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Patterns of Change: Cardinal Marx’ Revealing Words about Pope Francis and Married Priests

Last week, there took place in Germany the Spring General Assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference with more than 60 German bishops present. As we reported, it was exactly during the time of this episcopal meeting that a significant interview with Pope Francis was also published, and prominently, in a German national weekly newspaper Die Zeit. Though this interview only appeared on the magazine stands on Thursday, 9 March – the last day of the episcopal meeting – the essence of Pope Francis’ message was already published the day before, and this by the German Bishops’ Conference’s own website, Why this fact is important may be seen in light of the second fact, namely that Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the President of the German Bishops’ Conference, had insisted that this papal interview be published only at the end of the episcopal meeting.

However, many Catholic observers thought to see here a direct connection between the German Bishops’ gathering and the themes of the papal interview, inasmuch as Pope Francis for the first time explicitly and ominously opened up the idea of ordaining certain so-called viri probati to the priesthood, but without yet clearly saying so. Viri probati are as of now those married men who have abidingly lived a tested and proven life of virtue and who would thus be eligible for the permanent diaconate. Francis additionally said in this 9 March interview, after being asked about the possibility of married priests:

But voluntary celibacy is not the answer. […] We have to reflect about whether the viri probati are a possibility. Then we also have to determine which tasks they could have, for example in far distant parishes. […] In the Church, it is always important to recognize the right moment, to recognize when the Holy Ghost demands something. That is why I say that we will continue to reflect about the viri probati. [my emphasis]

What Pope Francis is apparently saying here is that he wishes not to introduce the married priesthood generally – thus his current rejection of the more permissive idea of a merely “voluntary celibacy” – but he wishes, first of all, to discuss – in the context of some far distant parishes – the idea of making use of viri probati whose tasks are still, however, to be determined. But, Pope Francis does mention in this context the lack of the Eucharist in many areas of the world.

While this all sounds rather vague, it implies something very important potentially for the Catholic Church: because it is mainly about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist, as well as about the Sacrament of Penance. Many of the other duties of a priest (such as teaching the Faith, visiting the sick, giving a homily, give out Holy Communion, conduct wake and funeral services without the Holy Mass) may be exercised by a married deacon, but not the administration of most of the Sacraments. (A deacon may perform the Sacrament of Baptism, and witness a marriage (without Holy Mass), but he is not authorized to administer the other Sacraments.) That is to say: if it were not for the current lack of the Holy Mass and Holy Eucharist, as well as of the Sacrament of Penance in certain areas of the world, one would not now be discussing the question of the possible ordination of the viri probati.

Thus it seems to many that, while Pope Francis is speaking in a customarily vague way, he is hinting that a married priesthood is soon to be seriously (and momentously) discussed.

It is in this context that Cardinal Reinhard Marx may well help us, because he has now revealed some of Pope Francis’ privately spoken words to him in this matter. For, Marx gave on 9 March a press conference at the end of last week’s General Assembly of the German bishops in Bergisch Gladbach; and what he presented was very revealing of some proposed initiatives, and it thereby helps us to understand the deeper “Patterns of Change.” We might realize that we are about to start a similar process of “change” as we have gone through these last years with regard to the “remarried” divorcees and their possible access to the Sacraments.

Let me therefore now present some of the most important themes mentioned during that German bishops’ press conference, many of which were brought to light by the very questions of some journalists.

In the following, I shall thus propose to show:

  • how Pope Francis had already read the new and very liberalizing German pastoral guidelines with regard to Amoris Laetitia before praising them in a later personal conversation with Cardinal Marx;
  • how Marx still insists that Amoris Laetitia is not ambiguous, and is the clear result of the discussions at the two Family Synods later approved by a two-thirds majority;
  • how Marx thinks that there should be no taboos with regard to the discussion of the further uses of the viri probati;
  • how the German bishops had themselves discussed the matter of the viri probati with Pope Francis during their own 2015 Ad Limina visit;
  • how on the occasion of the 2015 meeting with the German bishops, Pope Francis revealingly praised the work of Bishop emeritus Fritz Lobinger, who proposes to ordain male (and female) married persons as “elders” and priests;
  • how Cardinal Marx “cannot exclude” the possibility that the viri probati discussion will also come up at the upcoming Youth Synod in October of 2018, in Rome;
  • and how there will soon be some progress made in Germany with regard to the intercommunion question with the Protestants.

Let us now go further into detail and first present some of Cardinal Marx’ statements at that concluding 9 March press conference. After a fairly short summary of the discussions at the spring meeting of the German bishops, Cardinal Marx responded to many questions from the journalists.

The first theme here to be presented is the question of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the German bishop’s own subsequent pastoral guidelines allowing – under certain conditions and on a case-by-case basis – the “remarried” divorcees licit access to the Sacraments. Cardinal Marx himself had said the following at the beginning of the episcopal meeting, on 6 March:

I gave to the pope [when meeting with him in Rome on 6 February 2017] the text which we had made with regard to Amoris Laetitia, and he has received it with joy; I was able to speak with him about it, and he considers it to be right that the local churches make their own statements once more, and that they therein draw their own pastoral conclusions; and [he] is very positive about this and he received it very positively that we as the German Bishops’ Conference have written such a text. [my emphasis]

When then later asked at the 9 March press conference about this earlier comment and whether at that same meeting Pope Francis had made some more comments with regard to the different interpretations of Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Marx responded, saying “no, we have not spoken about that.” He explained that he

also did not discuss [the matter] in detail with the pope. I gave it [the new pastoral guidelines] to him, and he had also already read the summary [of the German text], and he received it with benevolence; but we did not discuss it in detail.

This short comment is helpful for us in order to see clearly that Pope Francis himself had approved the German pastoral guidelines after having already read the summary of that text! This is worth highlighting so that no one may validly argue that the pope did not know what he was praising at the time.

Additionally, Cardinal Marx repeated in this context the argumentation of many others, namely that “Amoris Laetitia is not ambiguous” and that it is merely the result of what the two Family Synods had decided upon, also with regard to “irregular relationships” (sic – i.e., cohabitation and homosexual unions, as well?), and with a two-thirds majority. (This is not the place to discuss this matter, but this claim has already been rather thoroughly refuted, also since such access to the Sacraments for the “remarried” was not even mentioned in the final 2015 Synod document.) Cardinal Marx concluded his comments on this topic of Amoris Laetitia with the words: “And that is why one cannot say that here everything was now still left open. The pope picked up on it [the Synod document], both Synods went this way, and I cannot see that this [papal document] would now be ambiguous.” [my emphasis]

A second theme discussed at that 9 March press conference was the viri probati, i.e., morally proven married men that might be in some way become ordained priests, but with not yet clearly defined tasks. Here, Cardinal Marx told us importantly that, already in November of 2015, during the German bishops’ Ad Limina visit with the pope, Pope Francis had spoken about this matter and had shown an openness to further evaluate it. “That is why for us, this is no surprise,” Marx then commented on the new papal statement encouraging this viri probati discussion. “That is exactly what he [Francis] told us at the time in our group – there were different groups of 12 to 15 bishops who met individually with the pope – I think one can say that,” explained the German cardinal. One of the German bishops – whose name Marx withheld – had even told the pope, in their discussion, about the books written by a certain Fritz Lobinger, a bishop emeritus from Aliwal, South Africa. (As with so many of these progressive bishops, Fritz Lobinger is also a German; he was born in Passau.) Marx explains that Lobinger has

reflected upon pastoral care, upon Base Communities, and so on. And it was here that the pope said: “I have read the three books from Lobinger.” And in these books, there is to be found this reference: how are we to do it in those dioceses where, perhaps only once a year, the Holy Mass is being celebrated? I mean, I do not speak here about Germany, I speak here about extreme situations which are of course also in the pope’s mind and thoughts, and not necessarily our own situation in Germany where we are still pretty well equipped with clergy and collaborators, in comparison with the Universal Church.

This last comment of Marx is, however, contradicted by reality. As we recently reported, Germany has the lowest numbers of recently ordained priests, and now the abandonment of priestly celibacy altogether is being discussed everywhere in Germany. Moreover, as we will discuss later, the impatient reformers will always come up with the most extreme examples in order to introduce their own specious reforms.

Cardinal Marx continued his disclosures about the words of the pope, as follows:

And that is when he [the pope] said: “Dear brothers, that is also burdening me, when a brother from the Amazon region or so comes and tells me: yes, we have parishes where the priest comes only once a year and that is it.” And that is where I do reflect about what we are to do.

Marx came back to mentioning that it is, indeed, about “a pastoral situation which is very extreme,” [my emphasis] and he repeated several times that “one has to think about it.” Marx does not think, however, “that this is going to be a theme for tomorrow, or for us,” adding that “there is no taboo so that one may not speak about it. That cannot be.” The cardinal added that there is “no ban on speaking” and he stated again: “He [the pope] only said: ‘We have to think about it.’ […] He did not give an answer.”

When asked about his own attitude toward the viri probati, Cardinal Marx showed himself to be hesitant and likewise concerned about any undermining of the “unmarried form of living of the priest.” But, says Marx, “we feel that we cannot go on like this any further.” “Simply to increase the number of priests,” he added, “is not the solution of our problem, either; it is not that easy.” The German cardinal insisted, moreover, that he has not yet made up his mind in this matter, explaining that “I have always been skeptical, I always said, one cannot treat this form of living [priestly celibacy] in a playful manner; this is a grave incision and lesion.” In Marx’ eyes, the “history and spirituality of the Church” are at stake here. He also said that he was not sure what the tasks of these new ordained viri probati would be. “How shall this look? What does this mean for the unmarried form of living which has high value in the Church – also especially with regard to the priestly service? […],” wondered Cardinal Marx. He also raised the question about the possible effects of such a reform on the currently celibate seminarians and priests in his diocese, to whom this [attenuation of celibacy] might be “a devastating signal.” This debate should not, according to Marx, bring about a “relativization of this [celibate] form of living.” The cardinal concluded these remarks with the words that the Universal Church has to decide about these matters and that “I do not see in the Church a development of the will to change this [priestly celibacy].”

In listening to this somewhat voluble statement, one apt thought might still come to the surface of our mind: “Methinks thou dost protest too much.” Why? Because, after this later part of the question and answer session, Cardinal Marx then came to reveal some of the methods – or underlying patterns of change – that are involved here so as to effect a desired new reform; and this he did with an explicit reference to the process which led up to the papal text of Amoris Laetitia itself.

After another journalist – returning later to the viri probati question – asked him about the current danger of schism, Cardinal Marx said that the pope has to be “careful with this topic,” but that he nevertheless wants to “set up people to start thinking,” in the sense of saying “why do you not think about it a little bit?”

Marx – who himself is member of the Council of Nine counseling the pope – added : “He [the pope] also has to see what is happening in the whole Church,” adding that “also Amoris Laetitia is a path – a path which also gives a clear orientation.” [my emphasis] Marx, moreover, sees that Amoris Laetitia is not “excessive,” but “within the continuity.” [my emphasis] The cardinal continues, by saying: “He [Francis] wants to remain in the continuity [sic] because he knows otherwise that the Church will also get into turbulences. We see this also already in part with regard to Amoris Laetitia.” Marx adds that it is thus important to “preserve the unity of the Church, but not at all costs, but rather, he wants to push her [the Church] ahead, after all” and the pope wants to “start processes.” [my emphasis] Processes with patterns!

Then comes Cardinal Marx’ additionally revealing comment: “Somewhere someone will meanwhile pick up the ball [sic], that is what I think. That is what then also happens.” [my emphasis] Here we all should remember that, when it was about the “remarried” divorcees, the German Bishops’ Conference under Marx’ leadership was all too eager to “pick up the ball” and to organize in Rome a so-called “Shadow Council” or “Day of Study,” thereby preparing the themes of the Synod of Bishops on the Family. The same method seems now also to be intended and employed with regard to married priests.

When asked at the 9 March press conference about the upcoming 2018 Youth Synod and whether the viri probati issue will be placed on its agenda, Cardinal Marx importantly referred to the progressive German Catholic journal Herder Korrespondenz, saying that “there will surely appear articles in it [concerning this topic], that is also how it was with Amoris Laetitia, too.” [my emphasis] Marx even promised a “colorful debate” with regard to the question as to “what does viri probati mean?” The German cardinal then responded to the original question as to whether this item will be a theme of the upcoming synod with these words: “I do not want to exclude that.” [my emphasis] Moreover, Marx referred, as well, to the upcoming online Youth Synod questionnaire – a method and a pattern we already know from the previous “synodal process” concerning marriage, as well.

As a final theme of importance, Cardinal Marx also discussed – both during the press conference and then also in a short subsequent interview – the matter of Holy Communion for Protestants who are in mixed marriages with Catholics, which also had been discussed by the German Bishops’ General Assembly. Here again, Marx stressed that one will not “simply say something general,” but that one will have “to look at the individual cases,” [my emphasis] but he also assured the audience that “I think that I am quite confident” and that there is the “hope that we will move ahead [sic] this year, or in the next.” [my emphasis] At the same time, Cardinal Marx had to admit that there is no “unanimity” among the German bishops on this matter and that they had a “lively debate” about it. The issue of intercommunion is also on the agenda of Pope Francis, who opened up this same theme when showing his personal openness to it during his visit to a Lutheran Church in Rome itself, even in November of 2015. The German Bishops discussed this incipient matter with a direct reference to Pope Francis himself and “his encouragement” in this matter.

By way of this one press conference and the subsequent, short interview, Cardinal Marx has likely – perhaps unintentionally – covered some of the main upcoming themes on the papal reform agenda. At the same time, he has effectively revealed to us some of the expected methods of operation, or patterns of change, that is to say: how to change the mentality of Catholics so that they sufficiently accept the changes. The methods are: 1) raising questions; 2) encouraging discussion; 3) to have select progressive journals “picking up the ball”; 4) to have questionnaires sent out to many of the faithful who are themselves quite confused (theologically and morally) and thus will responsively come back with a few desired proposals for change; 5) insisting upon arguments such as the pressing case of “extreme situations,” “individual cases,” and the greater “need for pastoral care”; 6) finally, after a longer period of “mentality-molding” or “mind-changing” activities, there will be a synodal document with various creative propositions (written by papal friends, as it was in the case of the “rigged Family Synod”) which will then be used in turn in a post-synodal exhortation. 7) Or, if Pope Francis sees his time running out, he will speed up the process and will introduce a doctrinal or pastoral novelty in a “shock-and-awe step” – as he has done with the laxening of the process for the declaration of the nullity of a marriage, which also had suddenly happened just ahead of the second Synod on the Family.

That Cardinal Reinhard Marx is not so hesitant, after all, to open up the whole matter of married priests – as he had indeed first presented himself to be doing during this 9 March press conference – might be seen in the further fact that he had earlier invited Bishop emeritus Erwin Kräutler to last year’s spring General Assembly of the German Bishops. For it was there that this Austrian prelate and retired bishop of Xingu, Brazil, had then encouraged the German bishops to “think about alternatives to priestly celibacy.” Bishop Kräutler is known for his effective undermining of priestly celibacy and for his having received the encouragement of Pope Francis himself to make “courageous proposals.” Dr. Sandro Magister has amply reported on this matter, and Marco Tosatti also discussed this matter recently, in light of the recent papal interview with Die Zeit, as well.

This discussion will also now bring us back to another important revelation made by Cardinal Marx on 9 March; namely, that Pope Francis supportively mentioned to some German bishops – in November of 2015 – the dubious books of Bishop emeritus Fritz Lobinger. While it is still not fully clear which three books Francis had himself earlier read (even though, in one interview, Bishop Kräutler mentions the first of the two books cited below when speaking about his 2004 meeting with the pope), the very name Lobinger is intimately connected with one important idea – the idea of ordaining some married elders of a community, and this after a rather short time of preparation. Some of his book titles are: Like His Brothers and Sisters: Ordaining Community Leaders, and The Empty Altar: An Illustrated Book to Help Talk About the Lack of Parish Priests. It is in this context therefore helpful to consult an article published by the National Catholic Reporter which asked in August of 2016: “Will [the] next synod address ordaining ‘elders’ – both women and men?” After quoting the papal biographer, Austen Ivereigh, the article then explains that Pope Francis had also recommended the Lobinger books to Bishop Kräutler:

Kräutler and the pope also compared notes about the priest shortage in Latin America and, according to Ivereigh, Francis alluded to some “interesting hypotheses” [sic] that had been proposed by retired Bishop Fritz Lobinger of Aliwal, South Africa. Francis then encouraged Kräutler to work with the national bishops’ conference to send “bold, concrete proposals” to Rome. [my emphasis]

That same National Catholic Reporter article leads us straight to an English-language essay published in 2010 by Lobinger himself, with which essay we would now like to end this analysis:

I know that if the church continues to admit only celibate, university-trained candidates to ordination, there will be no hope of ever overcoming the scarcity of sacraments. […] I equally know that the early church indeed did ordain local leaders who were married [please see Dr. Sandro Magister’s own learned 2010 explanation of the history of celibacy in the Catholic Church], had received brief local training, were chosen by the local community, and had proven their worthiness over some time. […] The ordination of married candidates would unavoidably raise questions: Why could some priests be married while others had to remain celibate? […] There are signs of hope. The communities that have no resident priest have proven that they usually possess all charisms that would be needed for the ordination of local leaders. […] Another lesson we have learned is to choose the right term for such a team of ordained local leaders. They would be a distinct kind of priest and should be called by a distinct name, such as the original term used in the New Testament: elder. […] The two kinds would exercise two different roles. The elders would lead the community and administer the sacraments in their own community, while the priests would be the spiritual guides of elders in several self-ministering communities. […] Ordaining proven local leaders could thus be the starting point for a solution. Because the majority of proven local leaders are women, it is unavoidable that the question of their inclusion among ordained elders will arise, though present church law does not permit it. [my emphasis]

Here we have it. Pope Francis repeatedly praises – in front of a range of variegated bishops – a retired bishop who now still proposes to ordain male and female married persons to the priesthood. It is in this context that Pope Francis’ quote from his recent papal interview with Die Zeit comes also to mind: “Many parishes have brave women [mulieres probatae?]: they keep up the Sunday and celebrate liturgies of the word, that is to say without the Eucharist.” [my emphasis]

Thus, let us be sober and watchful. We remember how, in December of 2014, Pope Francis had insisted that the Family Synod discussions are “not touching any item of Church doctrine on marriage” and that “it is not a solution if we give them [the “remarried” divorcees] Communion. This alone is not a solution: integration [sic] is the solution.” [my emphasis] We have come a long way since then, and Catholic mentalities have been and are still being deleteriously changed, as it seems.

Let us also be watchful now when we even see that – just one day after the pope’s own 9 March interview with Die Zeit! – none other than Cardinal Karl Lehmann himself (the former President of the German Bishops’ Conference and member of the “Sankt Gallen Group”) has now also come out with his own favorable statement in an interview wherein he encourages many further discussions about the viri probati – calling these proposed discussions a mattter of “urgency.”

121 thoughts on “Patterns of Change: Cardinal Marx’ Revealing Words about Pope Francis and Married Priests”

  1. “Pray constantly, implore tirelessly, and weep bitter tears in the seclusion of your heart, beseeching the Eucharistic Heart of my most holy Son to take pity on His ministers and to end as soon as possible these unhappy times by sending to His Church the Prelate who shall restore the spirit of her priests.”

    – Our Lady of Good Success

  2. Can mercifully accompanied men who are in an adulterous marriage also be ordained once the sacrilegious pastor gives the green light?

    After that he can mercifully accompany himself along with his concubine in the discernment process and both receive communion! As who can better to pastorally accompany ones conscience and irregular marriage better than onself?

    That’s two for the price of one! Francis, you’ve done it again!

    • Perhaps Francis will cite Pope John XIX who was elected as pope while still a layman and then ordained a priest and elevated to the bishopric after his election.

      What would prevent ordination of any old layman right off the street? Priestly formation, i.e. seminary, etc., might be waived to achieve numbers. Truly frightening.

      • “to achieve numbers”, exactly. Let’s talk numbers as that is why most of the conversations happen. Do we have enough priests? If not then why? Perhaps if the protestant catholic’s join the local protestant singing circus assembly they could take their circus leader with them. Then, leave the holy priest for the Catholic faithful.

      • We started seminary formation because the malformation of priests was one of the big causes of the Protestant Revolt!

    • We live in sad times. The priesthood is filled with girly men who might be able to tell you of the sacrificial life of St. Patrick but no longer resemble him. Instead, they’ve traveled to Ireland and many other European cities numerous times. They’ve taken two weeks vacation sailing on some lake and dined at the best of places with their wealthy parishoners. They may sing beautifully and know how to tell a joke but sacrifice isn’t what I think of when I see their lives. Instead, they are like celebrities with their groupies telling them how wonderful they are. One priest complained he had to stay up one night with a couple who had a baby in the hospital. None of the parents could feel sorry for him since most of us had to do that with our own more than one night.

      At this time in history, we’ve had marriage amendments ignored and same sex marriage become law, without a cry for ‘disruption’ from our bishops. NO, that is reserved for immigration which is part of their global goals. We’ve had Christian bakers, photographers and others lose their business and get fined for standing for their faith and nothing is said from the pulpit about Christina discrimination. Why? Because they’ve become an organization that is no longer about sacrifice but self preservation of their worldly kingdom. So they do what it takes to attract more followers and get more priests.

      We already have a priest who, before he was a priest, was married and divorced, then lived with his homosexual lover until he died of AIDS and then Cardinal George allowed him into the seminary. He is now teaching the youth at Purdue University’s CArdinal Newman Center. The real problem is the Catholic bureaucracy is no longer Christ centered but self centered and that is why anything goes. Enjoy your Friday of Lent with Corned have a special dispensation! None of us have to sacrifice or discipline ourselves because religion is now the opiate of the masses…keep the bread and circuses coming. St. Patrick pray for us!

      • Most of institutionalized Christianity, let alone the Catholic Church, sacrificed its spiritual patrimony on the altar of power, wealth, political influence, secular prestige, intellectual fashion and institutional arrogance. That has been Catholicism’s modus operandi for centuries. And Catholics are just waking up to this now????

  3. Incrementalism is the way they intend to drastically change the core beliefs and doctrine of our Church. These wicked ones are masters of this method. Unless we push back with the help of devout members of the clergy our once beautiful religion will be no more than Universalist Unitarianism.
    Gird your loins, pick up the breastplate of St. Patrick and FIGHT!
    The left used to use the mantra “Think globally – act locally.” That may be the method we must adopt to stop this inherent evil. Pray, Pray Pray that we may never falter when standing up to wickedness.

    • Incrementalism is the way they intend to drastically change the core beliefs and doctrine of our Church.

      They’re not without savvy. It’s worked pretty well for them so far, you know.

  4. Vielen Dank, Maike, für diesen Artikel.

    Three points:

    1. It’s amazing what 6 Billion Euros can buy, and how the poor who are excommunicated in Germany and Austria because
    they don’t pay the Church tax are never considered to be part of the German world’s “field hospital” where there are no priests.
    But as we know, it is not about the number of priests – it’s about the number of euros being immorally invested.

    2. The standard steps of the “democratic-revolution” that you layout missed only one thing – the ideas that are floated are predetermined
    by the revolutionaries. They “push [their] process on” by get the mob to talk about what they want to be discussed
    until they get their predetermined outcome.

    3. One name was missing from among all the actors (clowns?) to this latest German tragedy – Jesus!
    The revolutionaries have already lost; that is why Our Lord’s celibacy is never mentioned. Yet the Devil has been defeated,
    Easter – the sign that sin and death are conquered – is coming.

    Keep the Faith. Battle on for Our Lord’s gloray.

    Christus vincit et Viva Immaculata!

    Gott segne dich!

    • Touché, Mr Cassidy. One can always separate the sheep from the wolves by how they refer (or fail to refer) to Jesus. Either twisted beyond all recognition (undocumented immigrant, revolutionary, oppressed reformer, ignorant victim, misunderstood zealot, etc.) or ignored completely, a footnote to the gatherings that pass as worship. If the word “sacrifice” is used properly, one can rest assured that the intentions are worthy; when missing (like Christ) we end up in the weeds. Jesus, mercy!

    • Never understand why good Catholic Germans allow those clowns misguided them to betray God. Is there any voice in the dessert in Germany? Bavarians, stand up!

  5. So, let me get this straight–if, for example, my financial resources run short during any given month, I have to at least consider the possibility of robbing a bank. If I feel lonely or sad, I am obliged as a disciple to evaluate the option of imbibing too much alcohol, or of seeking paid companionship, even if I don’t follow through. In other words, the insistence of the Bergoglians that nothing may be licitly excluded from consideration (even leaving aside the glaring double standard by which they themselves systematically attempt to silence any viewpoint save their own) must be rejected in and of itself, regardless of the historical and theological considerations surrounding the immediate issue of married priests. We are, instead, to have the mind of Christ (cf. Philippians 2:5), regarding as unthinkable (and not just impractical) anything which the Holy Spirit through the Church forbids. So, even if the ordination of the viri probati could be justified on certain grounds, the actual grounds that are being advanced by those attempting to capitalize on Amoris are as pernicious as that apostolic exhortation itself. Patrick of Ireland, ora pro nobis!.

  6. In the end the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. Until then it is rather amusing to see the rats scurrying on the decks of their sinking ship.

  7. Over the course of my 60 years, being a former scholastic in a religious order (now happily married with 5 wonderful children), I have noticed the same method used to effect change in the way people think. It comes across as open and honest but in reality is designed to change ways of thinking and believing. Very effective in the hands of someone who is capable of manipulating others. Being the stubborn German I am, I never could agree to the outcomes. It is the similar to approach used in Catholic parishes and schools today. Rather than preach the truth, they set out to cause people to have doubts and then construct extreme situations which justify their heretical thoughts/actions. This is usually the approach used in social justice work shops, but I also see it used in many parishes where the doctrinal integrity of the content is dubious. Which is why I refuse to attend any parish “training” or “education” course unless I am sure of that the person leading is a faithful Catholic. Maike did a good job in identifying this process.

    • This has been the modus operandi of the modernists all along. It pains me that the rest just can’t see it and walk headlong into their trap every time.

  8. It is very telling that Bergoglio brought huge pressure to bear on Rome to have a seminary in Chile shut down that was run on Traditionalist lines and was full to overflowing with vocations. He cannot bear the obvious solution to the vocation crisis: to go back to what worked, which was the Church before Vatican II.

    No: these men have definitively and forever rejected the possibility of going back. And so onwards they blunder, now deciding that a married clergy is the answer to the wasteland that their own dereliction has caused.

  9. This is perhaps the most compelling evidence that I have seen proving the existence of man-made global warming. Their globes have been so warmed that their brains have been fried. I think that a “bovine entric fermentation” tax must be “urgently” levied on all further discussions.

  10. The SSPX and FSSP are brimming with priests. I would propose that instead of ordaining “elders” some SSPX and FSSP priests be sent to the remote regions where there is only an annual Mass, and lift any prohibition on the SSPX priests’ authority to administer the Eucharist.

  11. Viri probati are as of now those married men who have abidingly lived a tested and proven life of virtue and who would thus be eligible for the permanent diaconate.

    Where is this in any Church document or Tradition?
    Cf. Who exactly are viri probati? – That they are “tested MARRIED men” is a pure invention by the innovators. –
    Definitions are important and matter. If one were to accept or assume the definition of the innovators [or they themselves get the definitions wrong], one is already disadvantaged by being drawn into the argument in the manner framed by the enemies of the Church.

  12. Symptomatic of the delusional notions induced by pop culture and adopted by shallow thinking ecclesiastics is the idea that the possibility of married priests will attract authentic vocations.
    Christ alone makes the call to the heart of a man.
    Beyond that concrete reality which appears to have quite the back seat these days, one need only observe the dearth of men in protestant denominations seeking to serve in their ministry. They really just aren’t there. The Episcopal Church in the United States has a bit of a problem in that they have more ministers than they require, not because of a flood of male vocations, but the collapse of their congregations and the flourishing crop of lesbians adopting the ministry – though now without a “worship space” into which to deposit them. The situation is not much different in other mainline denominations.
    How this is lost on intellects of such gargantuan proportions such as Pope Bergoglio, and Cardinal Marx is not apparent to me. Could it be that there is another agenda afoot besides numbers? That is a beleaguered self-identified post-Kouncil, post-Khristian, Katholic Kirchen without a priestess?
    The Catholic Church does not have a vocation crisis, let alone a coital crisis. It has a faith crisis which is eminently manifest in Rome.
    Faith abandoned, absent reason.
    Roman Catholicism recreated in the image and likeness of those irresistible teddy bears, Jorge Bergoglio and Reinhold Marx.

  13. If they are really viri probati, they being candidates for ordination becomes moot because plenty of vocations to the priesthood and religious life would arise naturally from their holy families.
    Pope St. John Paul II and his Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (November 22, 1981) a Stumbling Block to the Viri Probati Argument –

    • They’ll just send that down
      the memory hole like they
      did with his teachings on marriage and receiving holy communion

  14. Easy for Cardinal Marx to say. With that ridiculous church tax in Germany, money is no object and they could easily pay the salaries of married priests, who would have all the expenses which go along with having a family.

  15. CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.
    That would include the N.O. permanent deacons and married priests. This is based on the celibacy of Our Lord and the first priests, the apostles, some of whom were married at the time but gave up that state to follow Jesus.
    You can’t have two vocations.

  16. What a circus! Do these old men really believe we are fooled by this dog and pony show? The telling thing about Marx and Bergoglio is that they practice the art of circumlocution. Listening to them you want to scream, “Damn it, man, can you manage at least one sentence that doesn’t drown in hot, smelly horse manure?!?!” Only men who wish to deceive talk this way. They are up to no good and don’t want us to notice….till it’s too late to do anything about their machinations. They make me want to vomit, the lot of them!

  17. Cardinal Marx has the cunning of a Pharisee. He and Francis treat us like frogs who are slowly boiling in hot water and we don’t even realize we are being cooked. Their sly way of manipulating the faithful to implement their own agenda is so sickening to me. Deception is satan’s work and they are masters of it.

    • This is not a matter of political correctness, it is a matter of using terms with accuracy.
      Pope Francis has revitalized the use of the word “Pharisee” as a pejorative. In so doing he has exposed himself once again as not only being insensitive but clueless. Unfortunately Pope Francis’ lack of theological acumen, clumsy expression and general lack of consciousness has led us into this quagmire. I too have been guilty of following his usage. It’s not good. Let us not follow his model. It is raising eyebrows among the Jews, as well it should, as well as properly comported Roman Catholic scholars. It received a very specific and pointed correction from Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, the former chief rabbi of Milan, in the past few weeks. He cites specifically Pope Francis daily “homilies.”
      Rather than employing the term for the likes of Marx and Kasper and their sympathizers, I’d reference the animal kingdom. Reptiles, specifically.
      The Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes were three groups that represented different movements within Judaism at the time of Christ. There were numerous others. Their existence does not constitute them as nefarious by any means. Our Lord might have even been a Pharisees himself given his preaching of the resurrection of the dead and other issues. Some theorize he was an Essene – but the Pharisees are more likely. They were the largest group as I recall. It is likely that most all of the figures we revere in the New Testament were affiliated with the Pharisees. In all likelihood the vast proportion of early Christians were of the Pharisees.

        • In His earthly ministry, in the process of bringing to fulfillment the Promise contained in the Old Testament to its New Testament fulfillment, Jesus walked the earth as a Jew. And there is no rupture between the two — it is a continuum in the eyes of faith. Read over the genealogies of Luke and Matthew. And while you are indulging in the richness of Holy Scripture, take a look at John 4:21-24: Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

      • I stand by my use of the name Pharisee for Cardinal Marx in the truest sense of the word. How often did Jesus call out the Pharisees ( not all but many ) who were pretending to be sincere in asking Him questions but in their hearts they had nefarious plans against Him. Cardinal Marx is doing the same thing in his cunning to attempt to pull the wool over the faithfuls’ eyes while slowly and manipulatively implementing a heretical agenda that HE considers right and good for the German church.

        • Briefly put, I don’t think you got the point.
          The Pharisees were not characterized by hypocrisy, they were characterized by a specific and multifaceted understanding of Judaism.
          Their school of thought made them theologically more receptive to the Christian kerygma. They constituted the primary group of Jews who followed Christ. Your use of the term “Pharisee” is analogous to employing “Catholic” to indicate a superstitious Christian – as it has been used not infrequently.
          When Jesus used the term Pharisee, he was addressing a specific audience of individual Pharisees who were in front of Him. When we adopt the term we are ascribing His admonishment of a group of
          specific individuals to the entire group of Pharisees. We have relegated their name to a pejorative. It is insulting and clueless, and reflects poorly on the individual doing it – notoriously these days by Pope Francis and his sycophants.
          Do you really want to sound like them?
          Believe me, I can think of a number of far more accurate terms to use when describing the likes of Marx, Kasper, Maradiaga – the seemingly endless herd of the duplicitous – but they would not be appropriate here at 1Peter5.
          I suggest we all abandon the usage. It reflects poorly on the one employing it.
          But do as you will.

          • You make my point when you say that ‘he was addressing a specific audience of individual Pharisees who were in front of Him.” I think that is exactly what I was referring to. I think Jesus’ words speak for themselves. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich has a thorough history of Jesus’ descendants and the Essenes in The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.It is worth a read.

  18. Gods Holy Church was infiltrated, we can see their arrogant pontifications in the press daily – these prelates are not Catholic, they like to dress up in costumes, have super titles and spout balloney.
    Pray that Our Lord grant them a Pauline conversion before their deaths, they are the 50/60’s generation, tick tock….

  19. In matters not just theoretical,
    Bergoglio seems quite heretical.
    First marriage was vexed,
    Now the priesthood is next,
    May deposition not be hypothetical.

    How long, Lord, must we suffer this beast,
    Before Your Grace grants us release?
    With insults and scorn,
    He leaves the faithful forlorn,
    Praying for that heavenly feast.

  20. A conference on deposing the pope will take place March 30–31 at the Center for Law and Religious Societies of the Legal Faculty Jean-Monnet of the University Paris-Sud in Sceaux, a suburb of Paris.

    A detailed university program and other information (in French) is available at

    A similar conference, in English, at an American or British university is, we hope, only a matter of time.

  21. My doggerel, I admit, is quite foul,
    And elicits many a scowl.
    But this Pope is a scourge,
    And this verse meets the urge,
    To decry him in some metered howl.

  22. Have you heard? It’s in all the news.
    How Pope Frankie’s rebuked by the Jews.
    His speech, don’t you see,
    Contained ‘Pharisee’,
    And their empathy Frankie did lose.

    I confess I’m not sympathetic,
    To this Pope, who is an emetic.
    He trades in abuse,
    With insults profuse,
    It’s no wonder the Jews are splenetic.

  23. Anyone who follows Church affairs in Germany knows how badly things have gone. The German Church follows a concept of “going to where the people live.” Sounds ok? It isn’t. In Germany as in most of Europe people live in a decadent and puerile secular culture which the German Church accommodates and thus becomes part of it. And yes, it says much about Francis that he is open to listening to the most corrupt leaders of the most corrupt Church in Christendom.
    However, Marx quotes Francis as saying “he considers it to be right that the local churches make their own
    statements once more, and that they therein draw their own pastoral
    conclusions”. I believe this because other Francis comments have gone along the same line. If anyone asks about schism in today’s Church you should point out that Francis is actively creating one as central to his reforms. Bishops around the world have rejected Amore L and unless they had a position in the Vatican hierarchy, Francis has pretty much left them alone. So if Chaput or Sample (among others) reject the German reading of AL Francis is either going to allow them the freedom to do so, or perhaps hope that time is on his side and that eventually the entire American Church will be run by Cupich clones. But what this boils down to is that on sacramental matters and interpretation of the autonomy of conscience, Church practice will depend upon the views of the local bishop. What to do with Africa? Francis shamed Sarah, the most famous of African bishops. We must also remember that in response to the horrible AIDS problem, the Church has responded by teaching a program of chastity before marriage and fidelity in it – and where this is done seriously it works. And as Cardinal Kasper remarked during the first synod, African culture is too simple to be listened to on issues like homosexuality. (Imagine what JPII would have done to a bishop that said something that arrogant.) As for Latin America, with Church leaders like Bergoglio common enough, anticipate a “progressive” Church that will shrink greatly in the face of Pentecostal missionaries that promise a faith that has little to do with the problems vexing our German brothers. The world “catholic” means “universal.” If Francis continues on the course of allowing spiritual autonomy, we’ll have to come up with a different term.

  24. Why all this tiptoeing around what seems to be the real issue in the discussion – sex and allowing for priest to have it. The church during the first 9-10 centuries had married priests. But, they had to remain continent, that is to live as brother and sister and refrain from all sexual activity – just like the celibacy requirements of single priests.Is that the same issue being discussed today? No. We are being given a false picture, that implicit in the discussion of married priests is a question of celibacy vs non-celibacy. The tradition of the church has been from the beginning that all priests, married and single, were to be celibate/chaste/continent. Only the Orthodox deviated from that tradition – the original Catholic tradition has not. So this is not really about allowing for a married priesthood. This is about allowing sexual activity into the priesthood under a false guise.

  25. Gosh! These Prelates are messing the Catholic church up more and more! And I’m sure they’re not going to stop until they they turn holy mother church into a Protestant one! This Bergoglio needs to be stopped, demoted (see how he likes it!) or made to step down for Heresy!

  26. For some reason prelates lacking in faith use the same worn out tactics over and over
    again. Using churches or parishes in out lying areas is their excuse for major changes in Catholic discipline. This is how we got lay people distributing Holy Communion…the
    provision was granted to rural areas where priests were not able to be there very often.
    The rare exception becomes the rule…..and the dismantling continues.

  27. Actually I did not read the whole article…..I got to the part about the “Holy Spirit”
    demanding their innovations and gave up.
    Our parish has the TLM……perhaps we should initiate a “study group” to discuss
    the phasing out of the NO

  28. Bergoglio has been very careful about falling into heresy (He’s too late, but that’s another subject). He has, however, opened wide the gates to heresy for those who desire it and has praised those who have arrived at heresy, in Argentina, Malta and in Germany. He is, therefore, an accessory after the fact.

    That said, one of the Pope’s duties is to guard the Faith from heresy and on that issue he has failed. Deliberately. On that ground has he not disqualified himself from the papacy just as if he had committed the heresy himself?

    What are the faithful bishops waiting for??! Get rid of this guy. He cannot be the Pope! Throw the bum out and Marx with him. Enough is enough!

  29. Okay, I read halfway through the article. That’s it. Couldn’t take it anymore. Like my bumper sticker says – “Its all fun and games until someone gets burned at the stake.”


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