Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cardinal Marx on the Church

His Eminence Reinhard Cardinal Marx 
On July 13th, 2013, Cardinal Archbishop Reinhard Marx gave a catechism class to a group of faithful assembled in Berchtesgaden, Germany, on that article of the Creed regarding the Church, i.e.: Credo in [...] unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. In his closing remarks, he made the following observations. Particularly noteworthy portions are highlighted for your consideration:
There are four adjectives applied to the Church which are very weighty, very strong. The first is: "I believe in the One Church." The hope that the Church will become one should motivate us. Unity in diversity - not only in a parish, but also in lifestyles and in cultures. We cannot be a Church which is uniform. Rather, we must be a Church which loves diversity. And that is a great pastoral challenge, as well as one of ecumenism. 
The second is: "I believe in the one Holy Church." Now you're thinking: "For the love of God, I look at everything happening in it, and the Church is supposed to be holy?" "Holy" is not a moral category; that's not what's being referring to. The question is whether I can find something which men cannot destroy. Can I find a place where I really encounter Jesus and where no one manipulates him with his interpretation, or argues him and his claim to power away? Where is the place where Jesus encounters me and where not men, but God himself acts? This we call the sacraments. [...] The "holy" Church means that something takes place in her which does not come from her, but from God. 
The third adjective is the Catholic Church. "Catholic" means "broad", "not petty". When the Pope says that the Church should go to the peripheries, that one should go to the limit, then this is a commission to go to the ends of the earth, to the limit of man, to spread the Gospel, so that the Gospel will reach all people. That's what "catholic" means. It is not meant in a confessional sense. Not only Catholics are catholic. This is an error which arises again and again. Some think, "I'm Catholic," and that this is what is meant in the Creed. No; everyone is. The Eastern Orthodox are also catholic. The Protestants are validly baptised, and they belong to a catholic Church. But we have not yet visibly joined. That is something else. 
And lastly: the Apostolic Church. "Apostolic" means that we believe those who first undertook the journey, those who traveled the path from the Easter experience: the Apostles. And we believe that the bishops are the successors of the Apostles. This is, of course, a pretty bold claim. Why is this claim made? To make clear that we are connected to the origins, that we do not make the Church anew, that we do not start at zero, pick up a sheet of paper and say, "Now we shall invent the Church of our dreams." Rather, we enter the long journey of the People of God at the Gospel, at the point of origin. The Apostles represent this loyalty to the origins
Thus: Should we continue to believe in the Church? I must leave it up to you to try, time and again, to do so. I've said it before during several discussions: after 17 years of service as a bishop, I can list - when I imagine a large set of scales before me - a thousand reasons and events which I would put on one side and because of which I would say: No. This is supposed to be the Church? No. And on the other side of the scales, what do I place? I place there a single name: Jesus of Nazareth. How could I have found him without the community of the People of God? How could I encounter him except in the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus? Where else is so much certainty, so much promise? The one name outweights everything else - for me at least. Perhaps also for some of you.
Need we wonder, gentle reader, why the Church is collapsing in Germany? 

1 comment:

  1. I'm terribly sad to read this. Poor man seems to have lost his faith in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    Let's pray that Marx is converted before he dies.
    P.S. thanks again for your great posts. I'm learning a lot, and enjoying it.


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