CATHOLIC HERALD piece on the current state of Catholicism in Germany. Alasdair may have something to say on this: www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/july-17th-2015/rich-powerful-and-distrusting-the-papacy/ EXTRACT he second thing to bear in mind is that Germany’s relationship with Catholicism is, to an important degree, one of deep suspicion.The country’s identity is marked by distrust of the papacy and the Church’s claims to any type of authority, even a moral one. Modern Germany is built on a heritage that is, at best, uneasy with Catholicism.
This sentiment dates back to the days of the “Holy Roman Empire” and was reinforced by the Reformation, the subsequent horrors of the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic invasions, Prussia’s rabid Kulturkampf, the Nazi terror and the Second World War. In fact, Germany as a nation and culture is to a large extent defined by its centuries of tension with Rome.
These tensions range from open conflict to more subtle, but also more common anti-Catholic stereotypes and misrepresentations. They draw on decades of anti-Church propaganda, from the earnest Luther to the savvy Bismarck right down to the incomparably nastier Goebbels.
In its current secular form, anti-Catholic propaganda portrays orthodox Catholics as suspect and requiring state surveillance, since they are “ultraconservative” (ie Right-wing, which is a modern German taboo). They are presented as a potential threat to open society in general and democracy in particular... END OF EXTRACT
Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life and opens everlasting day
In relation to Alaisdir's admonition that we should really be looking more to the Continent, does anybody by any chance know of any balanced Catholic blogs/websites/forums from Spain?
It's a very polarised country but one with a lengthy albeit checkered Catholic history. I happened to be at WYD there in 2011 and it was an incredible experience.
I must say that I'm not a huge fan of certain aspects of this issue of Regina Magazine, which interviews an American living in Spain and a Spanish priest who grew up in the US, (which is admittedly a useful point of cultural contact for those of us in the English-speaking world) as they have a strong tendency to focus on the evils of the Socialists and Muslims and to minimise the awful things done by the Franco regime (Vatican II comes in for more criticism in the interview): reginamag.com/back-issues/ (scroll down to Vol. 13)
Also, apart from the ones mentioned here, any other good English-language blogs about Catholicism on the continent?
Post by Alaisdir Ua Séaghdha on Nov 3, 2015 15:24:51 GMT
Well, if Mark de Vries is covering most of northern Europe singlehanded - it must be possible to get a few people in southern Europe. Especially Italy as there are hundreds of students and journalists in Rome alone.
I wouldn't pay much heed to Regina - it's too starry-eyed about the traditional movement.
An interesting piece, translated from the German, about the decline of the Church in Germany. The author emphasises bureaucratisation, which has been a major feature of the post-Conciliar American and European churches, but he argues that the German church tax finances a much more extensive bureaucracy than elsewhere:
This piece in Crisis magazine basically implies the German Church is suffering from a bad dose of HEgelian immanentism: www.crisismagazine.com/2015/subordinating-the-sacred-to-the-secular EXTRACT A comprehensive trend throughout Western society can hardly leave the Church untouched. Recent statements of the German bishops present the results with special clarity, in line with the German gift for thinking things through in a way based on fundamental principle. As those statements reveal and Archbishop Georg Gänswein recently observed, German churchmen see the Church not as something specially instituted by God and at odds with the world, but as one social institution among many, the main value of which lies in its contribution to the common social project. So the Church too must assimilate to the tendency of things and become fully integrated with the global system of commerce and bureaucracy.
Nor is that situation at odds with prestigious theological understandings of the basic nature of Catholicism. Professor Thomas Stark notes that the thought of Walter Kasper, a representative figure in the German church and now a leading figure in the Church as a whole, makes history “the ultimate framework of all reality.” On such a view the Church can only be the Church of what’s happening now: there are no eternal verities outside that for her to concern herself with.
That view seems shocking when we consider how radical it is, but even outside Germany public statements of the most influential Catholic leaders seem ever more in line with the secular progressive project and ever less inclined to push “culture war” positions. It seems, then, that the Germans are continuing their historical role as intellectual leaders in the modern development of Christianity, as in other aspects of modernity. To all appearances they simply say clearly, justify theoretically, and implement consistently what other responsible officials accept or soon will accept as a practical matter.
Nonetheless, the Gospel doesn’t say the world redeems the Church, but the opposite. Nor does it say the world will end when it evolves to the Omega Point through the logic of history and the policies adopted by responsible officials. It says it’ll end when those things lead to catastrophe. And in any event even the most careful systematic thought can lead us astray. The goodness of what it gives us depends on the truth and completeness of its premises, and Aristotle tells us that a small error at the beginning can lead to big problems very quickly. That perhaps is why, as Clifton Fadiman noted, “the German spirit has the talent to make no mistakes except for the very largest.”
In that regard, as others, the Germans may lead the way but they have many followers. People today want to build a technocratic world, and the Germans simply do it better than the rest, engineering a system that is apparently so functional and well thought out that it offers no flaw through which anyone can escape other than a genius, a madman, or a fool. (In fairness, they have produced as many such people as anyone.)... END OF EXTRACT
Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life and opens everlasting day
Post by Alaisdir Ua Séaghdha on Nov 4, 2015 10:30:28 GMT
I once had a colleague, a native of Athlone, who said to me that Athlone's greatest asset and biggest liability was the River Shannon. Without the Shannon, Athlone wouldn't exist and it draws all manner of tourists - anglers, boaters and sight seers - to Ireland's most central town. Against that, the town is split in terms of administration (ecclesiastical as much as civil) which results in an unnecessary drain of resources. The problem is that Roscommon County Council will not surrender an inch for the town's benefit, so officially, Athlone only exists on the eastern bank of the Shannon.
That's humour, when I say the same thing about the German Kirchensteuer, I am dead serious. And ironically, it could be really beneficial to the German Church. In many ways, it is. Certainly the architectural beauty of the Rococo churches is well maintained. There are many social services the Church carries out which are funded by the tax. Most parishes are in the position to pay organists good money to play in church at weekend and holy day Masses. The Catholic scout movement benefits from the tax.
The problem is very much the story of the weeds among the corn, and lack of willingness of the hierarchy to do anything about it when they probably could. The same position applies in Ireland, where lack of vigilance in priestly and religious formation and catechesis, and the refusal to make calls on the suitability of certain employees, resulted in our present disaster. Whether this is the work of the devil or a supine acceptance of a perceived liberal Vatican in the 60s or 70s or just plain sloth is anyone's guess, but the interaction of presumption and despair are interesting. When the predictions of a radical renewal of religious commitment in Ireland failed to materialise, there was either presumption that it would all work out in the end or despair that things had gone too far. Germany is in the same place for similar reasons with different emphases.
What is a bigger feature of the German Church than anywhere else is not just the size and the power of the bureaucracy, but also the tentacles of this bureaucracy through lay employees in every parish, the pastoral workers. Though many German clergy are educated in Rome or otherwise overseas, these are invariably educated in German institutes. Not every graduate from these are liberal, but conservative dissent (orthodoxy to you and me) seems to be more the area of the clergy. Anyway priests can kick at bureaucracy; lay employees can't (this is why so many powerful interests hate celibacy). The author cites the cases of both Bishop Mixa of Augsburg and Van Elbs in Limburg (the so-called Bishop of Bling). I can't comment much on the latter, though there is much more to the story than meets the eye. With Mgr Mixa, there was hostility to him in Augsburg from his appointment (he had been Bishop of Eichstatt before that and was also German military ordinary). The digging up of scandals preceded, pretty much in the manner that journalists in the US went after Senator Gary Hart, when the unknown Democrat from Colorado sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. This came from the inside and efforts to connect Benedict XVI to sexual abuse scandals in Munich-Freising from his time as Archbishop there were similar. They also tried guilt by association by accusing the Pope's brother, Mgr Georg Ratzinger of slapping pupils while headmaster of the choir school in Regensburg.
So there's a deeply entrenched bureaucratic culture in the German Church, what of it? At the moment, these people realise that the continued exodus from the German Catholic Church (which believe me is more than paralleled in the German Evangelical Church, which was larger until quite recently) threaten their salaries and pension plans. Whether correctly or incorrectly, they attribute this to the Church's norms on marriage and the family (which don't apply by and large among the Evangelical Lutherans who are suffering the same type of haemorrhage). So they think the situation can be fixed by simply changing the rules. Of course they can't. Oh, and there is another matter too which is perhaps more immediate - if you are employed by the Church, you are supposed to keep the Church's norms on marriage and the family. No one can police Humanae Vitae, but it is pretty clear whether you are married in Church or not. Again no one is going to exclude someone divorced but who has not set up home with anyone else (in a way the fault for the breakup in cases other than adultery is irrelevant, and even in cases of adultery, an aduterer/adulteress who gives this up - though their spouse regards it as fatal to the marriage - and lives a single life from then on unless and until such time emerges that they may marry again in Church, this is unproblematic). So, the powerful cadre of Church employees believe that if the marital norms Mother Church teaches are modified, they may stem the leakage from the Church, but they will themselves have more freedom of action.
I have heard anecdotal evidence of a blind eye turned to infringements among those prominent Catholics in parishes outside Church employment which suggests a high degree of sympathy. The power of the bureaucracy can not be understated - I know of conservative German bishops hemmed in by this. On the other hand, the likes of Cardinal Kaspar (one time my bishop - I lived in the Stuttgart diocese when I was a student), Cardinal Lehmann (formerly Bishop of Mainz and President of the German Episcopal Conference) and Archbishop Zollitsch (Freiburg im Breisgau, who succeeded Lehmann as President of the German Episcopal Conference) have greatly muddied the waters and I have heard that the German-Hungarian College in Rome (the Germanicum - distinct from the Teutonic College also in Rome) is seen as an institute for training future German bishops and it has an ethos of entrenched liberalism.
This is practice. But I must state that the reason that the Germans, whether opposed to us or not (there are a great many orthodox Germans too, and I think they do much better relatively than we do here) have one great advantage over the rest of the Church and I don't mean money. That is scholarship. The Germans are leaders in terms of ideas and they expect standards in academic life. If they have imbibed a lot of Hegelianism via the 20th Century theologians (Rahner comes to mind), they have also give a lot to the Neo-Patristic movement, of which Benedict was a great champion. This is a strength and it should be every Church's strength. If time and energy isn't applied to study on the orthodox side, we will just wilt in the face of any heresy we're confronted with.
Alaisdir read my mind on the church tax. Perhaps the Germans have become so dependent on it that they fear that any further defections could seriously endanger the Church's work there. The bureaucracy there have really tied themselves up, possibly more badly than they have here. I also agree with you about the need to imitate the Germans' intellectual tradition: the problem is have we the capabilities to do this. There sadly seems to be very little interest in change within the Irish Church, I find.
Post by Alaisdir Ua Séaghdha on Nov 4, 2015 11:34:50 GMT
On one hand Regina Magazine has a lot going for it - its presentation is the best I've seen in the traditional Catholic world; its focus is strongly international; it's a magazine by women and for women, which manages to avoid trad obscurantism. These are all strong and very important points. And it's about good news stories - and don't underestimate how important these are.
Its weakness is that it has already made up its own mind before it has gone anywhere; it is publicity rather than reportage. If I were writing in German or any Romance language, I would have said "propaganda", which is usually simply a word for advertising - in English it means something darker due historical anti-Catholicism. The problem is that it takes the brightest aspects of the traditional Catholic world and presents them in glowing terms without any analysis, though all have weaknesses; it also presents uncritical views of counties' past. Whether this means glorifying aspects of Irish or Spanish history in a way that wouldn't stand up to anslysis or failing to understand that modern Germany can't be treated as a single historical entity.
The traditional Catholic world is in dire need of a good international publication. Regina is not it: at best it can compliment something else. The thing about good news stories is that if you have to ignore stuff that could come back and bite later, the good news will look very hollow in the future. You need analysis. Regina is about beauty - and that's important. You need truth too. And goodness.
Regina's treatment of the traditional communities, clerical and lay, remind me of the way that the Latin Mass Magazine was under Roger McCaffrey. McCaffrey himself was aware of pitfalls in the trad world, but they rarely got reported in the magazine. Eventually it just lost the plot, and though it still exists, nobody is interested. A lot of trads, though, don't want to hear good news. They want to hear bad news about the big bad modernist Church they are confronting. This is why The Remnant and Christian Order sell.
So, there's huge potential there, but we need to get thinking. One point, less and less people are reading print anymore and a lot of print publications are going to go. The trouble with electronic format is that people just dip in and out. So, what can we do?
Incidentally, came across this far-left blog today: hiredknaves.wordpress.com/ Now, two notes. The first is relevant to this discussion: the gentleman involved is Irish but seems to have a lot of links to far-left movements in Spain and England, possibly elsewhere. There really is a sense of being a wider movement amongst the left here, of working together across boundaries. I may want to write more about this... I wonder how the structure of the Church plays into this...? Have we relied for too long on the clergy to build these networks?
Second note is a bit off-topic, but his most recent post, 'They have each others' backs' really does highlight how there seems to be genuine concern for the poor amongst the far left. It's an admonition for us Catholics not to forget the least of these (I know I need to get my head out of the clouds and do more myself when it comes to those in need)
margaretann: Is anyone hanging out white and yellow bunting for the Popes visit this year as we did for the last Popes visit.
Apr 1, 2018 15:57:13 GMT
maolsheachlann: I hadn't planned on it but it's a good idea.
Apr 4, 2018 12:52:39 GMT
maolsheachlann: I remember our parish priest complaining about the lack of flags for the Eucharistic Congress.
Apr 4, 2018 12:53:02 GMT
Magus123: I don't know what to believe about Medjegorje now. I was there in 1989. I saw the Priest and 2 of the visionaries. Is it real?
Apr 23, 2018 2:17:30 GMT
Magus123: Please, talk to me.
Apr 23, 2018 2:18:56 GMT
Young Ireland: No Magus, it is not. Anything miraculous happening there is the result of people's faith and not the apparition.
Apr 23, 2018 18:18:29 GMT
i like the nuns: i like nuns
May 19, 2018 19:56:19 GMT
Frank In: Hello
Jul 24, 2018 17:55:53 GMT
Nov 6, 2018 11:04:25 GMT
myholylandartifacts2: Definitely, the seven joys are different devotion. Yesterday I bought a beautiful handmade Rosary from holyland-artifacts.com/collections/frontpage/products/2 blessed in the Holy Sepulchre. The Rosary is mainly use by Roman Catholics while saying s
Nov 9, 2018 11:54:02 GMT
Claritas: Medjugorje ? I leave the visions / visionaries up to the Church. As for Our Lady - She is there. Go and experience the grace for yourself for a week. I was completely skeptical of Medjugorje until I did. It's an indescribably spiritual place.
Nov 17, 2018 2:53:29 GMT
maolsheachlann: Why did you go if you were completely sceptical?
Dec 18, 2018 19:36:25 GMT
woody: Medjugorje is a big hoax!
Dec 25, 2018 15:50:19 GMT
Claritas: It was not my intention to go until a series of events led me there. I'll leave it up to the Church to decide what is and is not a hoax, I can only judge what I personally experienced, and those of others pilgrims I met. My only regret is not going sooner.
Jan 16, 2019 22:58:04 GMT
Claritas: Maria, Regina Pacem, ora pro nobis.
Jan 16, 2019 22:59:12 GMT
Colmcille: Forum is all into politics of the world and mickey measuring instead of any depth of spirituality - wrong focus. No salt or light. Pray and Fast. May God bring blessings to you.
Feb 27, 2019 19:42:56 GMT
maolsheachlann: Well, that is because it is a forum. I suspect everyone who does post here prays and fasts and cultivates a spiritual life. But these are things we agree on, so it doesn't really make for discussion.
Feb 28, 2019 10:18:21 GMT
maolsheachlann: Of course, if you want to take it in a different direction you are welcome to post something.
Feb 28, 2019 13:18:15 GMT
Colmcille: Political nonsense. You don't have to disagree with the depth of Catholic spirituality, lives of the Saints and treasures of the faith in order to discuss them.
Mar 3, 2019 16:48:29 GMT
maolsheachlann: This is why I disabled the shoutbox on the Irish Conservatives Forum. People with substantive contributions to make will do so in the forum.
Mar 4, 2019 13:57:20 GMT