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MUNICH, Germany (ChurchMilitant.com) - German cardinals, nuns, priests and laity are influencing the Holy Catholic Church into adopting a feminized caricature of Herself with the backing of most German bishops.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, for one, laments that some Catholics are stuck in the past, not willing to roll with the times.
"For some people — in the past and also today — it seems strange that the Church also has to learn, not only from Herself, Her own texts and Her own tradition, but that She also has to learn from the history of the people," Marx said. "For example, [learn] from freedom movements or even scientific knowledge."
The cardinal explained that, for the Church, responsible freedom includes respect for "traditions and rules ... given to us by Christ" balanced by discernment of God's voice in the wider world and in history. And this includes as "urgent" more women in Church leadership positions.
A German nun, recently appointed by her bishop to take charge of his office, also agrees that more women must lead in the Church. Sister Anna Schenck, 43, is now the new head of the office for Bp. Bertram Meier of Augsburg. She was named so at his installation Mass in June.
"The Church as a whole would benefit if there were more women in leadership positions," Schenck claims.
Not yet demanding priesthood, Schenck acknowledges the "many questions and discussions about the role of women in the Church," particularly in Germany, where the synodal path has devoted an entire forum to discuss the question of possible future women's ministries.
Other German religious sisters have recently denounced their so-called limited role within the Church. "Dependence" on priests "takes away our dignity," they claim. Sr. Susanne Schneider is one of 10 nuns in a group called "Religious Women for Human Dignity." This group of women wrote a reflection in June on the challenges for women religious during the Wuhan virus lockdowns.
Having to always depend on male priests is a frustration for Schneider.
"[It] made us even more aware of how dependent we women are on an ordained minister who may or may not come," she said. "This dependence takes away our dignity."
Renowned German Benedictine Fr. Anselm Grün, ignoring Pope St. John Paul II's irreformable word on the subject, claims "there are no theological reasons against priesthood for women." Within 100 years, Grün predicts, there will be women priests.
"There are no theological reasons that speak against an abolishment of priestly celibacy or against female priests, female bishops or a female pope. Only here it is about historical processes," he says.
That's not the only thing Grün predicts. With regard to compulsory priestly celibacy, he claims "that should be free for each individual to decide upon," and on the full acceptance of homosexual priests, the Benedictine theologian said he knew and worked with some homosexuals in the clergy. "They are good priests," he claims.
The monk has openly admitted to inviting Protestants to receive Communion at the Masses he celebrates.
He also proclaims the dogma of the Immaculate Conception can be applied to all humanity, since "we all are, from the beginning of the world, chosen in Christ to be holy and without stain."
In 2013, shortly after his election as pontiff, Argentina's La Nación newspaper reported Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) kept Grün’s book Wege zur Freiheit (Paths to Freedom) on his nightstand, using it with Catholics whom he offered spiritual guidance. Francis has reportedly recommended Grün's books.
This "synodal way" of feminizing the Church to bring Her "up to date" seems to be having an impact. The German bishops' conference announced on Friday that a record 272,771 people left the country's Catholic Church in 2019. The number represented an increase of more than 56,000 on the 216,000 who left in 2018, and exceeds by a large margin the previous record of 218,000 leaving in 2014.
Yet, Bp. Bätzing, elected president of the German Bishops' Conference in March, said he and the Pope had had an "intensive, collegial talk" during his inaugural visit on June 28. "The Pope's heart is with us in Germany." He was watching the synodal procedure for church reform very attentively and "wants us to make headway," said Bätzing.