Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Germans act independently. . .

You may have read here before reports of the German wing of the Roman Catholic acting independently, or perhaps of Cardinal Kasper's insistence that the Germans are not merely a division of Rome.  Now it appears a majority of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Germany have acted to show their independence.  Read the whole story here. . .

With potentially far-reaching consequences, the bishops of Germany have voted by more than a two-thirds majority to relax Church labor laws to allow civilly remarried employees or those living in same-sex unions to retain their jobs with Church institutions.

In an announcement Tuesday, the German bishops’ conference in Bonn said the majority of bishops had ruled that immediate dismissal will only be a “last resort” for employees who are divorced and subsequently “remarry” or those living in a registered partnership.

Until now, such employees were required to be dismissed from such employment, although the rules were often ignored. The Church is the second-largest employer in Germany.

“An automatic dismissal may now in future be ruled as out of the question,” said Alois Glück, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, the country’s top lay Catholic organization. From now on, he said, any public violation of loyalty to Church teachings must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

The amendment, when enacted by a bishop, explicitly overturns a 2002 ecclesiastical law, which stipulated that all Church employees need to be loyal to the magisterium. Glück said the change “represents a substantial paradigm shift in the application of ecclesiastical law,” adding that the new regulation will “open the way” for decisions to be made in accordance with “human justice.”

In essence, the German Bishops have simply formalized their practice of ignoring the rules and have decided that this must be done ensure “compliance with lived practice,” that is, people are doing it so what else can we do but accept it.  The federal court in Germany ruled in favor of current Church labor law regarding dismissal of a divorced-and-civilly-remarried employee -- perhaps to the consternation of the hierarchy.  In an act designed to put pressure on the upcoming Synod, the Germans have characteristically shown not only their independence but also their liberalism -- in a country in which church taxes make this one of the wealthiest jurisdictions within Rome's umbrella but also one in which the mass attendance has declined significantly. 

The issue here is whether or not a church can hold its employees accountable to church teachings and practices.  It is the same issue often to hit the news in the USA.  In Germany, however, the Roman Catholic Church is the second largest employer!  So whenever changes are made the consequences are extensive!
Thought you wanted to know. . . By the way, the Bishops are being accused by others of acting like Protestants.  It seems the ultimate insult.  However, the Bishops do not seem to mind.  Lutherans, however, have little room to complain.  The state of Christianity among the Lutherans is no brighter.


John Joseph Flanagan said...

The German Bishops prove the age old problem of rationalizing bad behavior for the benefit of cultural relevance. The Christian church is supposed to be guided by Holy Writ, not by the popular values of society, however, the so called "independent" nature of carnal man trumps the Bible today.

Carl Vehse said...

"With potentially far-reaching consequences, the bishops of Germany have voted by more than a two-thirds majority to relax Church labor laws to allow civilly remarried employees or those living in same-sex unions to retain their jobs with Church institutions."

Meanwhile, the LCMS President signs a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging the troth of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, including sponsored troops, to "respect the membership standard of the Boy Scouts of America," which including admitting openly homosexual scouts and (soon to be approved) openly homosexual scoutmasters.

John Joseph Flanagan said...

When the Memorandum was posted on the LCMS web, I expressed my feelings that we, as a denomination, should have immediately broken all sponsorship ties to the BSA, as other churches. This was not done, and the matter was left to each congregation to decide. I also commented at that time that the gay activists behind the movement to infiltrate the the Scouts publicly stated they were not happy with any compromise and would push for Gay Scoutmasters as well. The BSA leadership noted that membership would not drop off, and most Christian church sponsors would simply roll over. I do not know what Rev Harrison has in mind, but in my view there is one and only one response at this point. The LCMS must decide if we follow God, even at the expense of cultural hostility, or follow the values of our fallen society. We should immediately disassociate the LCMS from the BSA. But wait....soon enough things are expected to get worse. Should the Supreme Court rule gay marriage equal to heterosexual marriage, it is legally possible churches may lose tax exempt status as a penalty for failing to support gay weddings on church property. Individual Pastors could be threatened with imprisonment. Not in America? Yes indeed, this may happen here, and Christian churches, except apostate ones, will face numerous assaults on freedom of conscience and worship under the new American system....alien to the ways we knew growing up in this Republic.