Before the session of bishops’ synod in October about the family, there is still a hot discussion in the Catholic Church. The hottest controversies are raised by a suggestion of most hierarchs about allowing divorced people to receive the Holy Communion as well as people being remarried. These protests are enforced by German priests the most, and this attitude is expressed among the others, by cardinal Reinhard Marx – the chairperson of the German Episcopal Conference, cardinal Walter Kasper – the former chairperson of the Papal Council for Supporting Unity of the Christians, or bishop Franz-Josep Hermann Bode – the chairperson of the pastoral commission of the German Episcopate.

However, on the other hand, hierarchs faithful to the traditional teaching of the Church in this issue are protesting strongly against it, among whom there are also dignitaries from Germany, like, for example, cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller – a prefect of the Vatican Congregation of Faith Teaching or cardinal Walter Brandmuller – the former chairperson of the Papal Committee of Historical Studies.

Recently the discussion was joined to by another German cardinal – one of the closest cooperators of John Paul II, the former chairperson of the Papal Council ‘Cor Unum’ cardinal Paul Josef Cordes. He criticized the pronouncement of cardinal Marx and a few other bishops during the recent press conference in Hildersheim where they presented the German Church as a Catholic pioneer of pastoral ministry in the world. The Holy Communion for divorced and remarried people was to be this pioneering trend.

This statement was called by the cardinal Cordes ‘pitiable self-deception among the Germans’. Indeed, they can boast about ‘the effectively functioning ecclesiastical apparatus’, but it is not sufficient either for ‘a fight against progressing secularization’ or for ‘selfless devotion oneself to Christ’.

Cardinal Cordes quoted official statistics which prove that only 16.2 per cent of western-German Catholics believe in God as Person, whereas 83.8 percent associate Him with faceless Providence, with anonymous fate, with the first force, or even deny His existence. As cardinal Cordes concludes: ‘So, we do not a clear reason to swagger ourselves with our faith over Churches in other countries’.

His astonishment was also caused by the following remark of cardinal Marx: ‘We are not any branches of Rome. Every Episcopal conference is responsible for pastoral ministry in its cultural environment and for proclaiming the Gospel which is just its task’.

According to cardinal Cordes, this remark is real if one considers editing a new songbook or organizing a pilgrimage. However, the problem of remarried couples for the divorced is the issue which is in the very heart of theology and it is impossible to separate it from the Magisterium of the Church. Especially that during those bishopric ordinations hierarchs vowed in the issues of faith and morality the ‘unity with the collegiums of bishops under the supervision of Peter’s Successor’.


„Niedziela” 19/2015

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: