Schism Looms: Pope Francis and the Willfully Rebellious Church in Germany

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Schism Looms: Pope Francis and the Willfully Rebellious Church in Germany

A commentary by Father Raymond J. de Souza via National Catholic Register:

In March 2013, Pope Francis spoke of how much he would like a “poor Church for the poor.” At his eighth anniversary, it is the richest of all local churches that threatens to devour his entire pontificate. 

The Holy Father began his ninth year with yet another attempt to rein in the rebellious Church in Germany. A document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the Church has no power to bless same-sex unions.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, the chief interpreter of the Holy Father’s pastoral priorities in the U.S. episcopate, said that there was “nothing new” in the CDF statement. Yet it created a firestorm in Germany, with hundreds of theologians and a few bishops expressing their disagreement. In the United States, the charge against the CDF was led by the Jesuit America magazine.

Indeed, America’s Rome correspondent, Gerard O’Connell, went to great lengths to suggest that somehow Pope Francis did not really mean what the CDF said, despite giving his public and official “assent” to its publication. 

O’Connell’s efforts became slightly hilarious when he argued that the March 12 ban on Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica certainly reflected what Pope Francis devoutly desired, though it had no reference to him whatsoever, while the March 15 CDF statement should be doubted, despite the Holy Father explicitly assenting to it. O’Connell is the de facto stenographer of the papal court, reliably passing on the consensus of those around Pope Francis.

The mutually contradictory explanations offered indicate the level of anxiety in those circles. There is anxiety because the great progressive gamble of the Pope Francis pontificate appears to have failed.


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