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Monday, January 29, 2007

Cardinal Lehmann hopes for ecumenical stimulus

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from the reform congress of the German Protestant Church. (EKD)

Original German text

The organizations, the Catholic Caritas and the Protestant, Diakonie could work together more closely.

26.1.07 Wittenberg

The Mainz Cardinal Karl Lehmann expects from the “future-orientated congress” of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) a stimulus specifically for ecumenism. Caritas and Diakonie, should above all work more closely together. This was stated by the Chairman of the German Catholic Bishops Conference in Wittenberg.

The congress which continues until Saturday is discussing the structural reform of the Protestant Church on the basis of a paper by the Synod of the German Protestant Church. This paper envisages amongst other things, the reduction of Regional Churches from 23 to a maximum of 12. Lehmann said that in the Catholic Church, there would be in future stronger cooperation between the Dioceses. A fusion of Dioceses was however excluded by the Bishop of Mainz.

Lehmann welcomed the fact that the German Catholic Bishops Conference was also invited to take part in the Congress. He gave a speech at the beginning of the Conference and the Secretary, Pater Hans Langendörfer is representing the Catholic Church during the Conference. The Cardinal rejects any criticism that the proposals do not specifically examine ecumenism. He says that with such basic questions of reform, it is necessary to examine your own back yard first.

END of text

The reform document of the EKD is called "The Church of Freedom in the 21st Century" They clearly have taken to worshiping freedom rather than Jesus Christ- giving any ecumenism a very shaky basis. The Congress is taking place in Wittenberg, known in Germany as the Luther City. There too he proclaimed his freedom - his freedom to destroy all the Catholic Church stood for.

Cardinal Lehmann always try to do something for the Carnival season which has just begun. Sadly he is living out in the 21st Century, the life of the Joint Synods of the Protestant and Catholic Churches in Germany which took place between 1971 and 1975. Much paper (almost 1000 pages)- and without fruit. The present Pope even published in 1970 a book "Democracy in the Church" in preparation.

No British Catholic

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can vote for ANY of the three main parties (Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour) after David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party suggested his compromise, giving the Catholic adoption agencies four to five years to comply with the law. If this is what his new look Conservatism means he can keep it.

Letter to Father von Gemmingen on the Latin Mass

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The original text sent in German by my wife in response to his recent commentary.

Dear Father von Gemmingen

Your statements, as convincing as they may sound, leave a lot to be desired. One can only assume from this that you do not know the old Rite very well, because if you did, you could never have said that there is little difference between the old and the new Rite.

Have you ever heard of Rock Masses, Carnival Masses and Sand Masses with a Desert Experience thrown in? Can you imagine such Masses and trivia in the Latin Rite? You probably maintain that these were exceptions. Are you as surprised as I am that recently I heard the Creed in Pirmasens in Germany, which consisted of one sentence, “ I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen”? In Gerwen in Holland, the Creed had been totally rewritten and made equivalent to an affirmation over which Robespierre would have been rubbing his hands in glee.

This “inversion” and “renewal mania” included the Canon itself. “Pro multis” became “pro omnibus”. In addition, the new Rite has endless bidding prayers at which even the cows would laugh if they were able to (German proverb!). In Germany, there are protestant hymns with no doctrinal content, if possible, accompanied by guitar. In Belgium, there is no singing but one sits and listens to a tape – no trace of active participation. The distribution of Communion is undertaken by all kinds of laypeople, often not even dressed properly. And last and by no means least, the priest is so stressed out and burdened with work, a female pastoral assistant preaches the sermon while the priest himself sits expressionless next to her. But he has so much to do, even with the reduced number of Faithful.

It is no surprise that a decent, thinking person is fed up with this to and fro and with the banality of it all. On the contrary, one feels repelled, as there is no hope of continuation and no passing on of the Faith.

Even introducing Latin and the redirection towards the Divine, to cite Klaus Gamber, the new Rite has fallen so far deeply that it cannot be rescued. Furthermore, as things stand now, the new Rite has attracted very few young people, despite its openness to spectacle. In Belgium, I see only people with gray hair in Church even in afternoon matters. What will happen in twenty years? The old Mass is visited by old and young, including many children and large families.

And finally, the Catholic Mass was always our most valued possession, whether one has prayed the Rosary during Mass or not. Over many centuries, the Mass has been understood and celebrated. (Many prayers are directed to God and not to the faithful) and especially now after 1969, when people have more opportunities of a higher school education, one started to simplify and make the Mass banal so that they can actively participate. The Schott was and is used in German speaking countries but I have in my collection many hand Missals in many languages dating from the early 19th century.

And finally, the new Rite has destroyed precious High Altars, dismantled tabernacles and Stations of the Cross, as well as disposing of many relics and removing the Communion rails. A table was used instead which serves as a flower table and for the Sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, we are looking in vain for the sacred. The Blessed Sacrament is no longer the central point and in a “nobilissimo loco” but has been relegated to boxes, walls or columns, and has to be searched for. These fundamental matters should be your first concern rather than the Latin language and “ad orientem”.

in Domino

Rosa Gillibrand

Original text

Sehr geehrter Herr Pater,

Ihre Ausführungen, so überzeugend sie vorerst klingen mögen, lassen doch einiges ungeklärt. Wenn Sie sagen, dass der Unterschied zwischen dem alten und dem neuen Ritus 'kaum zu erkennen' sei, so legt dies' nahe, dass Sie mit dem alten Ritus nicht sehr vertraut sind.

Haben Sie jemals von Rockmessen, Faschingsmessen und Sandmessen 'mit Wüstenerfahrung' gehört? Können Sie sich eine Rockmesse und ähnlichen Firlefanz im lateinischen Ritus vorstellen? Sie meinen, dies wären 'Ausnahmen'. Kürzlich hörte ich ein Credo in Deutschland, in Pirmasens, das nur einen Satz enthielt: 'Ich glaube an den Vater, den Sohn und den Heiligen Geist.' Amen. In Gerwen in Holland wurde das Glaubensbekenntnis komplett zu einem Bekenntnis umgeschrieben, über dass sich Robiespierre vor Freude die Hände gerieben hätte.

Die 'Umkrempelung' und der "Erneuerungswahn" machen selbst vor den Wandlungsworten nicht halt und so wurde aus 'pro multis' 'pro omnibus'. Dazu gibt es endlose Fürbitten, über die selbst die Kühe lachen würden, wenn sie lachen könnten. In Deutschland gibt es protestanische Hymnen, zum Teil gar mit Gitarrenmusik; in Belgien sitzt man da und hört ein Tonband an - von einem aktiven Mitfeiern keine Spur. Die Kommunionsausteilung wird von igendwelchen Laien vollzogen, die oft nicht einmal ordentlich gekleidet sind, und, last not least, for good measure, ist der Priester so überfordert, dass eine Pastoralassistentin die Predigt übernehmen muss, während der Priester selbst teilnahmslos dabei sitzt. Er ist ja so überlastet. Und das trotz so viel weniger Gläubigen.

Es ist kein Wunder, dass ein anständig denkender Mensch von diesem Getue und der damit einhergehenden Banalität abgestossen wird. All dies ist auf Dauer nicht tolerierbar.

Mit Latein und der Haltung zum Herrn hin, um es mit Klaus Gamber zu sagen, ist der neue Ritus, der so tief gesunken ist, nicht mehr zu retten. Auffallend ist auch, dass trotz des Einsatzes von Bild- und Toneffekten nur noch wenige junge Menschen dem Messopfer beiwohnen. In Belgien sehe ich ausschliesslich Köpfe mit grauen Haaren bei der Messe... Was wird wohl in zwanzig Jahren sein? Wenn Sie dagegen die Besucher der 'alten Messe' betrachten, so werden Sie viele junge Menschen, auch Familien mit Kindern , entdecken.

Im übrigen: die Wertschätzung der heiligen Messe war schon immer hoch, unabhängig davon, ob die Gläubigen Rosenkranz gebetet haben oder nicht. Über viele Jahrhunderte hin hat man die Messe verstanden und mitgefeiert, (gerade vor dem Hintergrund, dass viele Gebete ja an Gott und nicht an die Gläubigen gerichtet sind); aber dann, nach 1969, gerade zu einer Zeit, wo mehr Menschen denn je über die Möglichkeit, einer besseren Schulbildung teilhaftig zu werden verfügen, wird die Messe vereinfacht und banalisiert, um es für sie einfacher zu machen. Der Schott existierte in deutschsprachigen Ländern, aber auch in anderen Sprachen wurden Messbücher verfasst: ich habe viele Messbücher in meiner Sammlung in vielen Sprachen, etliche davon aus dem 18. und 19. Jahrhundert.

Und zuguterletzt: Dank dem neuen Ritus hat man kostbare Hochaltäre umgekrempelt und vernichtet, Tabernakel abmontiert, Reliqien ‘entsorgt’, den Kreuzweg abgenommen und das Kommuniongitter abgerissen. Dafür gibt es aber einen Tisch, der zugleich Blumentisch und Opfertisch ist. In anderen Worten, das Sakrale suchen Sie jetzt vergebens. Das Allerheiligste nimmt nicht mehr den ‘nobilissimo loco’ ein, ist vom zentralen Fokus verdrängt und in Schachteln oder Wandsäulen untergebracht, und da meinen Sie, dass die lateinische Sprache under die Richtung ‘ad orientem’ den status quo wiederherstellen würde!

in Domino