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LIMBURG, Germany (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops' Conference, is not only challenging the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality but is now allowing German Protestants to receive Christ's Real Presence in Holy Communion.
The latest smack against Church teaching came last Thursday when Bätzing spoke during an online discussion in Frankfurt: "Whoever believes in conscience what is celebrated in the other denomination will also be able to approach [the altar] and won't be rejected," asserted Bätzing.
The German bishops' reporting arm, Katholisch.de, reported the modernist prelate believes Protestant admittance to the sacrament of Communion is "nothing new," and that it's been "maintained up and down the country."
Bätzing was quick to push back against critics saying, "for many officials in Rome, the German Catholic Church has a Protestant smell." In disagreement, he chalked up criticisms to "fear," specifically of the German Church's so-called synodal path that's fostering disunity with the Catholic Church.
The high-ranking prelate continued his defense by directly attacking his superiors, arguing "you can also endanger unity by nurturing it with instruments that are unsuitable for the time and world in which we live, with its cultural diversity."
Bätzing went on to invoke the Pope's 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. According to the bishop, Pope Francis believes in a decentralized Church where decisions are made within the framework of Church doctrine and canon law.
"This is the way that we're trying," Bp. Bätzing related.
But the bishop's recent attempt to justify the move to include Protestants in the Eucharist explicitly violated canon law — specifically canon 844.
Canon 844 says, "Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to Catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from Catholic ministers."
Although the bishop does have the authority to make exceptions to this rule, 844 §2 clarifies the exceptions cannot occur unless "the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided." He also cannot issue these commands without, "consultation with the competent authority," as outlined in 844 §5.
There has been thus far no known consultation between the bishop and competent authority.
However, this isn't the first instance of Bätzing betting against the Church's instruction.
Just last week, he pushed back against the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) statement denouncing the blessings of homosexual unions. It declared:
God Himself never ceases to bless each of His pilgrim children in this world, because for Him "we are more important to God than all of the sins that we can commit." But he does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of His plan of love and allow himself to be changed by Him.
Disappointed, Bätzing treated the CDF's March 15 declaration as a point of debate. The bishop proclaimed, "But this does not help, because for a long time now there has been a pastoral development which goes beyond it." He then incorrectly reassured confused Catholics on the blessing of same-sex unions.
"A change is pending," promised Bätzing.
Radical positions, like those taken by Bätzing, are commonplace across the German Church. And, in some cases, they've inspired public disobedience to settled Church teaching — leaving Vatican doctrinal officials, again, in a constant struggle to rein in German prelates, priests and laypeople who don't want to follow the Catholic faith.
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