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BONN, Germany, September 15, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - A German bishop is advocating Holy Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholic spouses and urging a special blessing for same-sex couples.
In a recent interview with German newspaper Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur, Bp. Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, Germany, admits marital indissolubility yet questions whether adulterous second civil marriages "might actually correspond better to God's covenant with human beings."
Here's his full response:
KNA: A major issue will be divorced and remarried individuals. You have advocated allowing such persons to receive Holy Communion under certain conditions. What are those conditions?
Bode: Marriage is indissoluble according to the will of Jesus. With a sacramental marriage, something is concluded that never dissolves easily. Through human weakness, this relationship can still break and fail. People can enter into a new relationship that is more mature, but which does not have the same sacramental significance as the first. The question is whether this new reality, which might actually correspond better to God's covenant with human beings, must always have, as a consequence, the exclusion from the sacraments of penance and Holy Communion. We should also consider the question of what circumstances led to the breakdown of the marriage. Up to now, we have dealt with everyone in the same way, whether they were at fault or not. In addition, all this is connected to the understanding of the Eucharist. Does the Eucharist really represent unity with the Faith and with the Church, or is it an aid for those whose lives involve real wounds? The fact that people cannot express these things in confession and obtain forgiveness — that is something that I find more difficult than the question of Communion. (emphasis added)
Further, speaking about homosexual relationships, he insists the subject is "a matter of recognizing the strengths of homosexuals."
"The Church," he believes, "can be of assistance in life partnerships through dialogue and positive support." In fact, Bp. Bode maintains that same-sex unions ought to receive a blessing.
KNA: The way the Church deals with homosexuals will also be an important topic, together with the kind of value that is placed on stable partnerships. Is there a solution in the offing for those questions?
Bode: The Catechism makes it clear that we do not discriminate against these people. Just as with other individuals who live together before marriage, it is also a matter of recognizing the strengths of homosexuals, and not simply their weaknesses and shortcomings. Civil unions are not to be equated with marriage. For us, marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and which results in children. The Church can be of assistance in life partnerships through dialogue and positive support. However, there cannot be anything resembling marriage. Nevertheless, one can accompany them with prayer and a private form of blessing. (emphasis added)
Bishop Bode's dissenting remarks are just the latest in an unfortunate trend of German heterodoxy. His defense of Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics backs a proposal by Germany's Cdl. Walter Kasper, one of the leading voices of heresy in the Church right now. Further, Cdl. Reinhard Marx, yet another unfaithful prelate from the spiritually struggling nation, who speaks quasi-schismatically of independence from Rome, is no less than the head of the German bishops' conference.
Meanwhile, German clergy hardly even pretend to practice their faith sacramentally, as the country's laity flee from steep, government-enforced Church taxes.
English translation of the German interview provided by Robert John Bennett.
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