:01 PM

    The circumstances of this apostolic visit showed brilliantly the character of the antiroman german church as "state church". The speeches to His Holiness by the federal president and the speaker of the parliament were impertinent interventions in ecclesiastical affairs (divorce, "ecumenism"). Pope Benedict XVI acted prudently given the de facto dechristianized state of germany, where even principalities of faith are ignored by hierarchy and other local church apparatchiks.

  14. Anonymous12:07 PM

    "Does that really mean, as we have often implied here, that there really is no such thing as a "reform of the reform" that is not set in law - and that, anyway, the only true "reform of the reform" has a name and a surname, Summorum Pontificum"

    Yes. It has been a waste of time for any/all Catholic blogsites, webs, and even Cable TV stations) EWTN in particular) to speak of a so called "reform of the reform".

    I think the term was originally coined by Fr. Joseph Fessio SJ, no friend of Catholic tradition, and other "neo-con" Catholics who were appalled by the liturgical disaster of the Novus Ordo , but were strongly disinclined to admit that the entire liturgical reform has been a failure, and there is a need to return to Catholic tradition and the Tridentine Latin Mass as exemplified by Summorum Pontificum and many growing initiatives and manifestations of a return to Catholic tradition since then.

    It is a complete violation of valid judgement to believe that the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI can be "reformed" into something closly resembling the former Catholic Mass of all time, the Tridentine Latin Mass, or that it is possible to make the Novus Ordo more acceptable by celebrating it reverently, by the book and without liturgical dissenting elaboration/experimentation.
    It's like trying to make a lump of clay into a flawless diamond. You might try for a million years, but it ain't gonna happen.

    Those who were trusting enough to believe so are/were seriously misguided, and it's been proven that a reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo produces few positive results for all the effort...whereas a celebration either of a Low Mass, or a classic Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine Rite triggers an enormous outburst of energy, faith, dynamism and enthusiasm.

    The handful of religious Orders both here in the USA and in Europe which are either bi-ritual (reverent Novus Ordo as well as tridentine Latin Mass), or solely Tridentine Latin Mass Orders, are growing rapidly, whereas those that have clung to a "so called" reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo are for the most part stagnant. One esample of that are the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, which after an original outburst of explosive growth and expansion, have fallen back alittle vocations wise, and are now just creeping along with a handful of vocations a year....whereas the SSPX, the FSSP, and the ICRSP communities (Tridentine Mass all), have no room to house their candidates they are growing so quickly. The SSPX is even building a 2nd USA seminary, and has, with 88 seminarians in Minnesota, more seminarians that 99% of all USA diosecean or religious Order seminaries.
    That say's something to sit up and notice.

    Yes, the idea of a "reform of the reform" is and has been a ridiculous exercise in futility. The true reform for the Roman Catholic Church is only with a return to the Tridentine Latin Mass.

  15. Anonymous12:41 PM

    With Zollitsch and Lehman at the helm in Germany what do you expect? The "feminine presence" on the altar and in the sanctuary just won't go away. The very least His Holiness could do in the face of such diabolical disobedience to rubrics is to stop smiling like everything is OK.


  16. Anonymous 9:54:
    I have not seen the pope's masses, as I don't like watching masses on TV at all, but the German Te Deum is a peculiar German custom that predates VII. "Großer Gott wir loben dich" (if that is what they sung), a quite accurate rendition of the te deum is possibly the most well known Church song, and almost every German knows it. Singing it in place of the Te deum is done in FSSP (and I assume SSPX) Churches, it is done by the German pilgrims when arriving in Chartres, etc.

    This is not a defense of the papal liturgies, just a small info about German peculiarities.

  17. Anonymous1:09 PM

    "...whereas the SSPX, the FSSP, and the ICRSP communities (Tridentine Mass all), have no room to house their candidates...."

    Not entirely the FSSP ordained on 7 this year when they previously did 12-15.

  18. Praising the heretic Luther,

    Sorry, I missed the part where he praised the heretic Luther.

  19. Jordanes,

    From "Detroit News":

    Pope praises Martin Luther in landmark visit

    Melissa Eddy and Victor L. Simpson/ Associated Press

    Erfurt, Germany— Pope Benedict XVI made a landmark visit Friday to the monastery where Martin Luther studied before splitting from the Catholic Church centuries ago and launching the Protestant Reformation.

    In a sign of how far relations have improved between the two churches in recent decades, the pope praised Luther for his "deep passion and driving force" in his beliefs. He didn't announce any concrete steps to achieve greater unity among Christians, as some had hoped.

  20. Adfero: Heresy? What's that? This word was dropped from Catholic speak about 40-50 years ago.

    Catholics should have a horror of heresy!

  21. Anonymous2:47 PM

    Anonymous 12:07,

    Making preposterous and false claims does nothing to help Tradition. Many Novus Ordo seminaries are full and others are witnessing growth. The success of a seminary is tied more to its orthodoxy than it is to which form of the liturgy is found within its walls.

  22. Luther held many opinions and ideas that almost no Lutherans hold today.

    Luther's stand on Birth Control, for example, is something that should create enough cognitive dissonance for most people to realize that, even if they don't stop going to church on Sunday, the modern expression of their religion is ridiculous. At best, it's a hobby and a cultural event.

  23. Oh, and +Zollitsch is terrible. He organized an event promoting homosexuality before one of the Papal Liturgies.

    Church tax will become a thing of the past as will what the Holy Father describes as the 'structural overhangs' will go with it.

    Does anyone here think that government subsidized modernist structures will survive the abandonment of the Church tax?

    Like government subsidy everywhere else, mediocrity and other vices creep in. One of the above posters described the Liturgical Abuses at his NO in the same breath he talked about Church Tax. They go hand-in-hand.

  24. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Altar girls and women. Saxophone. Other nonsense. Perhaps such is the price the pope must pay for moves toward tradition. Quid pro quo.

  25. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Read the addresses given at Erfurt again. They are hardly very rich in praise for Luther; but what the Pope seems (to me) to be saying is: your founder would be turning in his grave at what you have become. He points out that Luther was preoccupied with understanding human sin vis-à-vis the holiness of God, with the presence and action of grace, with judgement, with understanding Sacred Scripture in the light of Christ and the Christian revelation, with promoting "Christ above all". But, of course, his successors (inevitably, for the seeds of this are within the reformer's own way of thinking) have virtually abandoned all this in favour of a "sinless" and "Christless" form of (if it can be called) Christianity. In this sense then, he praises Luther: that he was still nearer to the "font" of truth than they are now. There is no denying it: if we were to set any of the reformers before their modern-day disciples, they would not know them, even though they are truly the origin of the abominations which have been produced.

  26. Gratias5:11 PM

    The local bishops have imposed decades of altar girls. Here in the US we presented the Holy Father with dancing Indians. New masses in Rome are much more reverent.

    Think of the alternative. A Papal resignation? We truly need Benedict; if you want to understand why read his address to the Bundestag.

    All this opposition from the Traditionalist side would dissipate if Benedict celebrated the TLM in St. Peter's. But Benedict has given us Summorum Pontificum and UE, the tools for us to grow the forma extraordinaria. The antidote to Liberal Bishops is that each one of us attends TLM as often as possible. Never mind how far bishops force you to drive. The restoration of the Church will have to come from the bottom up.


    For those here who missed the pope's praise of Luther. On the same count his predecessor lauded his righteousness. Undeniable & a documented fact.

  28. LeonG, that is a news report that CLAIMS the Pope praised Luther, but quotes not even a handful of the Pope's words. Secular journalism rarely reports these kinds of things accurately. When and where did the Pope praise Luther, using what words? Provide complete quotes, in context.

  29. "The antidote to Liberal Bishops is that each one of us attends TLM as often as possible. Never mind how far bishops force you to drive."
    ...or if it is at an SSPX chapel.

  30. Ah, of course right here at Rorate Caeli we have the complete text of the Pope's address in which he allegedly heaped praise on the heretic Luther:

    Doesn't sound like he's praising Luther at all. Anyone familiar with the Associated Press should not be surprised that their reporting on the Pope's address has only a tenuous relation to the actual words and intent of the address. Frankly unless the Pope is meeting with victims of pervert priests, the AP doesn't really have much interest in things the Pope says and does.

  31. The following is definitely a praise for Luther from The Holy Father, in a direct quote of what Rorate give us as words of the Pope Benedict XVI:

    "Luther’s thinking, his whole spirituality, was thoroughly Christocentric: "What promotes Christ’s cause" was for Luther the decisive hermeneutical criterion for the exegesis of sacred Scripture"

    This is indeed praise of Martin Luther, if indeed Luther was "Christocentric" in his spirituality.
    Is it "Christocentric" to discard the Body of Christ and and His Vicar on earth?
    When the Sacred Scripture speaks of Peters establishment as the head of the Church on earth was Luther using the correct hermenuetical criterion for exegesis of the Truth?
    This sounds like praise to me.
    Even if Luther was not, the passage sure sounds like praise of him to me, and probably to all Lutherans that heard these words.

  32. No, it's not praise. It's a description.

    Whether or not it's an accurate description is another thing. But it's not praise.

  33. This is but one mere reference among many. It sounds like praise to almost everyone: except you, of course.

  34. Yes, I'm sure I'm the only person in the universe who doesn't think the Pope praised Luther.

    Who cares what it sounds like? What counts is what it is, and it's not "praise." Mentioning good things about a person isn't necessarily praising that person.

    Of course there is much about Luther that is bad and cannot be praised, but it's not too difficult to discern why the Pope did not on this occasion focus on those things. Rather than grousing like a sourpussed traditionalist about the Pope allegedly (so the infallible AP claims) praising a heretic, you'll find more profit in paying attention to what the Pope said and seeing what his point was and whether he drove his point home successfully.

  35. "The restoration of the Church will have to come from the bottom up."
    I don't think so. God has established a hierarchical monarchy. Graces always flow from the top down. When the restoration comes, it will have to start from the very top.

  36. OK, My aforementined quote might not be an example of Pope Benedict XVI attempting to praise Luther in any way, but I would bet the house that many, many Lutherans that heard this speech, thought the HF was praising Martin Luther, and that is where the damage of scandal really lies.

  37. "almost everyone"

    Liberal modernists are astute at giving praise even where it is not due.

    To date everyone I have spoken with about this issue has interpreted his comments a laudatory to a certain degree. I most certainly agree.

  38. In the quest for liberal modernist ecumenism and its obsessive designs all enemies of Roman Catholicism can be reconciled with its elastic philosophies. The inherent laudatory and admirative prose are manipulated in such a manner as to cast adverse light upon the rightful actions of popes who excommunicated and condemned the perpoetrators of the Protestant Deformation of Europe. The post-conciliar papacies are shameless in such attempts. The words they have spoken in public are a testimonial against them. How can they be approved by Christ's One True Church? These were the "scatterers" to whom He referred; the sowers of dissension throughout Christendom that reverberates even more so today; the enemies of The Church - His Church. Who dare rehabilitate such appalling rebellion and its agents provocateurs. Luther stands condemned for all time throughout eternity.

  39. I hope I may be allowed to get away with what follows, as that thread (with the German bishops cold-shouldering Papa Ratzunger) is closed :

    I sincerely believe that to treat our Pope like this is a monstrous scandal, those responsible are despicable.

    Perhaps he OUGHT to resign, rather than be obliged to suffer such downright indignities, nay, insults.

    Look, I am not his greatest fan, No, but I feel desperately sorry for him, come on, this is our POPE ! How dare they ?

    Thank you."


  40. The point about the danger of scandal is valid. Still, it's unreasonable to expect the Pope to accept a Lutheran invitation to meet with them and give an address and expect reiteration of all the many ways Luther fell into error, or a fulmination or denunciation of Luther and Lutheranism. The only approach he's ever going to take (especially in that context) is to use honey, not vinegar. At this late stage, any Lutheran leader or representative who doesn't already know the Church's position on Luther's errors really shouldn't be involved in ecumenical dialogue at all.


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