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Are German Catholic bishops trying to export their model for failure?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 01, 2018

As Vatican officials prepare for a "summit meeting" with a delegation from the German hierarchy, to discuss the German bishops' proposal for allowing intercommunion, John Allen of Crux provides a glimpse of reality:

Those who know the reality of German Catholicism generally say things break down like this: Most Catholics and Protestants in mixed marriages aren't going to church on a regular basis anyway, so the issue of intercommunion doesn't really arise. For those who do, and when the Protestant partner desires to receive Communion, most long ago found an understanding pastor and quietly have been taking part in the sacrament all along. Observers say the numbers who want Communion but who, for one reason or another, are blocked from it, are comparatively small.

In other words, this isn't really a big issue. So why is it such a big issue? And come to think of it, couldn't something similar be said about Amoris Laetitia and the question of Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics? How many people in that category are actually barred from Communion in practice? Aren't most far more likely to stay away from Mass in any case—or, if they are Mass-goers, to find a pastor who will accommodate them?

As Allen notes, their policy would not change things much for their own people in Germany. But it would cause enormous changes in other countries. Yet the German bishops (I should say a majority of the German bishops, not all) seem determined to plunge ahead with their proposal. Why?

Is the German hierarchy, not content with having driven hundreds of thousands of Catholics out of the Church in their own land, now seeking to export their model of failed leadership?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - May. 06, 2018 10:22 PM ET USA

    This is just false Theology AND Philosophy. The means never justify the ends. Amoris is not about this abuse - period. Seems unlikely the sheer number of receivers have found valid counsel with a Pastor. Do we even have souls anymore or is that a fairytale now too? Being Catholic is not a game and not a club. Either there is ultimate reality or there is not. Either Christ died & rose from the dead or he did not. I want to be a SF Army soldier; if I buy a green beret does that make me one?

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 02, 2018 1:29 PM ET USA

    In answer to the question posed in your final sentence: yes. If they can spread their failed approach even more widely in the Church than they have already done, there’ll be fewer examples of success to contrast with their sorry record.