The danger of a division in the Roman Catholic Church — of a schism — is being “mentioned” increasingly in press reports on the eve of October 4-25 Bishops’ Synod on Marriage and the Family in Rome.
Now, an article in German which calls on the Catholic Church to make the Church’s teaching more open to and accepting of homosexuality, has sparked sharp controversy, especially because the article has been picked up by LifeSiteNews, which headlines: “Germany’s bishops just published an apologia for gay ‘marriage’ — this crosses a whole new line.” (Full text of the article below.)
The headline is misleading.
The article is not by the German bishops. Rather, it is by a 22-year-old German theology student named Simon Linder who is studying Catholic theology and rhetoric at Tubingen.
So the article is just Linder’s opinion, not the opinion of any German bishop, or of many or all of the German bishops.
However, the headline is accurate to this extent: the article has been posted on the official website of the German bishops, Katholisch.de.
Yes, the website presents the article as one contribution in a continuing debate on the issues the Synod on the Family must address.
But there is no doubt that the author, writing on the bishops’ website, is decidedly in favor of greater acceptance of homosexual relationships.
The author says this is in keeping with changes in the wider society in the past 25 years, and that the Church needs to change to keep up with society.
And he argues that there is, in fact, already a division in the Church — a de facto schism — on the question of homosexuality.
“On the eve of the bishops’ synod, many are warning of a split in the Church,” Linder writes. “What people with worried expressions usually don’t see is this: the split in the Catholic Church is already real. The Church’s frequently invoked unity has long been an illusion. The majority of German Catholics, men and women alike, no longer hold to rules that the Magisterium dictates.”
Certainly the opinions expressed by Linder, and published by the German bishops on their website, make clear how wide is the chasm between the traditional Catholic view of homosexuality, as taught by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the “new view” of many in Germany.
These German Catholics would like to see homosexual “marriages” blessed in the Church, Linder says, and they do not understand why such a blessing should not be given, he concludes.
And this does mean that there is great confusion in the world on these matters, and that the Synod in October must find a way to speak clearly and without ambiguity on all of these questions, in fidelity to the perennial Magisterium of the Church and to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.
Here is a link to the original German text of the article: link.
And here is a link to the article LifeSiteNews published yesterday: link. And below is a copy of the text of the LifeSiteNews article…
Thu Sep 17, 2015 – 4:15 pm EST
Germany’s bishops just published an apologia for gay ‘marriage’ – this crosses a whole new line
By Maike Hickson
September 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The German bishops continue their march towards schism. Today, on their own website, they published an apologia for homosexual “marriage,” crossing a whole new line in their battle to reform the Church’s basic moral teachings.
In an essay titled “Love Counts” on Katholisch.de, theology student Simon Linder argues that since the “societal climate” in Germany has changed, one does not have to justify oneself anymore when defending the idea of “marriage for all.”
Rather, says Linder, those opposed to homosexual “marriages” have to defend themselves.
And he asks: “Where does the Church have the idea… that homosexuality is a burden for male and female homosexuals? And more fundamentally: Who gives the Church the right to declare homosexuals as people who are to be pitied?”
In his six-page long essay, Linder criticizes German Bishop Stefan Oster, who oversees the diocese of Passau, for defending the traditional moral teaching of the Church on sexuality, claiming that to say it is a scandal to ask to bless homosexual couples “is a scandal” itself.
With reference to Ireland, Linder insists that people are now demanding “more rights for the male and female homosexuals.”
He also refutes the argument that homosexual unions are to be opposed because they cannot be fertile and have children.
Linder says: “It is a fact: In earlier times, having children was necessary for being cared for in old age. Today, there is a social system in Germany for retired people who do not have children of their own. Partnership and marriage, therefore, do not need any more to be defined by having children. That is good and important for those who – for whatever reason – are not able to have children. That means: Love counts. Could it be a little less cramped?”
Linder proposes a local solution to the question of homosexuality, allowing Germany to go its own way. “’Think globally, act locally,’ only this way, we could start to relax,” claims the young man.
He also insists that by “merely” repeating the Church’s teaching and tradition, one cannot reach people anymore.
With reference to the interdiction of homosexuality in Holy Scripture, Linder quotes from the recently published German book edited by Stephan Goertz. According to the quoted passage, the Old Testament only condemned homosexuals – “which were then not yet known [sic]” – because one needed to secure offspring for the survival of the Jewish people.
Linder writes: “The Bible did not condemn love between homosexuals – one did not even yet know those at the time – but the act itself for the sake of the interest of society. Anyone who wants to interpret the Bible, has to know and consider the circumstances under which the texts were written. Anyone who does not do this, does not do justice to Holy Scripture.”
These comments by a young student, as published by the German Bishops’ Conference under the leadership of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, are in opposition to the traditional moral teaching of the Church.
In June 2015, Bishop Athanasius Schneider repeated this continual teaching in an interview with LifeSiteNews, saying: “Practicing homosexuals are persons who, in a grave manner, sin against the will of God the Creator, because, by their acts, they reject the fact of the Divine Order of sexuality. However, the order of sexuality consists now only of two, the male and the female, and this order has been created and declared as being good by God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. If someone revolts consciously in his acts against this order, then he revolts against God’s wisdom and love and finally rejects the Will of God in a very important area.”
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