The numbers are shocking: the Church in Germany has gone from 500 ordination a year in 1965 to merely 58 in 2015.
It’s an epochal collapse, a declaration of bankruptcy. The Church in Germany is on the precipice of a decimation of Presbyterian proportions. It is truly consigning itself to extinction and irrelevance, thanks to no other enemies but her own clergy.
Unsurprisingly, the only ones who seem not to see the scale of the tragedy are the German prelates, who continue to pander to the secularised masses offering more of the world the masses already know (and don’t really like). It is like having an alcoholic in the family, who is the only one failing to recognise he has a big problem.
This is the product of an explosive mixture of huge financial resources and almost complete loss of faith. Not believing in hell or heaven, and provided with a comfortable existence he does not want to give away, the German priest has transformed himself in a secular social worker. Worse than this, he has transformed himself into the agent of a “change” which he perceives as either a way to correct the ways of a clearly “unjust” God, or the only way to continue in his comfortable, largely adultery-paid existence. The first attitude is a clear sign of loss of faith, the second can only be called prostitution.
Like the social worker, the German catholic priests thinks that he is entitled to the money of the faithful exactly in the same way as the Government is entitled to the money to pay for the army. When he says Kirchensteuer, he means exactly that: a tax; a tax which you cannot refute to pay, lest he refuses to – as it is obvious at this point it is obvious – sell you his sacrament.
Faithless, prostituted, and simoniacal. This is the best description of the clergy in Germany as we write the Year of False Mercy.
Is it any surprise that they are disappearing so fast?
Reuter informs us that the Diocese of Cologne has assets of USD 3.8bn.
The article appears singularly bad. It does not tell us anything about the debts, so we can't know the value of the net assets.
I also cannot imagine the local churchmen would dream that they can finance themselves from the income of their assets, seen that they spend almost one third of this amount every year and the assets will very probably yield between 3 and 5 percent.
The Church in Germany is very rich. This is not bad in itself, and in itself would be not a problem, but an advantage.
The problem is that the Church in Germany relies on the Kirchensteuer to be able to afford an administrative apparatus – and some of the best paid parish priests in the planet – that they would never be able to maintain without it, and have decided a long time ago that the proceeds from the Kirchensteuer are far more important than being Catholics.
This is a vicious circle. The more paying but dissenting members you have, the more you must try to appease them if you want their money. But this makes you more like them, so that the new generations will not see any reason to pay. This creates the necessity – if the income is to be preserved – to keep the remaining, now more vocal “paying dissenters” happy. Let them smell more blood, then. This starts the next vicious round of anti-Catholicism from the very altar. And so it goes on and on.
The problem is not the net assets of the Diocese, which isn't anything shocking anyway. It is the descent into a pit of heresy that the Archdiocese has consented to for the sake of the Kirchensteuer money, which allows them to maintain a huge apparatus in terms of bureaucracy, and fat priests who can afford a mistress on the side.
This game won't go on for very long now. Give it fifteen years, and these people will have 3 or 5 percent attendance and a collapse in Kirchensteuer revenue, as the older people die and the younger get smart.
I have observed in the past that when the parents die, the children stop paying the Kirchensteuer. So you have the double or triple whammy there. This is going to end up very badly in one, or half, a generation.
The Kirchensteuer chicken are coming home to roost. When that happens, four billions in assets won't be able to pay for much.
But then you will start having a different kind of Church; a Church, perhaps, of people who believe in Christ.
Read on CatholicCulture.org the last stunning declaration of Cardinal “theology on his knees”, “serene and profound” Kasper. The man happily lumps together, “in various ways”, St Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther; because hey, in Kirchesteuer-Land Luther must be “included” in the “great tradition” of Christian Charity.
Said from a Cardinal, it is every bit as bad as if a German politician would include Hitler in the great tradition of German welfare.
Why does this disgraceful Cardinal utters such philo-heretical nonsense? Has he gone gaga? No, of course he hasn't.
You see, Kasper and his are the providers of immoral services to the German johns who pay the Kirchesteuer but do not even attend Mass. I read an article on the Catholic Herald giving some sobering numbers, and they were around so: for every three who pay, two do not even attend Sunday Mass anymore; and the number of those attending halved in the last 25 years or so.
These people are, in general, of the “I decide who God is” kind. They are divorced and remarried, or contracepting, or fornicating without a shade of remorse, and are otherwise so sold into the fable of their own “goodness” and “inclusiveness” that even a distancing of the Church from Luther is seen from many of them as uncharitable, oppressive, and otherwise obsolete. Many of them are believers of the “I believe in some sort of entity” way, some are certainly atheists. I have known many of them. Christianity in them is nothing but the thinnest varnish.
These are johns who do not even sleep with the prostitute they are paying, but they will insist for the prostitute to remain such for them to continue paying. Any sign of the prostitute's redemption would be cause of termination of the payment for many, many johns.
Now put yourself in the shoes of the Head Pimps: Kasper, Marx, Woelki, and the like. They must keep the customer satisfied. They must reassure the paying johns they won't be annoyed with Catholic talking or teaching. They must create an environment in which everyone is fine with everyone else, and Luther has an awful lot of good to teach. They must lull their clients in the illusion that as long as they continue paying it doesn't matter if they think Luther was a capital chap after all. Actually, they are encouraged to think this is very inclusive, ecumenical, charitable and, in general, very fine. This is the first game Kasper is playing.
The other game is the wink-wink game, a German speciality. These prelates all say to their paying clients: “see? There are things I cannot officially say, or cannot officially implement; but I will do whatever I can to accommodate you. If I win, I win. If I lose, please look at my battle for you and keep paying”. This is the “communion for adulterers”, “married priests”, “female priests”, and now also “same sex marriage”, meme that has gone on for many years all over the German speaking world.
The result of all this can be reassumed with two words linked by a hyphen: kar-ching.
Cardinal Kasper is not a surprise.
He is in the tradition of the oldest profession in the world.
With hypocrisy worthy of TMAHICH – or else, ignorance probably equal – the German Bishops are now in their majority worrying how to face “pastoral challenges” that were “unheard of” until, they say, some years ago.
These people truly have no shame, no brains, or no education. I’d say the first, though.
What they pretend to believe is that perverts living together, perhaps with children, are a modern invention. Have they ever read St. Paul? Is Sodom something “unheard of” for them? Was it difficult to divorce one’s wife, and take another, in Roman times?
No. It isn’t, and it wasn’t. The only thing that is unheard of is the lack of shame of bishops whose only concern is to accommodate and include every pervert, rather than telling him a straight (!) thing or two about, say, Sodom. Salvation isn’t relevant, inclusion is; and when Christianity stays in the way, then you find ways around it, and call all this… being “pastoral”.
And their lie is twice mendacious: it is exactly the willingness of their predecessors to talk straight that caused open-air sexual perversion to be expunged from the traditional Christian society! This happened, in fact, to such an extent, that nowadays the very people who betray the work of those worthy shepherds of the past think they can claim these perverted situations are…”unheard of”! The arrogance of it!
These people are only one thing: Kirchensteuer prostitutes, and enemies of Christ. Though I do not doubt they bask in the popularity they enjoy among German cafeteria Catholics, and have no problem with the wealth it still allows them to enjoy.
Death will, one day, catch them all. On that day, many of them will discover that perverts and their enablers are by no means “unheard of”.
Because it will be full of those around them.
The German bishops have picked the new head of the Bishop’s conference as successor of the (un)worthy Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch.
Now put yourself in the shoes of these brave men. They must pick someone with the right Modernist cards, because they need someone ferrying them in the Land of Sacrilege, where public adulterers receive communion and therefore continue to pay the Kirchensteuer. But this Modernist prelate must be one in the graces of the Man In Black Shoes, because they will need some lobby work here and you can’t bee too careful when you are asking the Vatican to sanction your mass sacrilege.
Fortunately for them, there is a man who ticks all the boxes: Cardinal Marx has a solid record of enmity of Christ, and is therefore very well suited for the Creat Tcherman Revolution; but crucially, he is also a member of the gang of eight, which means he has the ear of the Pope. Yep, he’s the man.
Therefore, the very aptly named Marx is now elected the head of the German Bishops’ Conference. What does he do first? He lets it be known that he considers it a “viable path” that “divorced people who recognize their failure can, after a penitential period, seek readmission to the sacraments.”
There. The man leaves no doubt as to why he has been chosen for the position.
Lord, have mercy. And in your good time, free us from this papacy.
Concerning Cardinal Kasper’s fifth column work, more or less asking that we “tolerate” what we cannot “accept”, the rather baffled Father Z asks: “what else do we tolerate though not accept?”
I have an answer there.
In Italy, brothels were called case di tolleranza. I was always told, and have always taken for granted, that this is because the Church could not allow or in any way consent to the existence of brothels, but considered not fitting to crack down on them. This is the reason why in the Roma papalina prostitution was rife; be it because of the presence of an army of priest, not all of them very chaste, be it because of the position of Rome as an extremely important destination for pilgrimages, then largely the preserve of men, with the consequences anyone who is not a finishing school girl can easily imagine.
Therefore, in order to avoid the huge pressure to which girls would have been subjected in case of crackdown on brothels, the Papal States chose to tolerate brothels. Not “authorise”, mind; simply renouncing to a massive crackdown on a factual situation out there; a situation to which the Church lent no assistance or support whatever, forbidding the visit of brothels and constantly reminding of the consequences of sin on one’s soul.
This is the only example of “toleration” I know. I notice here that when brothels were outlawed in Italy in 1957, this was out of the initiative of a feminist Socialist female senator, enthusiastically followed by her own party and the Communists. Neither during Fascism nor during the dominance of the Democrazia Cristiana in the De Gasperi era did the governments of the day move to crack down on brothels: tolleranza was considered the best choice, and actually since Fascism also a strict regulation (for medical reasons, mainly) followed.
Now, what Cardinal Kasper suggests is that the Church does the same with the public adulterers. This is tantamount as to suggest that the Church should bring prostitutes in the houses of men, in order to offer a “pastoral solution” to men’s testosterone problems, and reacting to the million of men vociferously asking for p***y as a matter of elementary justice.
The Church tolerates, instead, that there are concubines today, just as she tolerated that there were prostitutes yesterday. The Church tolerates concubines in that she does not move towards the crackdown of the deplorable phenomenon, and does not demand for legislation making of it a criminal offence. But this is completely different from actively proceeding to sacrilege, and asking the priest to commit himself a sacrilege. If you can do that, you can as well make of the priest a pimp, and ask him to run a “pastoral” brothel for his flock.
Cardinal Kaspar, whose mind frame is rather the one of the prostitute than of the priest, doesn’t get the difference. To him, a client is a client, and as long as the client pays the Kirchensteuer, he will do whatever it takes to please him.
He will then call it “pastoral concern”; a “concern”, mind, very strong in those countries where the Kirchensteuer provides an enormous income, as can be seen from the illustration on this blog post.
Pastoral concern? I call it prostitution. Whenever a German prelate talks of being “pastoral”, follow the money.
Ah, the German Bishops. Always ready to fight against Catholicism. Clearly, they rank among Satan's most faithful allies.
You might remember the “survey” of some time ago; a survey which, if memory serves, was actually meant for priests, though the usual suspects encouraged their faithful to participate to the exercise and say what they find wrong in the Church's teaching, in a kind of orgy of democracy and populism.
Predictably, the results were that the astonishingly neglected – and arrogant their own part – German sheep either do not know important parts of the teaching, or consider it – wait for this – “heartless”, “unacceptable”, or the like.
You will, now, imagine these shameful but not unexpected findings would be the occasion for a loud mea culpa from the side of the shepherds, admitting that it is their most grievous fault that souls entrusted to their care may think that God is heartless, or, far more probably, are not even informed that Church rules concerning sexual morality are just not disposable, because they are from God. With which, actually, the discussion should come to an abrupt end.
And in fact, it being unthinkable that a Christian may deem God heartless and still call himself a Christian, the only explanation to such a brutal refusal of God's laws is that the sheep believe, and the shepherds allow them to believe, that these rules can and, indeed, must be changed.
God only will be able to look into the souls of the millions of confused non-Catholics who share such a thinking, and justly decide in every individual case when their guilt is worthy of hell and when the lack of proper teaching, or the bad example of their own shepherds, are bad enough to allow them to escape the ultimate punishment. But there can be no doubt in my mind that the bishops and priests themselves know perfectly well what the rules are and whence they come, and will have absolutely nowhere to hide when their day of reckoning comes.
A public condemnation of eternal Church rules as “heartless” – a condemnation clear enough, though thinly veiled behind the excuse of it being what the vox populi says – is something I had missed up to now, though this is probably merely due to my lack of attention. This bunch of idiots do not say “the people don't like and even harshly criticise the rules, so we must start a serious work of evangelisation because it's clear we have done everything wrong for decades”; no, they report to Rome what “the people” find “unacceptable”. They say: “Look, Francis: the sheep say the rules are heartless; therefore, they must be changed, or at least they must be “pastorally” raped until the sheep are halfway satisfied and keep paying the Kirchensteuer.
I expect this message to be sent with the usual subtle distinguos, and to be broadcast in a way that avoids danger for the bishops themselves. In the next months, methinks, we will hear these wolves reflect on how they can “more effectively” transmit Catholic teaching, whilst being “pastoral” regarding the grievances of the sheep. They find the teaching unacceptable, you see, so let's be “pastoral”. Still, the overall message will be clear enough, and this is how the German sheep will understand it: we, the good German pastors, are doing what we can to help you, dear sheep. Please, please keep paying the Kirchensteuer!
What a bunch of prostitutes in purple.
New data are now coming from Austria, where the number of Kirchenaustritte (actually possibly only the refusal to pay the absurd and simoniacal church tax, but a rather telling indicator of the situation on the ground) has increased compared to the last full Benedict year in 2012. You would think the euphoria, press coverage, and exceptionally favourable treatment from the press would have caused enthusiasm and a new wave of young, hip, enthusiastic supporters? Forget it.
Cartoon Catholics all over the planet are doing what their cartoon Pope – who does not even like to be called that way – is preaching: they are realising the utter uselessness and superfluity of the Church in a world in which God owes us everything – justice and joy in this world, and Paradise for everyone in the next – and we do not even owe I do not say our best effort as wretched sinners, but not even faith in His Son, or belief in His existence, much less of course fear.
Francis has degraded himself to “facilitator” of something that will come anyway to everyone – salvation – and simple participant in the extremely crowded arena of advocate for a “social justice” that is, in fact, whining socialism and enmity with the West. Those with a strong sense – no thanks to him – of what the Church is and why She is there will stay anyway; but the tepid, the Catholic by hearsay, the many rebels encouraged by 50 years of Bergoglio-style “pastoral attitude” are going to go away, now unable to see the difference between Bergoglio and Milliband (or Obama, or Merkel) beside the fact the latter have better cars. Other will move to the Evangelicals, or to other Christian (heretical) communities run by people who actually have fear of the Lord and respect for His rules: which both Francis lacks to an astonishing degree.
The real Francis effect is the acceleration of the deterioration of Catholicism all over the West, whilst the orthodox friars of the FFI are ruthlessly persecuted. If Bergoglio & Co. had been put in their places by the Castro family with the task of making the maximum damage in the shortest of times, I doubt the Castro could have been more pleased with the first ten months.
The “strategy” of self-destruction will continue – bar some extraordinary intervention from above – in the years to come, with a VII Church becoming more and more secular and justifying her progressive decay with the fact that the society becomes… wordlier. You don’t say? How ever could it happen?! A real mystery…
Others will, as they always do, blame the sexual abuse scandals for their own failures. An excuse grown now extremely old. What they fail to explain to you is how it can be, then, that the most conservative Orders grow like there’s no tomorrow, whilst the pastoral and caring ones – like, erm, the Jesuits – have reduced themselves to old nincompoops not taken seriously by anyone, not even their own red and/or perverted friends. What is it: the Catholics think the pervs came from the ranks of the Jesuits? Or are they looking for Catholicism instead of “gay rights” supporters?
In time, though, the likes of Bergoglio will become extinct, and the likes of Fellay will continue to grow. Give it two generations at most, and those who are still Catholic will be ready to start the work again. From the catacombs, perhaps; but they will.
This will be, then, the ultimate “Francis effect” of the next decades: the progressive dying of the suicidal “Presbyterian wing” of the Church, so that the real Catholics may emerge stronger in a Church now much smaller, but ready for battle.
A Swiss theologian has intervened after the heretical meeting called by Archbishop Zollitsch and has told him what we already knew, but was good to repeat: there can be no deaconesses because a deacon has holy orders, and the Archbishop is confusing the faithful. Again, a couple of considerations are probably in order.
1. Archbishop Zollitsch and his bunch of soutaned prostitutes do want to confuse the faithful. They know perfectly well a “deaconess” in the proper meaning of the word – one able to do all that a deacon can do – is a thing of impossibility, but why should they care? Their aim is simply to appease and encourage the German dissenting Catholics – millions of them, I am afraid – by telling them “German clergy good, Vatican bad!” and in this way keep them from stopping the payment of the Kirchensteuer.
2. There will never be “deaconesses”. But if this were to prove helpful to our heroes to suck it up to the German dissenters, they might well try to introduce “helpers” they would then call “deaconesses”, very probably by way of abuse as happened with the “altar girls” in Paul VI's times, and very probably getting away with it as happened in the same occasion. In this way we would have an army of bitching Zicken insisting to tell the world “I am a Deaconess” and getting extremely angry at every hint they do not have holy orders. After a while, they'd say they think they actually have, and if they haven't it's clearly an injustice. Give it ten years, and some German pew-sitter – and the totality of those never attending – wouldn't even know there's a difference. The priest will, certainly, never mention it.
3. The “female deaconess”, though – assuming she is introduced by way of liturgical abuse – would still only be able to do things like, let me think, undressing women being prepared for baptism? Therefore, whilst our Zicke would still be able to throw some smoke in the eyes of her Protestant Freundinnen, she would be seen as both useless and ridiculous by all those who still care for Catholicism. Still, many of the lukewarm or ill-informed would end up picking up this thing with the wind, that “there are Catholic deaconesses, I have heard someone say”.
Make no mistake, if Zollitsch & Co. think this kind of confusion can be useful to them, they will push it as hard as they can. They will then say they oh so wanted to have “real” “deaconesses”, but alas, it was partout not to be done.
In the meantime, the Pope tells us looking at balance sheets before hiring bad, and company prudence is unjust.
What a fine Papacy we will have.
Even for the heretical standards of the Church in Germany, what has happened in the last days leaves one rather surprised.
The Church in Germany has invited 300 “experts” for a “conference”, described as “the first of his kind”, to “discuss possible reforms”. This is breathtaking. These people think and act as if they were the ones who call the shots and decide what happens in the Church; probably (cough) because in the past they were allowed to do so. This conference doesn't discuss of proper internal matters (say: how to reduce administration costs faced with the possible collapse of the Kirchensteuer) but, as expected, wants to be an ecumenical council in miniature, suggesting on Rome's behalf… what is wrong with God's rules.
Turns out they decide there is a lot that is wrong with God's rules. The biggest injustice perpetrated by God against Zollitsch's faithful (that is: faithful to him) sheep appears to be male ordination. Now, Zollitsch's Sturmtruppen understand priesthood in itself should be left to males, but women deacon should not be a taboo, surely? Look, they could even celebrate marriages outside of Mass! what a “liberation”, and a feminist triumph!
Now, Mister Zollitsch, being clearly Episcopalian, is not informed about the unchangeable nature of the sacrament of holy orders; but it surprises me that the others 300 did not know it either; unless of course they are also Episcopalians, which at this point appears more than probable.
Perhaps some good souls will inform this unhappy bunch that in the Catholic Church taboos are there so that people do not even discuss them. This is, in fact, what the word taboo means. As a consequence, to say that a Catholic taboo isn't a taboo anymore is the same as to say that one isn't a Catholic anymore; or, in the specific case, that it is not a taboo anymore to reflect in which way cats would be allowed to bark.
Now, let be clear on this: the German Episcopalian Bishops will never get their women deacon, unless they make a formal schism and become Episcopalians in name too, in which case they will not be deacons, either. What this conference allows them to do, is to continue to prostitute themselves to their Kirchensteuer-paying sugar daddys, asking them for continued support to the clergy's bank accounts against the German clergy's continued brown-nosing. Purest whoredom, you see, though it is fair to say every street whore is morally far less reprehensible than someone who, like Archbishop Zollitsch, tries to prostitute the sacraments to the interest of his own group.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch is almost 75. One day, he will meet His Maker. Unless he repents, I would be terrified of dying with his hand of cards.
If you click here you should be directed to the March 2012 edition of the SSPX magazine for the German Speaking countries.
Alas, I am not able to present only a part of it as I do not know how to cut .pdf documents, but if you slide down to page 40 there is a very interesting “special” concerning the Kirchensteuer, with a detailed instruction as to what to do and even ready declarations to give to your local priest.
Just as an aside, I notice the SSPX has prospered in Germany for decades now without one Pfennig (or Cent, as the case may be) of Kirchensteuer.
Why I do not agree with everything they write (they seem to mean the Kirchensteuer would be right if it was used correctly as everyone has the duty to contribute to the church’s maintenance; which is wrong or at least very badly expressed, as charity must not be imposed as a forced contribution, however good the intent) they provide the reader with a complete guide to the emancipation from the Kirchensteuer.
I suggest to my German readers they do proceed to the Austritt and give their donation money, if they feel this is the best use for it, in large part to the SSPX instead.
Before I pass – in the very next days – to the exam of how the latest invention of the German bishops is NOT what the Vatican said in 2006 (besides being obviously simoniacal), I would like to say two words about the role I think the Vatican has played in the matter.
In the only contribution I have read which gave a precise description of the Vatican position on the German decree, the verb used was that the Vatican has “rekognosziert” the decree.
Now, “rekognoszieren” is a word which in German can be placidly called non-existent in the usual sense of the word, though you will find it in the vocabulary. There are, though, the vastly more spread Italian verb “riconoscere”, and Latin verb “recognoscere”, which are, as I understand them, somewhat complicated words.
Let us say that I understand that the Communist Chinese government is the authority holding sway over the land. I “acknowledge” that they are in power, and deal with it accordingly. I will have an embassy, for example, and give the head of state the honours of the head of state when he comes to visit. I am simply recognising a reality, a fact of life.
I will also call the Archbishop of Canterbury “Your Grace”, because even if he is clearly a layman without holy orders, I recognise the fact that the English Government considers him to be an Archbishop. Of course he isn’t; but again, of course he is.
Now, this does not mean that I approve the Communist Chinese government; nor does this mean that I consider the Archbishop of Canterbury a real archbishop. Very simply, they are there and I deal with it, recognising a reality already in place.
Now, it is to me rather peculiar that the Vatican was not said to, say, “approve” (Zustimmen), or even the in my Italian eyes somewhat less explicit Anerkennen the German decree, but merely to “rekognoszieren” it. It seems to me a linguistic gymnastic which can only have one meaning: the Vatican does not give an official seal of approval, but merely recognises that this is the interpretation of the German bishops.
Of course, this is the usual Benedict-style, “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds” attitude, and its aim seems to be to bend over backwards to allow – or let us say it Vatican style: not disallow – the German Bishops to maintain that their take is at least not in contradiction with Church teaching, whilst at the same time avoiding the unspeakable simoniacal shame of declaring urbi et orbi that the Church feels free to give sacraments only against fixed money payments in a measure decided by themselves.
My understanding of what has happened is therefore – and until I manage to know more about the matter – that the Vatican is saying something on the lines of: “well, it’s complicated; I have given guidelines in 2006 which repeat what I understand as an Austritt (exit) which would justify an excommunication; but you have now put a certain interpretation on it and I recognise as a fact, acknowledge the reality that this is the way you German Bishops see things”.
It can’t be denied that the Bishops’ decree is in striking contrast to the Vatican instructions (themselves not a novelty; mere Catholic sense) given to the very same German bishops in 2006 (and object of the next blog post, hopefully).
My impression is that the Holy Father – whom we know was personally involved in this decree – wanted a formula allowing him to let them free to go on as they wished ( = ka-ching) but without appearing to approve of their position as they would have wanted.
The result was, methinks, this neither meat nor fish decision, and this strange, factually unused verb “rekognoszieren”.
And so we are now informed that (courtesy of an “acknowledgment” of the Vatican) a German bishop is allowed to consider (or at least to say so) a German devout Catholic who refuses to pay the Kirchensteuer not a member of the Catholic Church anymore (I do not say this is the case, as this seems to be the most simoniacal bollocks heard in the last several centuries; I merely refer that they say so).
At the same time – and I link to only one of the many astonishing pieces of news you can read on the German press with sad regularity – 200 German priests and deacons openly announce they give communion to divorced and remarried so-called Catholics (the number might have grown or gone down in the meantime, but this is not material here).
Let us reflect on the implications of this:
1) It is to be strongly assumed the divorced and remarried Catholics believing they receive communion do pay the Kirchensteuer. Therefore, if one pays one receives the sacrament (or at least he think he does; but what counts here is that his priest says that he does) and his state of mortal sin, and a scandalous one at that, is not seen as impediment because of the “commandment of brotherly love”, whether the devout Catholic who does not live in scandal but does not pay the pizzo* is told by his own priest that he is outside of the church, and cannot receive the sacraments, or – what counts here – his priest says that he can’t.
This is worse than stupid: this is simoniacal, utterly disgusting, and a clear case of prostitution.
2) It is not very clear how fast Archbishop Zoellitsch (one of the men behind the new initiative concerning the Kirchensteuer and the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference; go figure) has told the relevant priests and bishops that they are now suspended from service due to their obvious, and very public acts of sacrilege, and invited very fast to repent or face sanctions up to and not excluding being defrocked. Hmm…
Now let us reflect: what does this tell us about Archbishop Zoellitsch, and the hierarchy who put him in his place? What must we deduce from the very obvious fact that those who continue to pay as wished by the Archbishop are not only pandered to continuously, but priests and deacons behaving in an obviously and publicly sacrilegious way are left unpunished, whilst those who merely want to be treated like the other 1,2 billion Catholics and in conformity to the Church understanding of charity and the duty of a Catholic for 2000 years are threatened to be excluded from the sacraments?
Is there a scandal bigger than this one in the entire Church? Nay, is there a scandal bigger than this one in the entire history of the Church?
This is, my dear readers, the poisoned fruit of the German Church being allowed to get in bed with the secular authority, and becoming both addicted to the money and the whore of those secular laws and values by which she gets so obscenely fed. It says here when the then Bishop (or perhaps already Cardinal) Ratzinger first came to Rome he was surprised to see it had fewer employees than…. the diocese of Munich. I couldn’t verify the statement, but it seems rather credible to me.
The German Pope sees all this, and “acknowledges”. You reflect on this very sad circumstances and start to understand why the 200 priests and bishops aren’t punished; and why so many German bishops and cardinals (and one Pope, even) are so ready to shower almost unlimited understanding for the “suffering” of Catholics living – poor lambs – not only in sin and open scandal, but in open defiance of elementary Catholic rules.
Mala tempora currunt. I truly hope the next Pope will not come from a country of the Kirchensteuer area.
*pizzo = Kinnbart = chin-beard. Also the unofficial name of the payments made to the mafia by shopkeepers and others out of fear of retaliation if they refuse to pay (because the mafia always avoids open threats, and stroking one’s pizzo was the way to make the shopkeeper understand it was ka-ching time..)..
So, you live in Germany and you have been conscious many years now that the Kirchensteuer is only there to serve the perpetuation of a very fat secularised apparatus, which becomes more secularised because as its revenues depend from the Kirchensteuer they must do whatever they can to avoid the dissenting, contracepting, and adulterous crowds from getting out of the system; and a result, they bend over backwards to please and appease them, as you can see almost daily in the press.
What to do?
If I were in your shoes, I would do as follows:
a) Austritt. No ifs, and no buts.
b) Visit the next (or my usual) Pfarrer and say to him in his face (possibly having recited the “Creed of the Apostles” out loud, and having asked him whether he believes that I am a Catholic) as follows:
“I am baptised and confirmed, and weekly churchgoer. I pray the Rosary (if you do) every day. I go to confession regularly. I keep fasting days, and days of obligations (& Co., & Co.). I have declared my exit from the Kirchensteuer, but I am a faithful orthodox Catholic and want you to know it.
If you agree that I am still a Catholic and can receive the sacraments, I will attend here and you will receive the money I will see it fit to give to your parish directly; otherwise you can go, with all due respect, to hell (where you will very probably go; you can say this) and I will find a better priest, and a more Catholic one (SSPX? FSSP? Or perhaps your neighbour? Or his neighbour?) than you are.
Please note I will behave in everything in a way which would not cause the minimum problem in a Catholic from any other but a German-speaking country. I will not only contribute, but I will contribute generously. But I will contribute to those Catholics organisations I like and whose work I approve of. You will, once again, get from me what I will see fit to give you, and I will not tolerate any enquiry, or any negotiation on the matter, as it would be fully normal in any other country on Earth, bar the German-speaking ones.
Your call, Father.”
If I know my German priests, it will be all fine with the third one at the latest, with the one or the other mumbling something about the duty of the priest to administer the sacraments to faithful Catholics, and happy to keep both the sheep and the money. These are people who administer the sacrament to the fake Catholics, it won’t be so difficult to find those administering them to the real ones. Nor can’t they say that the sacrament is invalid because you are excommunicated, because you aren’t.
Or the priest will say no, and then it will be the next chap’s turn. Germany has, compared to England, a great number of churches and one would be spoilt for choice. You might have to travel a bit to find a church and a priest whose Mass you like, but I can’t imagine there will be so many difficulties.
Imagine the scenario: a priest is put in front of the choice between saying to a devout Catholic who wants to go to mass, participate to the sacramental life and contribute (as he should) to the upkeep of the Church that he is obviously welcome, or to say to him “no, I do not want you, go away! Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the Kirchensteuer to all German countries!”;…knowing, if he so behaves, that the neighbourhood will know what kind of priest he is (you will post this on the internet of course; twitter, facebook, the lot…) and that every neighbouring priest who has a modicum of intelligence will get, as already said, both the sheep and the money whilst he misses out on the first (he won’t care anyway) and on the second (he will).
I am almost sad I do not live in Germany. It would be an interesting experiment and a nice occupation for Saturday mornings; I must confess I see myself enjoying doing it… .
From Catholic Church Conservation, some beautiful lines of comment on the recent Kirchensteuer turmoil.
Cathcon- this gives a whole new meaning to Pay and Go (mobile communications package in the UK and I think beyond). The next step will be credit card access at turnstiles- he says half-jokingly. It is morally worse than the sale of indulgences, as while the purchase of an indulgence was a pious act, it was not the only means to salvation. I have visions of crowds of Germans assisting at Mass in France or other neighbouring lands on a Sunday.
I suggest that the German bishops now proceed to ask the Pope to silence Bishop Huonder, who has unilaterally dismantled the Swiss system (the equivalent of the German Kirchensteuer) and substituted it with voluntary contributions, against the dictum of the Swiss law, and who is on record with the following statements (translation is mine):
„Noch immer wissen viele nicht, daß die Katholische Kirche als solche für die Mitgliedschaft keine Steuern verlangt und daß sie in fast allen Ländern kein mit der Schweiz vergleichbares Steuersystem kennt.“
“Many still do not know that the Catholic Church as such does not demand any tax for her membership, and that in almost every Country she does not know a tax system comparable with the Swiss one”
„Auch darf ihnen unter keinen Umständen mit der Verweigerung der Sakramente gedroht werden.“
“In addition, not under any circumstances can they be threatened with the refusal of the Sacraments”.
I wonder who is the real Catholic?
We must pray for the leaders of the German Church and for the Holy Father, a clear accomplice of the German simoniacal troops, and who in his old age is fabricating disasters in rapid succession.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Simony is usually defined “a deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual of annexed untospirituals”. While this definition only speaks of purchase and sale, any exchange of spiritual for temporal things is simoniacal. Nor is the giving of the temporal as the price of the spiritual required for the existence of simony; according to a proposition condemned by Innocent XI (Denzinger-Bannwart, no. 1195) it suffices that the determining motive of the action of one party be the obtaining of compensation from the other.
The various temporal advantages which may be offered for a spiritual favour are, after Gregory the Great, usually divided in three classes. These are: (1) the munus a manu (material advantage), which comprises money, all movable and immovable property, and all rightsappreciable in pecuniary value; (2) the munus a lingua (oral advantage) which includes oral commendation, public expressions of approval,moral support in high places; (3) the munus ab obsequio (homage) which consists in subserviency, the rendering of undue services, etc.
I am very curious to know what strange excuses will the Archbishop Muellers of the world invent to exclude the german Church is simoniacal at her very core; and publicly, shamelessly so.
We are informed the German Bishops’ Conference has now intervened and reiterated that in their eyes, you aren’t a Catholic (and therefore cannot have access to the sacrament in normal circumstances) unless you pay them exactly what they want.
Mind, this is not a generic appeal to the fact that a Catholic has a duty to contribute to the expenses of the Church. This is the open, astonishing arrogant demand of exactly how much they want from everyone (that will be 7% of the income tax, thank you very much) , and that (coherently) if they do not get it there will be no sacraments.
The German Bishop say, with astonishing hypocrisy, that he who refuses to pay the Kirchensteuer refuses to give his contribution to the Church maintenance; but this is, to put it very gently, poppycock. It is very much to be assumed that those who want to get out of the Kirchensteuer system but continue to be part of the Church will give generously; they merely demand the right of every Catholic to choose to whom and how much to give, rather than being imposed a mafioso-type payment from his own religious authorities who say to him “it is so and so much, or else…” and then squander the money in all sort of un-Catholic initiative, exaggerate payments to the clergy, and so on. Besides being openly simoniacal, the system of social pressure to get money, and exactly how much from each, can only be defined as mafioso.
So the situation that might be created is that a good, churchgoing, generously giving Catholic ( I remind you that a Catholic, and the more so a priest, has the duty to assume that everyone is contributing in adequate measure according to his means) might be told by his priest “no sacraments until you pay to us the money I want from you”. Whether the man is, say, a generous giver to the Dominicans, or to the Verona Fathers, or Aid to the Church in Need (Kirche in Not in Germany), is fully irrelevant: No Kirchensteuer? Es tut mir leid, but no Confession…
This, without considering that a priest should be ready to, say, hear the confession of the faithful at every day of the day or night, without asking him whether he has paid the membership quote for the year.
Really, what a disgusting bunch. Much different from the few enlightened, intelligent and, well, Catholic ones like Bishop Huonder.
The avidity of the German (and Vatican, mind; a part of the money ends up there, which is why the Vatican does everything it can to allow this situation to continue) clergy is in contrast with the fact that the only local Churches on the planet insisting in defending a system of forced “taxation” if one wants to call himself “Catholic” are, not coincidentally, at the head of the “movement” for the communion to scandalous adulterers, the “understanding” for sodomitic “unions” showing “commitment”, the “deaconesses”, and the like. They are so prostituted to their own client base, that they have all but altogether forgotten why they are there to deal in the same as an organisation trying not to lose clients. So they try two very old methods: the carrot with the dissenting, and the stick with the devout. Congratulations.
I have often written about the scandalous state of the Church in Germany (Switzerland and Austria are pretty much on the same line; as far as I know, they are the only countries on the entire planet to have the Kirchensteuer; there might be some other like Liechtenstein, but you get my drift) and the fact that their astonishing ability to disregard their job description is due to their great fear of losing the huge amount of money deriving from the Kirchensteuer, a rich trough not snubbed at all by the Vatican snouts.
To give you an idea, in Italy every taxpayer can choose if 7 pro mille (not percent) of his income tax goes to the Church, to other religious organisations or to lay charitable organisations. Very many (also among the non churchgoers, and even many atheists) choose the Church, and even if the amount is around one tenth of the German one (it is more complicated than that of course, but you get the point) it is fair to say Italy has a rather well-organised and well-funded system, and the Church cannot complain about the lack of money, though there is certainly no room for the luxury and waste of the German clergy. Of course, this is also because of the donations (not taxes) freely given by the Italians; but this is just as it should be.
Now, even with a “guaranteed income” of around one tenth than the German one, the Church in Italy runs an infinity of places with a social function, from free time associations to (very important) places where children can play and gather in absolute security. Having lived in both countries, I can assure you the role played by the Church in Italy in these matter is vastly more important than the one played by the Church in Germany, a country where the infrastructure for children and youth is – other than in Italy – stunning without any need for the Kirchensteuer.
Most important, though, is another consideration: that in Italy no priest would ever dream, in his most drunken state, to consider one who has not given his seven pro mille to the Church a non-Catholic. He wouldn’t, firstly because he knows he doesn’t have any right (moral or, less importantly, legal) to a certain, definite, fixed amount from a sheep; and secondly because he would – even in his most drunken state – immediately understand that one might want to give the money somewhere else merely because, say, he thinks that bishops waste too much money. What any of this is to do with the person being a Catholic would be a mystery to him – even in his most sober state – as it is to me.
This is what is in the press at the moment (German reader will read the consequences the Sueddeutsche Zeitung clearly draws from the Bishops’ statement: non-Catholic, ergo no sacraments…; makes sense). It would even appear there is even a plan to have the German priest have a talk with the man who wants to get out, in order to make clear to him they will exclude him from the sacraments. One is reminded of those obnoxious people when you want to cancel your subscription to the gym.
I want to hope that someone with a brain in his head (instead of his wallet) within the German Church will “clarify” and de facto modify the Bishops’ position; but I doubt they will, then to admit one can refuse to pay the Kirchensteuer and remain a Catholic would be, long-term, a death-blow to the Kirchensteuer, and the trough is very big indeed.
In the meantime, there are rumours Benno Elbs will be appointed as the new Bishop of Graz, Austria. The man is described from the Standard as a “liberal churchman”, who is “the people’s ideal candidate”. In Austria, this means something, and if confirmed is no good news.
The German-speaking “shepherds” certainly think this will help to keep the customer satisfied.
I have written several times about the scandal of the Kirchensteuer, which besides being absurd in itself is the main cause of the generalised prostitution of the German/Austrian/Swiss clergy, so fearful of losing the extremely generous income it provides.
It now turns out already in 2009 a rather conservative Swiss bishop had unilaterally decided to set an end to the Kirchensteuer and to substitute it with a voluntary contribution.
Let us listen to the press officer of this excellent man:
„Noch immer wissen viele nicht, daß die Katholische Kirche als solche für die Mitgliedschaft keine Steuern verlangt und daß sie in fast allen Ländern kein mit der Schweiz vergleichbares Steuersystem kennt.“
“Many still do not know that the Catholic Church as such does not demand any tax for her membership, and that in almost every Country she does not know a tax system comparable with the Swiss one”
The astonishing in this phrase is what I had already written about: that there should be country where people consider it normal that one is only then a Catholic, if he pays a tax!
Similarly, those who decide to get out of the Kirchensteuer system are not considered, or demanded to declare, that they are not Catholic anymore.
„Auch darf ihnen unter keinen Umständen mit der Verweigerung der Sakramente gedroht werden.“
“In addition, not under any circumstances can they be threatened with the refusal of the Sacraments”.
Common sense to you and I, I very much hope. Not so in Switzerland, in Austria, and in Germany. Just ask around.
Think of this: in a time where the clergy of the German-speaking countries bends over forward ( actually, bend over tout court) to maintain their scandalous privileges, a bishop has the gut to willingly renounce to them! In nearby Austria, Cardinal Schoenborn must be terrified…
A very short googling shows Bishop Huonder as rather conservative and not really loved by his own clergy (always a good sign). I do not now how truly conservative the bishop is, but it seems to me he is doing the right thing, and does not seem to fear any collapse in his diocese’s finances (long-term, probably somewhat of a diet; a very healthy thing for the Church in Switzerland, no doubt).
The days of the Kirchensteuer are clearly counted, in Switzerland as well as in nearby Austria and Germany.
Think of that, all that whoring around of the German-speaking clergy (I do not write one tenth of what I read, because my liver is dear to me; believe me there are no words harsh enough to describe them) for … for…
A far too long message in my comment box (alas, canned; If I let one pass, where will it end?) made me realise different cultural environments might lead the one or other reader to understand my message in the wrong way.
Let us be clear that I am very much in favour of Catholicism as State Religion; that I consider it very good that priests have a (modest) wage from the taxpayer; and that I consider, in general, a duty of the State to contribute to the material welfare of the Church as the Church works toward the spiritual welfare of the citizen.
The ideal model is in my eyes the one the Duce and Cardinal Gasparri (the then Secretary of State) put together with the Patti Lateranensi, the Concordato of 1929.
With the Concordato, the Church became State Religion, and the State took among its duties the one of caring for both the clergy and the infrastructure for a rapidly growing population. Priests had a salary which, if modest, was universally considered fitting to the position of a priest, who should be a witness of simple living even if he did not take a vow of poverty. There was no problem anymore of maintenance of churches, or of monasteries etc; the money problems which had afflicted the Church in Italy for decades were suddenly out of the door, but without generalised corruption and decadent lifestyle getting in from the window.
Of course, both sides tried to profit from the new situation: Mussolini “inaugurated” the agreement with a massive crackdown on the Azione Cattolica, a thorn in his side which he felt he could comfortably put in a dark corner due to the huge popularity – and the acquired reputation of, so to speak, “defender of the faith” – the agreement had given him; and in turn, observant Catholics began to be admitted within the ranks of the Partito Fascista and rapidly infiltrated it, to the point that already at the beginning of the Thirties the vecchia guardia, mostly recruited among angry anticlericals, did not understand the world anymore (immortal pages on this in that wonderful novel, Il giardino dei Finzi Contini). It worked the other way too, though, and it can be safely said in the Thirties the clergy was on average pretty much as Fascist as the rest of the country. All this to say that whilst there will always be influences (and a complete separation between Church and State is probably a dream and a legend), all in all things worked.
You have, though, heard me expressing myself in a very critical way concerning the Kirchensteuer. The reasons are as follows:
1) The Kirchensteuer is Protestant in structure and thinking. It is the idea that the churches finance themselves, and the State merely assists them in the administrative matters. This is un-Catholic. In Catholicism State and Church are separated as to their sphere of competence, but are supposed to work together nevertheless. In proper Catholicism, a State “neutral” towards the Church is so inconceivable as a State neutral toward Truth.
2) The Kirchensteuer is also Protestant because, at least in most people’s thinking, it links its payment with the membership to a religious community (as it is natural for… Protestants). Therefore, he who does not want to pay the “tax” is, automatically, considered not a member of the community, even if he is a Catholic simply and fully by virtue of his baptism and orthodox thinking. The idea that one would, in a way, un-baptise himself because he does not want to give money to a bunch of cowardly atheists is astonishing, but it is a concept many in, say, Germany would share.
3) The Kirchensteuer has given the Church an astonishing amount of money, which has not failed to corrupt her entirely: the growth of the wealth in Germany, Austria and Switzerland made of these countries great contributors to the Vatican coffers (last time I looked, Germany was the greatest worldwide), whilst Catholic priests (single, of course, most of them) have a standard of living which certainly puts in the shadow the one of their colleagues in every other country, UK obviously included (I know it; I live there).
4) The results of this are under everyone’s eyes: the priests, bishops and cardinals of the region (Austria, Switzerland, Germany) can be openly heretic and challenge Catholic teaching without any fear of retribution (see point 5 below); this they do in turn because they are godless cowards afraid of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Remember, this is not Fascist Italy and the Kirchensteuer is still a voluntary payment! The procedure to get out is red-taped but still doable; and even if the Germans call it Kirchenaustritt, “exit from the church” (again, a Protestant concept), which clearly poses a hurdle, this is nothing that couldn’t be done.
5) The corruption arrives clearly up to the Vatican: the Germans & Co. as big spenders can do what they please saying to Rome “if we lose our paying customers and go down in flames you lose your biggest contributors, too”; therefore, the Vatican does not attack the heresy and does not tackle the unpopular issues in Germany & Co. because they, too, are afraid of mass exodus and relevant loss of dough. Just look at the Pope addressing the Germans who divorce and remarry not as unrepentant fornicators living in sin and even having the effrontery of thinking they are in the right, but as good Christians pandered to in their “suffering”. Those of you able to read German sites know that the wannabe pious doublespeak is uninterrupted, and simply unbearable.
6) Another result of the Kirchensteuer is the complete assimilation of the priests to the general population. In Italy when I grew up you could at least know that your priests were poor, and an example of some social prestige coupled with decorous, but still clearly perceivable poverty (the Duce knew how to do things properly; he allowed the taxpayer to provide for the expenses without anyone feeling exploited by the excessive welfare of the clergy); but in Germany a Catholic priest is so comfortably middle-class it is not an utter surprise he wants – particularly if he has lost his faith – to stay there.
At the same time, the means not only to think of sin but of putting the thought in practice (a more or less unofficial mistress, say, and one or two well-raised children on the side) are certainly available. Can we be surprised that so many priests in the area are in favour of “married” priests? Where do you think their new theological convictions come from?
Fortunately for Catholicism, what our heroes are doing is … killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. The desire of assimilation (and mistresses, and children, or simply “integration” and “approval”) created a first generation of terribly ignorant faithful, who would still pay the Kirchensteuer without really understanding why, or not to anger their parents; but the following generation started to fornicate, divorce, remarry like there’s no tomorrow, and cannot even understand (as in: they do not really know, because they aren’t really told) why they should not be right and the Church wrong. It is, therefore, absolutely fitting that they now want to get out of a church which never instructed them and still tells them that she would really, really like to please them, but it is just so, so difficult with all those rules and stuff… (don’t joke: this is the climate).
The German church has planted wickedness and has reaped evil. Good riddance to the Kirchensteuer, a system which will most certainly not survive this generation in this form, and let us hope that a new generation may have a poorer, but better instructed and more faithful clergy desirous to save souls rather than their income, or popularity, or mistresses.
It is a mystery to me how a person might think he is not a Catholic anymore because he refuses to pay a mafia-like monetary contribution (truly redolent of the Sicilian pizzo) to the local Church. Still, I do not come from the German-speaking world, where people tend, erm, to be a bit more rigid.
Now a Swiss citizen (a true Catholic, but fed up with the local mafia) decided to stop paying the Kirchensteuer and – obviously – remain a Catholic. Unsurprisingly, the local hierarchy was not persuaded baptism and orthodoxy are enough: if you don’t pay the pizzo to us, they said to her, you aren’t Catholic anymore. Kapiert?
A ten-year legal war ensued, at the end of which the local church spectacularly lost. The reason given by the judges is very simple: no religious organisation can impose the membership to a purely worldly structure (or I would say: the payment of a contribution to an administrative apparatus) as a condition for an individual to be a member of that religion; better said, it cannot impose the membership to the administrative apparatus to those Catholics who do not refuse the membership to the religion, but merely the payment to the apparatus.
To make a comparison, it is as if Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols would say to you “either you pay me money or you aren’t a Catholic anymore; and I don’t care if you are a perfectly orthodox baptised Catholic who doesn’t object to being a Catholic, but merely object to giving money for me to squander. Either you pay, or you aren’t Catholic”.
Madness, of course, for an Italian or an Englishman – and so un-Catholic, substituting Christian charity for a mafia-exercise in more than vague odour of simony – but unfortunately a serious problem for many Catholics in the German-speaking area, accustomed for several generations now to identify the paying of the tax with the belonging to the religion.
As a result of the decision, the membership to the Catholic Church is now formally separated from the support to the administrative apparatus through the Kirchensteuer. Therefore, every Swiss Catholic can refuse to pay the pizzo (the same way you and I don’t pay it) in the full knowledge of remaining as much a member of the Church as you and I are.
For the avoidance of doubt, I do not doubt the lady is a good Catholic who makes her charitable contributions for the welfare of the (Catholic) world. But as everywhere on the planet outside of German-speaking countries, she will be able to:
a) choose herself how much she wants to freely give (it’s called charity; a concept apparently unknown to Swiss bishops), and
b) choose herself to whom she wants to give her money, rather than feeling obliged to feed a corrupt, more or less heretical apparatus of very well-fed cowards prostituting themselves to the mood of the paying mob.
This is, in the long-term, a deadly blow for the Kirchensteuer, a system clearly based on the concept of automatic and obligatory payment and which cannot survive in its present form once the payment automatism is eliminated.
Kudos to the Swiss judges, and let us hope some people start to open their eyes even in Germany. It is now absolutely evident the Kirchensteuer is the main reason why the Church in Germany is so scandalously on the side of the lapsed ( but largely still Kirchensteuer-paying) Catholics, as the local clergy prostitute themselves to the mob in order to avoid their exit from the Kirchensteuer-system. It is better for this system to die, and for the Church to stop the addiction to the huge stream of money it causes, than to see this endless procession of priests, bishops and cardinals utterly selling themselves to people with no respect for Catholic truth, but whose money they want.
This is a small step in this direction. No doubt, the future will bring others. To a Catholic from outside the German-speaking area, the very concept one wouldn’t be a Catholic if one doesn’t pay a tax is simply absurd.
In order to try to understand what is happening in Austria, it is perhaps useful to inform the readers about a peculiarity of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In these countries, you can pay a kind of voluntary tax, or more simply said a tithe, through your normal income tax. This is called Kirchensteuer in Germany and Switzerland, and Kirchenbeitrag in Austria.
This means that:
1) the taxman will do everything for you, and give the money to the relevant church;
2) Once you have registered for the tax, you’ll pay automatically in proportion to your income tax (Germany) or to your taxable income (Austria);
3) In Germany, the procedure to get out of the tax was considered, last time I looked, bureaucratic and unpleasant, so that there is a kind of psychological/administrative disincentive to the dreaded Kirchenaustritt, the getting out of the system.
In the countries where it is in place, the Kirchensteuer ensures vast sums of money to the relevant church organisations. This is why the German priests are probably the best off of the planet (the Swiss ones might beat them, though), and I can easily imagine that the Austrian ones are not left very far behind.
Now, in order to try to understand the (shameless) workings of Cardinal Schönborn’s mind, you must understand that in Germany and Austria, a lot of people pay the Kirchensteuer, who don’t go to Mass or even believe in God. This has cultural and historical reasons: in the traditionally Protestant Germany the belonging to a church is more strictly linked to the paying of the tithe; but even among Catholics, the paying of the Kirchensteuer is often seen as a kind of “doing one’s duty”: I don’t go to Mass, the reasoning goes, but I do my part financially so it’s all right. Don’t think that the German clergy does anything to persuade them that this is not true! Various other elements traditionally concurred, like the scandal of the parents if one started to talk about Kirchenaustritt, the shame of telling one’s parent that one doesn’t even believe in God anymore, the fact that the Germans live in small(ish) villages in greater percentages than Brits or Italians, the clear Christian roots, the diffused moral conservatism, etc. A colleague of mine was once told in no uncertain terms that in case of Kirchenaustritt she would be disinherited. You understand from this that the grip of the Kirchensteuer-system on the country was, in the past, rather strong.
After V II we therefore had a very strange situation: millions and millions of people who have forgotten – or haven’t been taught – the very basics of Catholicism, but who are the one who pay for it. This creates, in my eyes, several distortions:
1) Many Catholics have started to believe, in their culpable ignorance, that their paying gives them the right to meddle in the way the shop is run from the theological point of view. Austria is an extreme example.
2) The Catholic Church in these countries has become a fat, satiated, overinflated, bureaucratic, ministerial apparatus providing a service to their non-churchgoing clients: the Church has lost them as solid Catholics, and she now panders to their wishes in order not to lose them as good spenders. We see this in Germany but, most clearly, in Austria.
3) There is no incentive for the local priests to have a vibrant, orthodox Catholic community. The priest knows that the shop lives largely out of those whom he never sees. He knows that the thread which keeps them linked to the Kirchensteuer-system is rather feeble, and becomes more so as the older generation dies. Therefore he tries, like Simon & Garfunkel, to keep the customer satisfied.
4) The dissatisfaction has become more virulent with the scandals; scandals which have hit Austria particularly hard and by which the late Pope Blessed John Paul II distinguished himself with his well-known talent for trusting the wrong people, then denying reality, then denying reality again, then doing nothing, then protecting his friends, then finally doing too little, and too late. This has caused permanent damage in a country where church attendance was already dwindling and respect for and obedience to the Church as an institution not taught at all.
Mind that this situation is different from, say, Italy. In Italy you pay a part of your taxes to either the Church or some other organisation of your choice, but you can’t choose whether to give or not. In Germany and Austria it is different: once you get out, your net pay increases.
This is, then, the situation Cardinal Schoenborn is facing: great dissatisfaction with church scandals from people who haven’t been properly instructed, and therefore think they can make the rules. At the same time – again, these people not being properly instructed – the hierarchy is afraid of telling things as they are, lest a mass exodus from the voluntary tax occurs.
The edifice is now trembling, the Kirchenaustritte fastly accelerating, and the Church in Austria reacts….. trying to keep the customer satisfied.
Now: if Cardinal Schoenborn believed in God, he would simply do what is right and trust that Providence will always give the Church the money it needs; he would strongly call his sheep to obedience, punish the rebels, instruct the others, and be an example of orthodoxy himself. In short, he would do his job and serve God instead of Mammon.
Instead, Cardinal Schoenborn authorises the exhibition in the Cathedral museum of a work of (degenerate) art showing the Last Supper as homosexual orgy, a feat possibly beyond Peter Tatchell. He authorises the strikingly sacrilegious Western Masses, and this for three years in a row and not caring for opposition. He flies to Medjugorje without consultation with the local bishop, further encouraging the very questionable – and censored by the local bishop – “nuChristianity”, “Madonna at teatime”, “ecumaniacal” practices going on there. He expresses himself more or less in favour of married priests (not a heretical position in itself) with reference to the (homosexual, but don’t tell him) pedophile scandal to please the angry liberals. He expresses himself in conciliatory ways towards sodomites living together.
This is not the behaviour of one who believes in God. This is the behaviour of one who, in plain language, doesn’t care a straw for anything else than his own popularity among the public and the proceeds from the Kirchensteuer.This is the simony of modern times.
This explains, I think, his behaviour and the constant pandering for the favour of the angry Austrians sitting (or more often, not sitting) in the pews. He silently encourages rebellious behaviour in his priests so that they can give the angry spenders the motivation to stay in and continue to pay; when an open uprising erupts, he does as little as he absolutely must, at the same time sending a clear message that he is not the enemy of the heretics, Rome is; he authorises the above mentioned blasphemous exhibition initiative to pander to the atheists and show them that he really doesn’t care for God, so they have nothing to fear from him (but they can continue to pay to please their mother, bitte sehr); he makes a mockery of the mass (see also here for another mass after his liking) in order to please the ignorant crowds.
In doing all this, Cardinal Schönborn always pays attention not to stretch things too much: he is always ready to backpedal (blasphemous exhibition; western masses; Sodano criticism) when he must, but he always does things in a way which lets him appear the “good, sensitive, modern guy” even when he must cave in. You see how it works here: I’ll show to my customers that I am such a capital chap; and then I’ll backpedal if I have to, deflecting the criticism in Rome’s direction.
This is how Cardinal Schoenborn is presiding over the slow destruction of Catholicism in Austria. His example might find imitators in Germany and Switzerland, particularly if the “Call to Disobedience” is not stopped very soon; he will do the latter when the pressure becomes strong enough, and not one moment before; as always, paying attention to appear like the good guy; the one whose bills atheists, militant homos and rebellious Catholics can continue to pay in good conscience. I so wish the Cardinal would hear from Rome some words from the same song:
you’re in trouble boy,
and now you’re heading into more.
Don’t hold your breath.
The Daily Telegraph (you will remember, this is the newspaper which calls itself “conservative” but calls homosexuals and sodomites “gay” and puts obscene photos of homos kissing on their internet page, for every child to see) gives us just another example of how not to be a journalist.
As you can see in the link, there are several anti-Catholic messages in this article:
1) the reference to the Nazi-built stadium. Now, not even the “Telegraph”‘s most astonishingly leftist journalist would, I hope, suggest that all public buildings and structures erected by the Nazis (and an awful lot of them there were; if you ask me, mostly extremely beautiful; many survived the war) be destroyed because hey, “they were built by the Nazis”. If this is a logical statement (which it is), it follows that the Olympic Stadium is simply… the Olympic stadium and the fact that it was built by Hitler is, subsequently, neither here nor there. Clearly, though, the desire to put the Pope in contact with whatever smell of Nazism could be found was clearly irresistible.
2) The journalist is good enough to mention the fact that Pope Benedict’s membership of the Hitlerjugend was compulsory, but one wonders what relevance the Pope being drafted (that’s just what it was: you got drafted and you became a member of the Hitlerjugend, there was no other organisation where you could have landed) as millions of Germans of his age has to his travelling to Germany. Once again, the desire to put the Pope in contact with whatever smell of Nazism could be found was clearly irresistible.
3) Just in case you didn’t get the message, among the hundreds of articles about Pope Benedict the “Telegraph” could have linked to, what do our pink heroes choose? But of course! They choose an article with the following title: “Vatican: don’t mention the Pope’s Hitler Youth past”. Think of this, this is a historical papacy which gave us Summorum Pontificum; a visit to England is not many months old, which visit stunned the country for its success and the amount of public participation; also directly related to the British Isles, Anglicanorum Coetibus is another historical step with potentially vast long-term repercussions on the future of Anglicanism. But what do you think the “Daily Homograph” considers worthy of being “related” to the papal visit? Ah, the fact that the Vatican tries to influence journalists about the Pope’s past, of course! Once again, the desire to put the Pope in contact with whatever smell of Nazism could be found was clearly irresistible. , and here a dab of “oppressive and manipulative Vatican” is added for good measure.
4) Then there’s the matter of the Catholics “leaving the Church” in record numbers, which is clearly bollocks. What all these people do is very clearly not stop going to Mass – at least, not because they stop paying – but simply stop paying the “Kirchensteuer”, the infamous “church tax” in place in Germany and in a couple of other countries. This is a typical Protestant construct, a (voluntary but in the past, more or less socially expected) tithe paid directly from one’s wage which leaves the faithful with no control whatsoever as to how much he wants to give, and to whom. This is Castrism, not Christian charity. The result is that Germany has a clergy both extremely well off, and extremely tepidly Catholic. Why should they care? They can abandon themselves to every sort of circus and liberal tomfoolery and the money is there, guaranteed and aplenty….
The system of the “Kirchensteuer” is now clearly going down in flames, as it should. But this doesn’t mean that interest in Catholicism is diminishing, let alone that people are leaving the Church in record numbers. It just means that they are fed up with having to pay a “church tax”, which can only be good for the local church and might, who knows, force some of their priests to convert to Catholicism.
5) Dulcis in fundo, the entire article is, actually, wrong. The news here is that a big venue had been booked for the Papal visit, but this venue had to be abandoned because…. it is not big enough. This means that the attraction of the Pope is beyond the previsions, even considering that this is the travel of a German Pope to his own country.
What about, then, a headline like: “Success of Papal Visit forces change in venue”, or: “Crowds wanting to see Pope Benedict force use of Olympic Stadium”, or: “Papal visit: 40,000 places not enough for Berlin”. Note here that Berlin is historically Protestant and nowadays largely atheist, which makes the news even more noteworthy.
Well, it wasn’t to be. Something had to be found to smear the Holy Father with a dash of Nazism, and downplay the success his visit is very clearly heading to. You can’t tell your readers that this Pope awakens great sympathy even in uber-Liberal Germany so that a big stadium must be used, can you now? No, let us build the article on the “crisis of Catholicism” in Germany and let us paint the Pope with a broad Nazi brush. Let me see, what headline could we use? hmm, yes: “Pope’s Berlin Mass moved to Nazi Olympic Site” will do…
The “Daily Telegraph” is a nest of anti-Catholic hacks, in part motivated by the clear homosexuality to be found among their ranks. It is just that the newspaper being officially “conservative” doesn’t allow them to make an overt anti-Catholic and pro-homo propaganda, and more subtle messages must be sent.
Please don’t buy this rag.