|His Eminence Reinhard Cardinal Marx|
(Photo: Allessia Giuliani/CPP/Ciric)
Last week, the Central Committee of German Catholics (Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken, ZdK) published a document which demands, among other things, sacramental blessings of same-sex unions and adulterous relationships as well as the "unconditional acceptance" of the cohabitation of people living in such unions. To anyone even remotely aware of the current moral condition of the German Catholic laity, the report was cause for little more than a deep if thoroughly unsatisfying yawn. It was only a few weeks ago that the Confederation of German Catholic Youth (Bund der deutschen katholischen Jugend, BDKJ) made much the same demands, and it was largely due to the BDKJ's inflexibility that the ZdK included them in the final draft of its paper. Today, however, the German Catholic press is awash with reports of Cardinal Reinhard Marx's critical - some would even say "harsh" - response to the ZdK document:
The document includes some demands which are theologically unacceptable. The demand for the blessing of same-sex partnerships and second marriages which remain unrecognized by the Church is incompatible with the teaching and tradition of the Church. The demand for "unconditional acceptance" of the communal life of committed same-sex relationships also contradicts the teaching and tradition of the Church.
What's this? Cardinal 'Moneybags' Marx suddenly develops an appreciation for fidelity to Church teaching and tradition? Before anyone begins singing Te Deum in thanks for the miraculous conversion of the current head of the German Bishops Conference, however, observe the demands included in the ZdK document which did not receive the same public deprecation:
- more respect for cohabitation outside of marriage, i.e. concubinage
- a re-evaluation of artificial methods of contraception
- more liturgical "development"
- admittance of divorced and "remarried" Catholics to Holy Communion
It doesn't take much insight to surmise that these demands were passed over in silence precisely because Cardinal Marx and the German faction he represents support them.
But at least he has categorically rejected something, right? I mean, he's demonstrated that he has something resembling conviction on a point of doctrine. That has to count for something, doesn't it? Well, it might - if it were true. Observe the words of the Cardinal which follow immediately upon the heels of his "condemnation":
Both issues [i.e. sacramental blessings of same-sex unions and adulterous relationships and "unconditional acceptance" of life in such states] require further theological clarification and not rash, bold demands, which do nothing to encourage what is certainly necessary theological debate and dialogue within the Church.
Ah, there it is: Modernism's penchant for duplicity. With one side of your mouth, condemn a proposition as contrary to Church teaching; with the other, open it up to debate and "dialogue". You know you're doing it right if you can accomplish the feat in a single breath.
Cardinal Marx is condemning, therefore, not so much the propositions of the ZdK, but rather their sophomorically blunt tactics. Any Modernist deserving of the name knows that open revolution is deadly to the cause. The name of the game is slow and steady subversion, and Cardinal Marx is a world-class player. So, take heart, fledgling subverters of the Confederation of German Catholic Youth: You just got schooled by the best.