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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Upcoming German Synod

german

The Germans are entering into a “synodal way” this January and a number of figures involved suggest that they will make decisions that will impact the global Church. Given the inordinate German manipulation of the Amazonians, it is presumed, somewhat jokingly, that they have already had their synod. Maybe this is part 2? Will the notorious Pachamama make a surprise return engagement? If there is a parallel paganism, I am betting it will be the sensational homecoming of the ancient Germanic fertility goddess, Nerthus.

Matthias Koopp, the spokesman for the German bishops stated, “The binding nature of the findings will be the responsibility of all those officially involved. Depending on the issue, the Apostolic See or the local bishop will be responsible for their implementation.” Nevertheless, there will certainly be discussions and feedback about the authority of bishops as a conference and how this impacts particular dioceses and individual bishops. No doubt there will also be interaction on the relationship between the local or national churches respective of papal authority. The scandals that have recently plagued the Church have compromised the trust and the authority that leadership previously possessed. The German consultation will take two years.

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The somewhat notorious Cardinal Marx has pre-planned the areas for discussion and has appointed the leaders to the four working groups. Cardinal Marx advocates giving the Eucharist and sacramental absolution to couples in irregular (adulterous) unions, intercommunion in mixed marriages between Catholics and Protestants and greater openness to LGBT relationships. He has also planted himself on the side of those who question mandatory celibacy for priests.  He openly dissents from the notion that women cannot be granted holy orders (deacons and maybe even priests). Indeed, he seems to interpret the scandals as fortuitous as they have stripped the bishops of any moral standing to speak upon sexual issues like the use of artificial contraception.

The more cynical voices are already crying “foul” and that the “fix is in.” Just look at the selected categories:

(1) Power, Participation, Separation of Powers,
(2) Sexual Morals,
(3) Priestly Existence, and
(4) Women in Services and Offices of the Church.

How can a church of 23 million Catholics in which only one in ten regularly practice (2,300,000) dare to speak to a universal Church of a billion plus people?

Will the laity invited as consultants singularly represent the faithful remnant or will their number also include the vast number of dissenting voices from those who have have fallen away?

Why should those who are no longer Catholic in belief and practice be given a voice for the future direction of the Church?  Given that we invoke the protective agency of the Holy Spirit, would it not be better to restrict the consultation to believers who constitute the genuine sensus fidelium?

A quarter of German parishes have closed since 1990. We are told that 2,000 priests in 2000 dropped to 13,560 in 2017. But the figure is worse given that 2,712 of these priests are from abroad. The numbers of native German priests has dropped to 10,848 (down almost by half in seventeen years). Instead of worrying about the Church in the rest of the world, the Germans should narrow their focus to themselves as they now constitute a dying church that is in desperate need of life-support.