In Memoriam: Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s Funeral Homily for Father Ingo Dollinger

Editor’s Note: We at OnePeterFive have developed a special relationship with Father (Dr.) Ingo Dollinger, through our collaboration with him in 2016, wherein he revealed to us his own insights, based on his personal relationship with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his recollection of a conversation he had with then-Cardinal Ratzinger about the Third Secret of Fatima. Dr. Dollinger passed away on Trinity Sunday, 11 June 2017.

In the following, we present Bishop Athanasius Schneider’ Homily at the Requiem Mass he offered today for Father (Dr.) Ingo Dollinger. Bishop Schneider counted himself among the students of Dr. Dollinger, himself a spiritual son of St. Padre Pio. Bishop Schneider kindly gave us permission to publish his homily. The secretary of Dr. Dollinger was so generous to share with us a picture of Dr. Dollinger’s deathbed, as well as pictures of a meeting between Dr. Dollinger and Bishop Schneider in Wigratzbad, Germany.

For more information about this exceptional priest, please see Maike Hickson’s moving profile of his life. May we now all pray for the repose of his soul and his eternal felicity in death.

Father Ingo Dollinger on his deathbed. May he rest in peace.

Homily for the Requiem Mass for Reverend Dr. Ingo Dollinger, Opfenbach/St. Nikolaus Church, 19 June 2017 [Bavaria, Germany]

Dear Reverend Brothers in the Priesthood, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, dear Christian Congregation of Mourners,

“The King, unto whom all things live, come let us adore Him! Regem, Cui omnia vivunt, venite, adoremus!” These words taken from the Office for the Dead today shine over the priestly life of our esteemed and beloved Dr. Ingo Dollinger. Christ, Our Lord and King, has given His Servant Ingo Dollinger a long and spiritually very fruitful priestly life. Perhaps the following statement could best describe the kernel of the whole existence and activity of Dr. Dollinger: “He was a priest fully moved and seized by God.” This “being-moved-by-God” was the hidden power which gave to this priest an intensive and, so to speak, a mystical spiritual life; and which, at the same time, moved him unto a restless, self-consuming apostolic life. A mystic with restless zeal for the honor of Christ, his King.

The priest Ingo Dollinger was a priest who was fully concentrated on the essential, on Christ, the only necessary entity. That is why the life of prayer was at the center of his life. He daily spent several hours in prayer, and that was the case not only in his last years of his life which were marked by illness. That was a habit in his whole priestly life. He repeatedly said: “Without prayer, my soul atrophies,” “without prayer, I cannot do anything.” In his spiritual talks, he often said: “In our life, everything depends upon one’s union with the Lord. Everything depends upon our conscious, loving union with the Lord throughout the whole day.” Already at the time when he was a newly ordained priest, he wrote profound letters about God’s love for us and our love for God.

The words and the deeds of Reverend Dr. Dollinger are a witness for just how vividly he grasped the supernatural greatness of the priesthood and how much he treasured the unique Grace of the Priestly Vocation. This, his very attitude, was essentially formed by Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina from whom he was often able to receive the Sacrament of Penance. Dr. Dollinger said repeatedly that he considered the encounters with Saint Padre Pio to be one of the greatest Graces of his life. In Saint Padre Pio, Dr. Dollinger saw and experienced that which a Catholic priest finally should be, that is to say: to be, as it were, in love with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and with the salvation of souls through the administration of the Sacrament of Penance.

A worthy, inmost, and reverend celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and an untiring, patient, and fatherly administration of the Sacrament of Penance accompanied by individual spiritual direction were the two focal points upon which the priestly work of Reverend Dr. Dollinger was concentrated. Out of this grace-filled experience and recognition of these two spiritually life-sustaining and irreplaceable priestly acts in the Church, there grew in him a great zeal to work in the Church of our times for the priestly formation, that is to say for a priestly formation according to the unchangeable and entire Faith, the immutable beauty and dignity of the liturgy and a truly Catholic image of a priest following the model of the great saintly priestly figures.

With this work, Reverend Dr. Dollinger was an instrument of Divine Providence, because he was allowed to make such a meritorious contribution to priestly formation at a time where the priestly formation, the priesthood, just like the Church as a whole, found themselves in a deep crisis, a crisis that had nearly never existed in such a manner before, and one that has now grown worse in our own days. Thus Dr. Dollinger was able energetically to assist some new religious communities awakened by Divine Providence in order that they may receive the ecclesiastical approval for their work of renewing the Church, and especially for a truly Catholic priestly formation.

Father Dollinger (at far right) at a priestly ordination ceremony given by Bishop Manoel Pestana Filho.

His decade-long work for the center of priestly formation in Brazil, in the city of Anapolis, gained a special importance; it was at a time – the eighties of the previous century – when the so-called Liberation Theology was at the height of its influence. As it is well known, this theory and praxis is a quasi-Marxist and naturalistic re-interpretation of the Gospels. Additionally, Anapolis is part of a region in Brazil which was known to be a stronghold of Liberation Theology. For many years, Dr. Dollinger was in Anapolis the regent of the diocesan priestly seminary, as well as the rector of the Institutum Sapientiae, a philosophical-theological university of the Order of the Holy Cross. In this his engagement, he was always respectfully supported by the confessor-bishop of Anapolis, Dom Manoel Pestana. In Brazil, Dr. Dollinger left behind not only a part of his health, but also especially his great priestly heart. Not a small number of Brazilian priests and not few German priests, but also some African priests consider him to be their priestly father and teacher. I myself had the joy of having had Dr. Dollinger as an exemplary priestly teacher for whom I shall remain always grateful.

Bishop Schneider with his former professor, Fr. Dollinger, during their last visit together in February, 2017.

From Africa, a priest recently wrote to me the following moving words concerning the passing of Dr. Dollinger: “My heartfelt condolences upon the passing of our beloved father in Christ and in the Faith. If there could exist copies of human persons, there would nevertheless be no one else like Reverend Dollinger!!! He was a gift, a miracle of God in our times, a gift to and for the Holy Church, an educator of a new generation of priests!!! Happy are those who were able to experience and listen to his lectures. But even happier will be those who will be able to continue his zeal, his love and his priestly example. I beg of you: Take us his students all along with you to his funeral in order to pray before his laid out body which, without doubt, will be in a state of having an “odorem suavitatis” (a fragrance of sweetness)!!”

Bishop Manoel Pestana Filho and Dom Atanásio Schneider. The pair have been referred to as “The Two Athanasians” for their tireless defense of the faith. (Source)

Dr. Dollinger’s lasting and important deed in the Church’s history was his energetic assistance which he, together with Bishop Josef Stimpfle [of Augsburg] and the German Bishops’ Conference, offered to the Holy See concerning the question of how to assess Freemasonry in light of theology and Canon Law. This contribution was decisive for the 1983 statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith according to which the principles and the practices of Freemasonry, in a serious manner, contradict the Catholic Faith; and that, therefore, members of Freemasonry objectively find themselves in the state of grave sin and, consequently, may not at all receive Holy Communion.

Reverend Dr. Ingo Dollinger, a priest fully moved by God. Many people can witness to the fact that his eyes filled with tears whenever he spoke about God, especially when he spoke about the Holy Trinity. It was so to speak a gift of Divine Providence that He called His loyal servant from this life to Himself on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. That is to say, at the time of the start of the Office of Vespers, where the Church sings these words: “Iam sol recedit igneus, Tu lux perennis Unitas, nostris, beata Trinitas, infunde amorem cordibus,” “While now the resplendent, radiant sun recedes and sets, pour love into our hearts, O! Thou Light, Thou Eternal Unity, O! Thou Blessed Trinity.”

Let us pray that the soul of Reverend Dr. Dollinger may now be increasingly filled by and with this Light, in order soon – having been purified – to see the Love of the Holy Trinity. “The King, unto whom all things live, come let us adore Him! Regem, Cui omnia vivunt, venite, adoremus!”

Translation Dr. Maike Hickson

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Here also see an additional article (in Portugese; no English translation is currently available) by Bishop Schneider about Dr. Dollinger.

Update, 20 June: Reports have come to us that the Funeral Mass for Dr. Dollinger was “a very dignified and grace-filled” event. According to one source, 400 mourners with 50 priests were present. As another source put it, the whole event “was incredible.”

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