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Acies Ordinata: Munich Edition – An Interview with Roberto De Mattei

This morning, Saturday, January 18, 2020, Acies Ordinata, an assembly of prayer was held in Munich, Bavaria. Acies Ordinata is an international coalition of lay Catholics faithful to the Tradition of the Church. After the two preceding assemblies, which were held in Rome on February 19, 2019, and September 28, 2019, the city of Munich has been chosen for this assembly, because it is the episcopal see of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and President of the German Bishops’ Conference.

The German Bishops, after promoting the Synod on the Amazon ideologically and financially, today constitute the most advanced place of the Revolution in the Church. This coming January 30 they will gather in plenary assembly in Frankfurt to discuss the “Synodal Way” to be undertaken after the Synod on the Amazon. For this reason, the participants in the Acies Ordinata, as done previously in the other assemblies, will stand for one hour, this time gathered in front of the Theatinerkirche, the great church of the Theatines in the center of Munich, which today is in the care of the Dominicans. They do so as a sign of respectful but firm protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President.

OnePeterFive is pleased to present the following interview with Professor Roberto de Mattei, the promoter of these events.

First of all, what is the Acies Ordinata?

The Acies Ordinata is an assembly of lay Catholics who want to publicly witness to their fidelity to the Church. We remain standing in silence for one hour, with the Rosary in hand, in order to express our resistance to the process of self-destruction of the Church. It seems that the hour has come for us to wake from sleep (Rom 13:11), recalling the words of Pius XII: “It is necessary for all militant Catholics to be on their feet and fight with the weapons that have been given to them (Radio Message of December 8, 1953).

Why is this Acies Ordinata on January 18 taking place in Munich?

Because Munich, Bavaria is the episcopal seat of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and president of the German Bishops’ Conference. On December 1, 2019, in the Munich Cathedral, Cardinal Marx opened the “Synodal Way” of the German Church. The next step will be on January 30, 2020, in the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew in Frankfurt-on-Main, where the first plenary assembly of bishops will discuss the “Synodal Way” to follow after the Synod on the Amazon. It is love for the Church that brings us together, in order to raise our respectful but firm protest against the path being undertaken by the German bishops.

Why is this “Synodal Way” dangerous?

The “Synodal Way” was defined by the German Bishops’ Conference in collaboration with the Zentralkomitee der Deutsche Katholiken (ZdK), a group of German lay people who promote the changing of the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, admitting women to ecclesiastical ministries, the marriage of priests and the blessing of homosexual couples. All of these demands are part of the “Synodal Way” initiated by Cardinal Marx.

What are you asking of the German Bishops?

The goal of our assembly is an appeal for clarity and coherence on the eve of the bishops’ assembly on January 30. If the German bishops want to persist in their errors they should have the coherence and consistency to leave the Catholic Church.

But by saying that aren’t you pushing them into the sin of schism?

Our starting premise is that the schism within the German Church as well as the Universal Church already exists, even if it is not formally declared. For this reason I prefer to speak of the existence of two religions within the same Church, more than two opposing churches. Because, naturally, there exists only one True Church, the one divinely founded by Jesus Christ. We naturally are not asking for a schism, either from God or from the German Bishops. We ask only that the German Bishops assume their responsibility: the ideal situation would be that they return to the orthodox faith of the Church, but if they want to follow the Synodal Way to its ending they will also be assuming formal responsibility for a schism, which already exists on the practical level. It is never permissible to actively cooperate with evil, but one when faced with two evils one may choose the lesser of two evils. And I maintain that a heretic who remains within the Church represents a greater evil than a heretic who leaves her.

The problem is that Pope Francis seems to protect and support them.

It is probable that Pope Francis shares the same goals as the German Bishops, but he would like to arrive at them in a more gradual manner than they want to. This interpretation would explain Pope Francis’ “Letter to the Pilgrim People of God in Germany” issued on June 29, 2019.

For this reason, we ask for clarity also from Pope Francis. He is not ignorant of the position of the German Bishops and their objective, which is to extend the “binding” decisions of their “Permanent Synod” to the universal Church. If Pope Francis shared their doctrinal deviations then he should have the courage to say so openly. In this case however, they should not form a Roman-Germanic Church but an Amazonian-Germanic Church, separate from the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church. We we will never leave the Roman Church and we will never enter into the Amazonian Church.

You have said that German Catholics should not pay the “Kirchensteuer,” the Church tax that is obligatory for Catholics, because it funds the German Bishops and their heretical path. And yet, one can only avoid paying this tax by making a declaration abandoning the Catholic faith and formally leaving the Catholic Church (Kirchenaustritt). But in this case the result is being excommunicated. What should a Catholic person do in this situation?

In this situation, the excommunication would be invalid, because the act of formally leaving the Catholic Church (Kirchenaustritt), in order to have canonical relevance, must be a free and conscious choice, not an act one is forced into when someone, for whatever reason, wants to avoid paying the ecclesiastical tax. There is an official Vatican document that explains this: the Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica, issued on March 13, 2006, by the Pontifical Council for Leigslative Texts (Actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica).

Is there a relationship between the German “Synodal Way” and the Synod on the Amazon that concluded last October 27 in Rome?

The German “Synodal Way” is the continuation of the Synod on the Amazon, as stated by Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück in an interview in the National Catholic Register on November 21, 2019. He said, speaking of the “Synodal Way,” “this is the first time this has happened in the Church,” and, “in view of the situation in Germany” the questions raised by the Pan-Amazonian Synod “are also of great importance for our Synodal Path.” Likewise, the questions that will be raised by the German “Synodal Way” will have consequences not only in Germany but in the whole world.

What would you say to those who think that your Acies Ordinata is an interference in the life of the Church in Germany?

What is at stake is the future of not only the German Church but the universal Church. According to Cardinal Müller, “the ‘German Church’ is claiming hegemony over the Universal Church and proudly and arrogantly boasting of being the one who decides the direction that a Christianity at peace with modernity ought to take.” The Catholic Church is not a national Church, but a Universal Church, to which all Catholics throughout the world belong in a spirit of brotherly love. We are lay people coming from all over the world. By our symbolic presence in Rome, Munich, or any other part of the world, we wish to demonstrate that the militant spirit has not weakened in the Church, and that there still exist those who fight for her honor and glory.

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

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