Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Why the German Catholic Church presses for Pastoral / Doctrinal Progressivism

February 2nd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following article, by the highly respected journalist Edward Pentin, my pprovides much clarity on why the German Catholic Church has been leading the charge to revise doctrine at the Synod under the guise of pastoral reform.

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10 Responses to “Why the German Catholic Church presses for Pastoral / Doctrinal Progressivism”

  1. avatar Sid says:

    One absolutely fundamental thing is rather glossed over in this article. In Germany, the churches are funded via the state, which withholds € from employees’ paychecks. So, the first day you start a new job, they ask you which church you belong to. If you answer “Katholisch” for example, you have extra money (a fair amount… and additional 8-9% depending on what state you live in) withheld from your paycheck if you claim church membership and given to the government which then disperses to the selected church at (I think) the national (perhaps state… would need to check… either way, up high, not the parish) level. If in contrast you check the “not a church member” box, you get to keep those Euros.

    It’s a terrible system, because the money is no longer at the discretion of parishioners to dispense to parishes based on merit and how well a particular parish serves their needs. There is no performance incentive for individual parishes. Additionally, while such “church taxes” are common in Europe, Germany’s is the highest.

    The recent changes the article talks about close a capital gains “loophole” which will make it even more expensive to be a church member. Horrible, horrible system.

  2. avatar christian says:

    I’m with you Sid -it’s a horrible, horrible system. This system encourages lack of accountability and responsibility on the part of the Church and it’s clergy to the people it is supposed to be serving. And the state appears to be replacing the Vatican with regard to policy-making, and garnering allegiance and adherence to those policies. After all, the state is responsible for the Church and clergy’s financial stability and security.

    You can understand why so many people do not want to sign up for a particular church to have a percentage of their paycheck automatically taken out and given to that church, especially if they feel Church officials are not wholeheartedly carrying out the mission of the church such as ministering to the poor, but rather, indulging more in their own wants. You can understand how one who has had a percentage taken out of their own pay to support the Church and clergy, could not help but become livid when they see their money being squandered on excessive spending of clergy in regard to luxuries, rather than their money being used on church-related activities to serve the people – especially if that one is struggling to meet the financial needs of their own family.

    So I wonder if more people are declining to identify themselves as a member of a Church, does that mean more of a percentage will be taken out of the paychecks of those who do identify themselves as a member of a Church?

    Depending on what type of employment you have and how many people you have to support, along with any additional family expenses, a 8-10% chunk of a paycheck of someone who makes minimum wage or close to it, supporting a family of 4 or more, is quite debilitating. So if you can’t afford to identify yourself as a member of a Church, does that mean you can’t attend that church, or receive any sacraments at that church?

    What happens to those who are dying, who hadn’t identified themselves as being a member of a Church? Are they able to receive last rites/anointing of the sick? Are they able to get a mass of Christian burial or a church service in a church after they die? Or are they condemned to no Church and clergy involvement -an Ex-Communication of sorts, because they did not contribute financially to the Church on an going basis, or they could not contribute to the Church on an ongoing basis?

    This system alienates people from the Church and also insulates clergy from inquiry into their ministry and spending habits. This system fails to hold clergy to a higher standard, responsibility, and accountability. Meanwhile, more people are going without spiritual care.

  3. avatar Sid says:

    christian — Yes I’m in full agreement. I don’t know the answers to most of your questions, but they are good salient ones. One point of clarification: the church tax figure they pay is an extra tax that amounts to 8-9% over their basic income tax; it’s a big number, but not as big if it had been 8-9% of their gross income. So, in the case of a guy earning 100,000 € per year and paying 40,000 € (40%) in income taxes, he’d pay about another 3,600 € (9% of 40,000) in church tax (right out of his paycheck), NOT 9,000 € (9% of 100,000).

    In any event, I think a lot of Germans’ dissatisfaction is rooted fiscal excesses and abuse rather than a doctrinal basis, although that factors in as well. Here’s an example of *why* many Germans are abandoning church membership. This was a huge scandal in the German press last year.

    The more levels of combined government and church money-handling bureaucracy between the parishioner and the parish, the easier it is for things like this to happen. There is a reason why it makes sense that Church and state to be separate… I think it’s better for both.

  4. avatar christian says:

    Sid-I read that article about Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst and it is preposterous and deplorable in regard to his excessive wants and expenditures. Latin – Luxuria which means Extravagance, a form of gluttony involving wealth of things in excess and inappropriate desire, and the withholding of that wealth from the needy. Extravagance is one of the seven deadly sins.

    There are priests right here in our Diocese who live out a commitment to the vow of poverty even though they don’t belong to a religious order. They live simple, humble lives and are extremely modest in their expenditures. It is great credit to them and a blessing to the people they serve.

  5. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Here is another excellent article by Edward Pentin, showing he still has his fingers on the pulse of pre-Synod events:

  6. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Watch “Miked up” last week on Church Militant TV. There are interesting parallels between the German bishops and the American bishops.

    The German bishops want communion for the divorced and remarried because there are falling numbers of Catholics in Germany. It seems that if you register as catholic, you pay a tax and the monies are given to the Catholic Church. Now people are opting out and the coffers of the Catholic Church in Germany are falling. So the bishops think giving communion to this group will somehow compel them to register as Catholic, thus filling the coffers.

    In America, Catholic bishops are hesitant to preach Catholic doctrine because they are afraid of losing hundreds of millions of dollars given to them by the Federal government. They don’t want to “rock the boat”. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  7. avatar raymondfrice says:

    Where the German monies are going and why people may not register as Catholics!!

  8. avatar raymondfrice says:

    A report came out in the last few days that the Diocese of Cologne , Germany, is wealthier than the Vatican. Go figure!!

  9. avatar Sid says:

    Hilaire Belloc, the great Catholic author, poet, and wit once dryly provided some commentary I think fits well here:
    “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

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