The Real Scandal in Germany

One might think we were living back in the days of the Renaissance. Tremendously high expenses for “luxurious” buildings by the Bishop of Limburg have brought him into the headlines as the “Protz-Bischof” (“the showy Bishop”). Scandal has rocked the diocese and Rome decided therefore in October 2013 that bishop Tebartz-van Elst was to take some time out, while a committee investigated the matter. He has retired to the Bavarian monastery of Metten, while awaiting a final decision.

Given the reaction of the press, of the diocese and the general public outcry, one might have thought he had done something far more serious. In reality, this affair is really about something quite different than a project that went over budget. Furthermore, it hides the fact that a far greater scandal has been going on, namely a division that has ripped the Church in Germany apart for a long time. Many members of the diocesan chapter, many priests and lay-people in Limburg have said that they won’t take the bishop back, even if his name is cleared.  They have said so in press-conferences, interviews and official statements. Their argument is that confidence has been lost which cannot be re-established. This says much, not only about the lack of Christian spirit in the diocese, but particularly about the Catholics’ relationship towards Rome. “The official church (die Amtskirche) can say what it wants, we, who are the Church, say and decide differently”; this is the line of reasoning behind this. The Church in Germany is thus sitting on a tinder-box; all it takes is for the bishop’s name to be cleared and for him to be sent back to his diocese, and we have the stuff out of which schisms are made.

What exactly happened? Under the previous bishop, Franz Kamphaus, the episcopal palace had gotten into disuse. During the 25 years of his reign, he lived in the seminary, because he had previously been its rector and wanted to continue residing there. Since it is a historical and beautiful building, right in the center of the city next to the cathedral, it became necessary to consider its renovation. This happened under his successor, Tebartz-van Elst; not only was the original building renovated, but a new diocesan center was created, in which the bishop would have his apartment as well. This would be in the interest of the diocese, protecting its patrimony for generations to come. This was all well and good. However, it became fuel for scandal, when the budgeted 2 million Euro, after going up to 5.5 million Euro, ballooned to over 30 million.

This obviously didn’t happen overnight, but by increments. Furthermore, the bishop was not alone in making these decisions, but had a committee. Whether or not this was side-stepped, whether he was therefore not alone in making “bad” decisions, and whether this over-budgeting was the wrong decision in the first place is something which still needs to be decided. Rome determined in the wake of the scandal that the bishop was to withdraw from his diocese for a while, during which time a commission would investigate the nature of the accusations and see, if there was any truth to them.  It is interesting to note, however, that the architect in charge of the project, Michael Frielinghaus, who is also head of the German architects’ association, states this was an adequate price for this kind of construction work; so does the architectural critic, Rainer Haubrich, who confirms it to be a lasting and beautiful complex without being luxurious. The diocese will be able to enjoy its use for generations to come.

In reality, the problem does not seem to be the money spent on the building (taken mostly from a foundation established in the nineteenth century, which the bishop was free to use under the supervision of a board of directors)—though that was a perfect excuse—but that Tebartz-van Elst stepped into a hornets’ nest. His predecessor Kamphaus had the reputation of being a liberal (he refused, for example, to follow John Paul II’s directives on getting out of the state’s abortion-counselling which implied signing a certificate, thereby allowing the woman to have an abortion, and thus providing close material cooperation in the act) and his conservative successor was thus bound to make enemies. The list of clashes is long.

Early on, for example, Tebartz-von Elst removed the priest, Peter Kollas, from his office of dean, after the latter had blessed a homosexual couple in the cathedral of Wetzlar in August 2008 (some see this as being at the root of the bishop’s further problems in the diocese).  Then he exchanged the press-spokesman and head of the diocesan tribunal with people recommended to him by the conservative Cardinal Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, which immediately caused an uproar among the priests of the diocese. A letter from June 2009, signed by 11 priests, criticized the “high-end kitsch,” “empty words” and “clerical pride” as consequence of the bishop’s rule. This shows that he was stirring up deep resentment, as he was trying to reform his diocese and making decisions, which were his to make. As he removed more people from their positions, he made more enemies. The liberals were in an uproar, criticized the bishop for his strict rule, speaking of an “authoritarian style of a Church of clerics fixated on Rome,” when they wanted to continue building their own private Church, which is in spirit, if not in name, already Protestant.

In the wake of the mounting building costs and the scandal arising from this, Cardinal Lajolo was sent by Pope Francis to visit the diocese in mid-September 2013 (though this was not an official visitation). He tried to dispel the tension, by asking the diocese to make a new start and the bishop to communicate better, but also spoke of a media-campaign against the bishop. Tebartz-van Elst asked for forgiveness and accepted to make the budgets and costs more transparent.

But nothing, it seems, could assuage the liberals, who want nothing else than to see the bishop leave. During the diocesan meeting mid-November, it was declared that a new beginning did not seem possible. During a public debate on November 14, the head of the deanery from Frankfurt, Johannes zu Eltz, spoke about the necessity to acknowledge wrong decisions in the selection of bishops. Those responsible for the choice, namely the Pope or the diocesan chapter, should “ask the faithful for forgiveness.” No person was there to defend the bishop, and it was declared that no serious defendant of Tebartz-van Elst from the domain of research, science or journalism could be found; when one knows the conservative Catholic intellectual scene in Germany, one realizes how ridiculous and unfounded this declaration is. The plenary meeting of the Zentralkommittee deutscher Katholiken, the most prominent representation of the Catholic laity in Germany, was no better and declared as well that Tebartz-van Elst should not return. Only one lone voice spoke out against this. A member of the Benedictine secular institute “St. Bonifatius” said how shocked she was by how the bishop had been ridiculed and excluded, and at the lack of Christian spirit she noticed.

Three months have passed since then. It is to be hoped that people have made good use of this time to reflect, for things will soon be settled; whether it is to their liking, is a different question. On Sunday, the German news magazine Focus reported online that the committee set up by the bishops’ conference to investigate the matter had reached the following conclusion: Tebartz-van Elst had not wasted any money on the diocesan center, nor had he side-stepped anybody. This news was leaked, however, and cannot be given the weight of an official statement. Since then the speaker of the bishops’ conference, Matthias Kopp, has explained that the commission has not yet finished its work and that its findings will first go to the bishops in February and then to Rome before being presented to the public. But an interview with archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the papal household, a week earlier, points in the same direction; for Gänswein declared he thought Tebartz-van Elst would be exonerated.

What will happen with the diocese? The alternatives presented by Focus which relies, as it states, on serious sources, is to dissolve the diocese, making it part of the dioceses of Mainz and Trier, or to send an administrator from Rome, thereby side-stepping the diocesan chapter. The first option is that of the German episcopal conference and the second is that of the Vatican. What will really happen remains open. But whatever it is, outright rebellion is a real possibility, if it is not to the liking of the rebellious priests, administrators’ and their followers’, as events over the past months have shown. If the Pope avoids conflict and Tebartz-van Elst does not return to his diocese, things will probably calm down. But the result of this would be a false peace, the kind of quiet that is present before a storm, for nothing will have been resolved, nothing improved. Only a real conversion of heart within the diocese and the Church in Germany in general (for Limburg simply mirrors the prevalent spirit at large) and a new understanding of what service to the Church means, nay what the Church itself is, would bring real peace. Contrary to the widespread misunderstanding, the Catholic Church is not a democratic institution, but the mystical body of Christ, which is hurt each time rebellion, hatred and dissent rear their ugly heads. Let us pray for an authentic renewal, so that the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in Germany in 2017 will not commemorate this event by its repetition.

(Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / DPA/ Fredrik von Erichsen.)

Marie Meaney


Marie Meaney received her doctorate and an M. Phil. in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford. She is the author of Simone Weil’s Apologetic Use of Literature: Her Christological Interpretations of Classic Greek Texts (Oxford University Press, 2007). Her booklet Embracing the Cross of Infertility (HLI) has also appeared in Spanish, German, Hungarian and Croatian. Before the birth of her daughter, she was a teaching fellow at Villanova University.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    It should be noted that the bishop of Limburg is elected by the Cathedral Chapter. If the canons do not like Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, they have no one to blame but themselves

  • sybarite123

    Just a note! As a retired religious priest, I live in a Community of Religious priests. Myself, I am appalled at the leftist opinions held strenuously by my fellow priests. ‘Conservative’ sites such as ‘Crisis’ are dismissed out of hand. Moreover these priests applaud what they consider to be a ‘rebellion’ of the German Episcopate against the Vatican. I want to relax and don’t wish to enter into useless and heated discussions about such matters. ‘Peace at all Costs’ is my philosophy. I’m sure I’m going to Hell. LOL. From Canada.

    • Dick Prudlo

      Please Father, do not join the legions of the indifferent.

    • Adam__Baum

      I think one of those fellows posts here under the handle “Hombre111”. Sorry you can’t seem to enjoy your retirement free from the noxious effluvia that old leftists are fond of emitting.

      P.S. I second Mr. Prudlo’s comment.

      • Art Deco

        Hombre111 professes to be a parish priest. If he is, another piece of evidence that the vocations directors and seminary rectors of that era were asleep at the switch.

        • Adam__Baum

          I’m so glad I have a good Pastor and assistant. Engaging, thoughtful and spiritually oriented homilies.

    • Netmilsmom

      God bless you Father.

    • ME II

      Father chin up !, pray, do penace and fasting for them, I understand you real well because I have the same situation here …..:-( Peace and Good ! .

    • Valentin

      Father all I can say is choose your fights wisely, don’t bait the nazis, but also don’t give up what is right if you’re asked about something. God bless you Father.

  • Ty

    Thank you for this fascinating article. I had believed the original narrative of the bishop with the lavish lifestyle.

    • me

      Of course it’s good to have the background and more info on the issue, but what happened to the lavish Jacuzzi? I still think that bishops should not have Jacuzzis…

      • guest

        There IS no jacuzzi. That was one of many lies told in this matter. Bein German, I follow the matter closely.

  • wraithby

    This is a blueprint for “progressive” Catholics in their attempts to “congregationalize” the Roman Catholic Church. All of the tools in the “progressive” toolbox are used i.e. calumny, lies, orchestrated media attacks, political campaign techniques to smear etc.

    Pope Francis is kidding himself if he believes that he can appease these wolves by talking liberal platitudes while keeping a lid on open dissent and erosion of doctrine by maintaining the JPII/BXVI status quo through the CDF.

    • slainte

      Those you describe as “progressive Catholics” constitute the present day manifestation of the “Spirit of Vatican II”.
      They are the descendants of those who supported the Winnipeg Statement in opposition to papal primacy and Humanae Vitae.

      • The Truth

        I’m still having a hard time understanding the term “progressive” or “liberal” Catholic. If you do not believe in the teaching’s of the Catholic church you are a Protestant. Doesn’yt get any simpler than that.

      • Brian O’Leary

        The historic issues mentioned above which have angered some in Limburg – dealing with abortion and the blessing of gay couples – have absolutely nothing to do with Vatican 2.

        Why do those who support such things within Catholicism use V2 as a rallying call when there is obviously no connection. The Council did many things, but the idea that it gives carte blanche for things which are clearly irreconcilable with Catholicism is ridiculous.

        • slainte

          The “Spirit” of VII is one of rebellion against the Church…hence my reference to the Winnipeg Statement and Humanae Vitae.

    • Adam__Baum

      You forgot one thing: Envy -which is the radioactive core of the atavism that calls itself “progressivism”.

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  • hombre111

    Hmm. Thanks for the background information. As much as anything it sounds like it a clash in style, as an autocrat, however well meaning, tried to replace a bishop who operated in close collaboration with his priests and people. Again and again, we hear that the Church is not a democracy, but is a hierarchy grounded in an ancient tradition. True enough. But in this era, the Church exists in the middle of people who have a strong democratic spirit that cannot be ignored. Her challenge is to be true to her past, and to the present. If there is a schism, both sides will be to blame.

    • Guest

      How are both sides to blame?

    • michael susce

      “democratic spirit” is a meaningless term. Under the Stalin regime, the USSR was touted (and believed to be by many in the West) as the greatest democracy in the history of mankind. Jesus was an autocrat and looked what happened to him.

      • hombre111

        Democratic spirit means people demand to be consulted and, in some way, their opinion counts.

        • musicacre

          In which country has Democracy produced saints?

          • quisutDeusmpc

            St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
            St. Katherine Drexel

          • firstparepidemos

            The British Blessed John Henry Newman; the Italian Blessed (soon-to-be Saint) John XXIII; the Australian St. Mary MacKillop; the Canadians Sts. Andre (Alfred Bessette) and Marguerite d’Youville.

            • musicacre

              I wasn’t being literal, but thanks for the short litany. I meant how many saints are produced by wanting to be constantly consulted and having their opinions “count” re: overthrowing morality and traditional beliefs. I didn’t literally mean how many saints were produced from Democracies!

        • Adam__Baum

          You mean like when the people of a state vote on the meaning of marriage and some imperial pharisee in black robes vacates that decision?

    • ColdStanding

      Close collaboration, OK. Let’s receive this good news with joy. Let us
      not strain our selves with asking what, exactly, it was that they were closely
      collaboration on. You don’t know. I don’t know. All we have
      as an indication are the fruits of said collaboration. It can be said
      that there is a certain “ripeness” in the air.

      Also, how can you tell he was an “autocrat”? Well meaning or otherwise? Do
      you know the man? Or are you relying upon press releases? Just

      And your use of the qualifier “But in this era…” is a text book example of paying
      lip service to the government style that is connatural to the Church (Latin
      isn’t a holy language, however, it is connatural, through very long usage, to
      the Church) then immediately after completely dismissing it on the using the
      super-trump card pastoralism.

      Mathew 21: 28-32
      comes to mind.

      • hombre111

        The Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Ganswein, said that he wasted money, was non-communitative, and skipped controlling bodies in favor of his personal decisions. Sounds like autocracy to me. Yes, in ages past, an authoritarian style of government was “connatural” with the Church. But democracy is connatural to this era, and the Church seems more and more a relic belonging to the past.

        • fredx2

          You are misled. Ganswein said that he thought that Tebartz would be cleared of charges of wasting money, non-communication, etc. Here is the original German:

          «Ich glaube sehr wohl, dass die Untersuchung Vorwürfe bezüglich Geldverschwendung, Nichtkommunikation und Überspringung von Kontrollorganen zu Gunsten des Bischofs ausräumen wird»,

          “I do believe that the investigation will clear up allegations of a waste of money, non-communication and skipping of controlling bodies in favor of the bishop,” Gänswein said in an interview with the online edition of the “Mittelbayerischen Zeitung” in Regensburg

        • ColdStanding

          It is incorrect to call his decisions “personal” when he is in, in fact, exercising his executive role as bishop. Personal decisions are what you are going to wear or eat or where you are going to live; they pertain to the person. Executive decision are made on behalf of an organization of sundry sort, by those duly authorized to make them. If you think autocrats are passe, we’ll, just look around, they are everywhere. Committees can be just as dictatorial. You should know that by now.

          Connatural doesn’t happen over night. 100 years isn’t long enough.

        • Adam__Baum

          But a relic that pays you a sinecure for what would get your keister on the street for gross insubordination elsewhere. More staff accountability-that’s what we need.

    • fredx2

      I doubt that the people were upset because they were not consulted. They were upset because the new bishop was conservative, and they wanted someone liberal. All the other stuff is pretense. If the guy had been liberal, and had been supporting gay marriage, etc, he would be their hero, no matter how much he consulted or did not consult.

    • Paul

      There are some things you ought to consider :
      a) There is no such thing as “Democracy”, by which you mean
      b) “people demand to be consulted and, in some way, their opinion counts”, if so should hate speech – which encourages violent acts or crimes of hate etc..- be also allowed ?
      c) No, the Church is not autocratic nor is it a democracy – since, according to Plato, Democracy is one of the weakest form of governance. However the Church is better than all the systems aforementioned because She is the closest one can get to “noocracy”.

      • hombre111

        Yes, the Church is better than all the systems aforementioned. And so bishops moved predatory priests around. When these great leaders were warned in the mid-eighties, exercised their governance by punishing the men who authored the report, and tried to bury the thing. Fortunately, it was printed in the NCR. A few bishops, like my own, responded in the early nineties, but the greatest of the great, including Cardinals in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, wisely shuffled the molesters around. In the meanwhile Rome, ever on the lookout for moral disorder, noticed nothing. Charges had surfaced about one Marcel Maciel, founder of the Legionnaires of Christ. The Successor of Peter, now in his dotage, responded by giving Maciel high honors.
        By the year 2000, the sex abuse scandal was rocking the U.S.. None of the wise, implicated bishops resigned. The great governors of Rome gave Cardinal Law refuge and high honors in Rome, and continued to ignore Maciel, except to give him papal blessings. The other great governors throughout Europe, South America, and Asia, stayed in their dreamlike trance, watching for heresy, not imagining that the secular world was going to discover their wise decisions about the sexual predators in their midst.
        The scandal finally reached Rome, with the realization that the highest shepherd had done little or nothing about Maciel and others. Ratzinger, who did know, had to wait until the Pope had his last surgical procedure to pry one more beat out of his feeble heart, and finally gave up the ghost. Then, at long, long last, this greatest form of governance was able to address the catastrophe. But in the meanwhile, the Church had suffered this terrible, self-inflicted blow.
        So much for a “nocracy.”
        Finally, the sex abuse scandal exploded world-wide

        • Adam__Baum

          Life isn’t fair. If it there was perfect accountability, you’d be wearing a blue smock and saying “welcome to Walmart” for insubordination and Cuomo, Pelosi and Biden would be denied Communion, or better there would be formal recognition of the acts that excommunicated them.

        • readthis13579

          They sent the offenders first to the New Mexico rehabilitation facility for pedophile priests.

  • Rusty

    ‘Twas ever thus.

    If anyone truly believes that an organization as complex and large as the Catholic Church can be managed by fiat rather than through the ongoing course of dialogue amongst the various parts, they do not understand human nature. To the extent that all members of the Church are sinners and are therefore flawed, the call to obedience is a double-edged sword.

    I don’t know anything about the situation in Germany’s branch of the Church, but we know what happened when the Germans simply followed orders. Obedience must always be subordinate to the conscience. Schism is not avoided through suppression – only dialogue and openness to understanding by all parties can do that.

    Blessed are the peacemakers.

    • Guest

      Error has no rights.

      The measure of humility is obedience.

      • Tom

        All people are sinners, thus err. St Peter erred. God gave us a conscience and a free will to err, or not to err, to get back up. We can only best avoid sin by humbly asking for His Grace. Thus the statement “error has no right” has no reality, just bad modernistic pseudo theology to serve rigid politic agendas, be it following Mao or Videla.

        • Guest

          God gave a conscience to do good, not evil.

          • Tom

            God gave a conscience to choose to do good. There is a big difference. He made us in his image, but not into gods. We are imperfect sinners, by our fallen nature. By it self, our free
            will is not enough to fight Evil. We need His Grace, the we got from His Cross, that we petition in prayer, to help us do His Will, his two commandments, to Love Him and neighbor, do good, and avoid sin. There are obvious non negotiable, like not killing innocent babies in utero; but the moment one starts to think that one is perfect, like a god, one is not Christian.

            • DD

              People have rights, but error has no rights. The Chuch does not coerce if She corrects and defends the faith and souls. There is no right to evil or to error. It is quite wrong to set up this faux equation where you claim the Church is coercing anyone. It is these dissenters who coerce and scandalize. Get it right.

              • Tom

                It all depends how you define “error”. If you mean, as a Catholic, choosing to do something against Faith teachings, that is called to sin. One can to mend ones ways, with the Sacraments, starting with confession and acts of repentance. In the Gospels there are many examples, like the beautiful passage of the women at the well. Jesus, being God, knew about her before she was born, about her errors, but he waited for her to come to him. He did not coerce, condemn or wag his finger about “rights” that she did not have.
                “dissenters who coerce and scandalize” –>I would agree with that statement, for example, the HHS mandate is a coercion, that goes against anti tyranny principals of the founding fathers.

              • Tom

                Sin has no right. To make a mistake is part of our human fallen nature. We all were given the right to correct our failings. Get it right. The saying “error has no right” is idiotic, stop spewing like a parrot things, and learn to use your God given brain.

    • Adam__Baum

      “Schism is not avoided through suppression – only dialogue and openness to understanding by all parties can do that.”

      And the winner of the 2014 Neville Chamberlain for Hubris and Unbridled Faith in Negotiation Award is…..

      • Rusty

        I find your post offensive. Remember, it was Winston Churchill, not Neville Chamberlain, who is understood to have said “To jaw-jaw always is better than to war-war”

        The naked exercise of power is usually a blunt instrument. Given its impact, I suggest it ought to be used as a scalpel rather than a bludgeon.

        Or even an Atom bomb.

        • Guest

          It is not about power. It is about truth and justice.

          • Rusty

            I suppose how it is characterized depends on whether one is suppressing or being suppressed.

            My original post made clear that I know nothing about the actual conflict in Germany – my comments are related to the apparent existence of significant conflict between factions that others have described as liberal or otherwise.

            I don’t know who is “right” because I don’t have enough information to make that judgement. Slogans don’t really help very much.

            • Guest

              I was not using a slogan but traditional moral theology.

        • Ford Oxaal

          I think the ‘take offense card’ is pretty much a momma’s boy play these days. It was once used to great affect, ha ha, by vicious communist animals and screaming feminists to bully decent, though somewhat gullible, Christian folk. But even though it took a long time, most people realize when you ‘take offense’, you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing crying wolf.

          • Rusty

            Given that this is a Catholic site, I am amazed at the vitriol that is expended. It is disappointing that ad hominem attacks are used instead of addressing the actual points being raised.

            Charity begins at home. It is possible to disagree without attacking the person with whom we disagree. Hearing other points of view should not be threatening – humans are supposed to be rational creatures, so the discussion really should take place on the basis of reason.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Come on — lighten up!! Have a glass of wine. Don’t take offense, please — see the humor, laugh a little. Just jerking your chain. 🙂

            • Adam__Baum

              You weren’t subject to an ad hominem.

              • Rusty

                I was both compared to Neville Chamberlain, and called a momma’s boy. I think both those remarks are ad hominem.

                I make my living conducting labour negotiations. There is a time and a place for exercising power to enforce the will. It always has unintended and negative effects, even if the original aim was achieved.

                People do not react well to coercion. If you are going to exercise raw power, you better completely destroy the opposing party or you will find the conflict isn’t really over – it will just persist or go underground.

                You need to obtain the agreement, or at least the acquiescence of the people who are being subjected to authority. Conflict Management 101.

                • Adam__Baum

                  “I was both compared to Neville Chamberlain, and called a momma’s boy. I think both those remarks are ad hominem.”

                  Well, then you don’t understand “ad hominem”. You can’t just yell “ad hominem” (incorrectly) to avoid comparison to historical figures. Ford didn’t call you a momma’s boy either, he complained about the tactic of taking offense.

                  You also have power and authority confused. Organizational Management 101.

                  • DD

                    Amen. This abuse of language is propaganda.

                  • Rusty

                    I will let your statements speak for themselves. Just because you say it is so, doesn’t make it so.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Does this mean we’re done with your contrived indignity, now?

                • Guest

                  If this is your view of truth then you are quite wrong. It is not about “raw” power or imposition.

        • Adam__Baum

          Well, I found your post offensive, so we’re even.

          Your statement betrayed a certain naivete. Churchill may have said it is BETTER to “jaw-jaw”, but he didn’t go on the fool’s errand Chamberlain did waiving a piece of paper pronouncing that he had secured peace (and making the mistake that an absence of conflict, purchased through surrender is peace).

          Your statement indicates blind faith in negotiation. The article asserts that there are bad actors using contrived indignities to advance another cause. To what degree it’s true in this case, I know not beyond what’s asserted here. However, in general, that’s life.

          Too assume that everything can be solved by a “rap session” is naive’

        • Hegesippus

          Education trumps both.
          The liberals only exist in the Church due to a lack of catechesis over the last few decades. The Bride of Christ has become a social club for many. If they knew what the Church actually is, many would drop this nonsense or leave.
          By educating the faithful on Catholicism, there would be no need for talk of (preventing) schism.

  • cestusdei

    The money was simply the excuse. How many were concerned about Cardinal Mahoney spending 200 million dollars on a hideous new cathedral? He sold papal knighthoods to help raise the cash. He was ultra liberal, so he gets a pass.

    • Adam__Baum
      • cestusdei

        I remember Weakland and his destruction of his cathedral. It was very expensive. These liberals have no taste.

        • Isabelle

          Thats because they come from hell.

          • firstparepidemos

            …and your vicious and unchristian comment comes from where? Certainly not from God.

          • Valentin

            lol, you may want to either rephrase that or explain it. Certainly liberalism is from the Devil because it includes not giving a crap about your neighbor as well as many other things, and liberals do sometimes seem almost demonically stupid and cold hearted.

            • Tim Haws

              What Would Jesus Think? The comments on liberalism are humorous at least and pathetic at most. Failed Christians you all are.

              • Art Deco

                Well, he might look at your Disqus history and conclude you have nothing to say worth reading.

                • Tim Haws

                  I would disagree. But I don’t claim a false higher ground or moral superiority such as yourself. But i will teach you something as I turn the other cheek….

                  • Valentin

                    rather than saying poo poo actually point out what the hellc you mean instead of accusing people of stupidity without any explanation.

                    • Tim Haws

                      Ok, but I’m going to use some words that are more than two syllables, so it might be difficult still for you to understand.
                      First, Jesus was a liberal, radical jew.
                      second, what you state about “liberals” is both hateful and wrong. You are showing both ignorance and your ugly side. Try again.

                    • Art Deco

                      First, Jesus was a liberal, radical jew.

                      Given time and diligent effort, you may succeed in not being a caricature.

                    • Tim Haws

                      you continue to justify my initial post. I forgive you….

                    • Valentin

                      Jesus Christ is the Son of God and if you want to call him a radical liberal Jew than at least explain what the hell you mean rather than throwing those terms around loosely because Old testament Jews are not the same as what one would now call a Jew and the phrase liberal is used in so many different ways that you should explain what you mean rather than throwing around terms like liberal. Believe it or not I can read words that are longer than two syllables you prodding bastard. By the way, Jew is supposed to be capitalized if you want to poke fun at my grammatical skills.

  • me

    So what happened to the $20,000 bathtub? Was it a lie or does it exist? Yeah yeah yeah it’s good to renovate buildings and so on and so forth, but you getta have some transparency and some accountability as well. The architect says it’s ok to spend that amount of money, but why did the budget balloon to such a ridiculous amount? Was someone lying, was someone stealing? Come on, we are dealing with fallen human nature here.

    The funds were from some 19th century account – when my church is being renovated I really want to know how the priest is spending the money – cause it’s our money, for the good of the community.

    I understand all the noise behind, thanks for the explanation, but then, if this bishop were smart, he would have taken even more precautions no? I mean, if you are surrounded by enemies, even better to make things more transparent so you don’t have to explain later on why you’re buying a $20,000 bathtub. I mean, seriously. And now Rome has to deal with it… Were I the Pope I’d chastised this bishop for being so “naive” and bring me problems and divisions instead of solutions and union.

    • Marcelus

      Just another and new way this time,of framing this man’s rampant wa of life and expenses into the “Oh It’s the liberals again against this poor Traditional Bishop”. Cmon …articles like it or not seemed to have a background and foundation. This tries to justify the unjustifiiable, A Bishop of the Church riding a BMW, living in a palace…for him or anybody else? with a hand on your heart: do you admit?

      Reminds me of the extremely partial piece on Islam from days ago, “Burning ” Francis for his EG and “accidentally” forgetting BXVI more beningn stance on the same issue.

      • me

        Let me be clear, I don’t like the liberals nor the progressives. But I’m not going to defend this bishop just because his enemies happen to be the liberals. I mean, he’s done wrong and he has to pay for it. Nobody, specially in the Church, needs a $20,000 bathtub. This is what I call misuse of money. Money badly spent.

        • Marcelus

          Likewise .I Agree
          This guy should tour Africa or L America. The article turns this into and ideological issue

        • Hegesippus

          I’d like to see the receipt for the bathtub before I believe the media on this one. It’s just too convenient a story.

          • me

            Perhaps he’s showing them to the Pope. Let’s wait.

      • That half-million dollar classic BMW is not the bishop’s; he’s just posing for a photo at a classic car show.

        • Marcelus

          Could be but I remember also an issue with a car too and this man. . I followed it for a while. Nevertheless, fact stands this man is zillions of miles away from today a Bishop and the Church and Peter is expected to be and I’b guess even a ‘ traditional ‘ bishop would find himself uncomfortable around. Hit on Peter anyway you can, and not talking about you particularly, that is fine, but now twisting things and making this… bishop a victim……. please. Again send him to a parish in Africa.

          • Methinks that you are committing an injustice by making a strawman and likening it with Bp. Elst.

          • Guest

            How about sending all the liberal dissenters over there to Africa? Perhaps they would stop scandalizing others with their immoral ideologies and learn something for a change.

            Is the bishop the real problem? Why? Because cash is involved? The real problem is dissent of huge proportions that devastates souls.

    • Blah Blaah

      …Why did the budget balloon to such a ridiculous amount?

      If you’ve ever paid for a remodel of your home, or if you’ve ever built a home, you know why. Estimates for construction are always estimates; deadlines are always estimates; and a lot of bad stuff just can’t be seen until you start ripping out walls and you discover pipes leaking, water damage, termites, crumbling mortar, no proper foundation (building built right on earth or with a foundation that has decayed dangerously), roof supports that won’t support one more roofing tile without caving in, and on and on. The older the building, the worse it can be, especially if a building has been neglected or closed for a long time. Then as the delays keep the project from moving forward, you may find that technology has moved on, and the boiler room you thought had to be THIS big only has to be ‘that’ big, and now walls need to be moved and windows need to be moved and pipes and wiring need to be re-routed. The roofing tiles you ordered because they are cheap now are only manufactured in China and will cost twice as much as you expected because of shipping, but you can’t cancel the order because you have to get those tiles on the roof NOW before the bad weather comes in so you can seal the building and start on the interior. Meanwhile the roofing company has gone out of business and you have to find another, which means hiring someone to cover the roof with plastic (more unexpected expense) to attempt – and fail – to seal the roof until the roof can be put on. Then you have to pay for the water damage that got in even while you had plastic on the roof.

      Renovating a building is like travelling slowly downward into the circles of hell and paying for first-class travel and accommodation all the way.

      Ask any architect or building contractor how many renovations they’ve seen come in on time and on budget. Wait around until they stop laughing. And don’t forget, there’s not just one deadline here. A major renovation has got several teams working in a delicate dance of deadlines: some demolish; some do the plumbing, some the electricity, some the carpentry, some do tiling, some do painting and every ‘team’ has got to be carefully scheduled so that when one team has done its work, the next team can take over and do its work – all the while these teams are also scheduled to be somewhere else doing other jobs in between their time on your job. So when one team can’t put in the windows because the window makers sent the wrong size, the building can’t be sealed and weather-tight, the teams waiting to do interior work can’t start and they go off to another scheduled job and can’t come back for three months… The whole thing gets slowed down dramatically, and you’re still paying for things like security on the porous building, dumpsters, scaffolding, and so on that’s sitting there unused.

      The real question is, ‘How do you do a major renovation of an old building WITHOUT costs ballooning?’ Solve that one and you might get a Nobel prize.

      • me

        I accept that, even though I think that going from EUR2m to EUR30m is a bit *extreme* I’d say. If he had accountability and transparency, we wouldn’t be discussing that, would we? To be honest, we’ve had enough of those shoddy deals… The Vatican bank comes to mind. It’s good they are trying to clean it up there.

        • Hegesippus

          I thought the report above stated quite clearly that there is a committee in charge of the renovation.
          Where are they in all of this?

          • me

            Committee headed by him… According to some reports in the German press they even had to swear vows of secrecy… Again I’ll repeat: had he been clear and forward about this we wouldn’t be discussing it because there would be nothing to hide.

      • me

        And by the way, just to make it clear, I’m not asking that bishops should live like paupers or anything like that. I’m just asking for common sense. A $20,000 bathtub is definitely not common sense.

        • elle

          I don’t know… I have a $1000 paint job in my bathroom. It’s all in the phrasing. We bought the paint, went to prime the wall, and found chunks falling out behind the old paint (latex is great for you giving a visual facelift, as well as actually keeping all the crumbs sealed in), then found that the walls were soft because the surround in the tub wasn’t sealed in the back corner at the bottom edge, and the water had been traveling down the back of the tub, behind the wall, and under the toilet. So. To paint my bathroom I had to remove the toilet, tub surround, flooring, and sub-floor. Then buy/salvage what I could, reinstall/install new stuff, and then….then I got to paint! So you take an old building, with a million wiring/plumbing issues, probably some mold and cracks and crumbly spots, and to get the tub in, you have to replace 4/4 of the room that it is going into.

  • Don Campbell

    These two views of the Church cannot co-exist in unity. They are mutually exclusive. It must be one or the other. We all knew which it was under JPII and BXVI. During BXVI’s pontificate, the liberal “progressives” who want to ruin the Church by submitting to the modern culture on divorce and remarriage, homosexual marriage, abortion and other issues had to pretty much keep their heads down and their mouths shut. Under Pope Francis, they feel free to spout whatever nonsense they want. This “relaxing” of the requirement for adherence to orthodox views of the Church and its teachings will NOT bring unity, as Pope Francis hopes. Let those whose views have – properly – been marginalized and stifled out of the box and they will become ever more bold and agressive. This will bring disunity and possibly schism.

    • Arriero

      This Pope has not touched a single comma from the Cathecism.

      His teaching is Catholic. Neither Orhtodox nor Progressive. It is Catholic, period.

      All of you who mistrust this Pope are doing a lot of harm to the Church, with your half-baked words and continuous questioning of the Pope’s work. You’re playing the same «liberal» game. A game of divide and win, of creating discord.

      Ask me something. Have you really read the works of Pope Francis on marriage, abortion, etc.? Believe me he is going to put everybody in his place, both the «liberals» (in the american meaning of the word) and the other «liberals» (in the european meaning of the word).

      As the great Roman jurist Ulpianus said: «Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi».

      • If the teaching of the pope is not orthodox (right teaching), then it’s heterodox (wrong teaching), or no teaching at all, but heresy.

        • Arriero

          Wrong. «Heterodox» was what the great meister Eckhart teached. He was accepted fully within the Church under Pope Benedict – the greatest intellectual the Church has had in centuries -. That Meister Eckhart may be currently accepted within the Church’s magisterium means that his views, despite being considered «heterodox» when he lived, are – and have always been – completely Catholic. Ultimately, this is what really counts. Any big Catholic intellectual had «heterodox» views at first (beginning with the Fathers, Aquinas, St. Agustine, etc.) but his views were ALWAYS Catholic, though was necessary a period of time to accept them as within «Catholic orthodoxia». In fact, the Catholic understanding of the «dogma» follows the same path: universal truths that in a singular period of time were considered within the Catholic orthodoxia, although they had been always truths.

          I have no problem if this Pope is «heterodox» insofar as he stays within the Catholic magisterium – where he has always been -. The Church, though being a hierarchical and dogmatic Institution, is a life body of Truth and Goodness. The differentiation made between «heterodox» and «orthodox» is misleading and innapropiate (as the difference between «traditional» or «progressive» Catholics). The question to ask is: is that thing, that opinion or that man Catholic or not? I don’t care if the Pope comes from the Latin catholic tradition – like this Pope – or from the Centro-European Catholic tradition – like the last two -; I care about the Catholic essence in their views, period.

          • I don’t know what you mean. Eckhart was never really declared a heretic, but some of his positions were deemed so. I don’t know if he recanted them or if they were censored after his death. Still, as of today, those teachings of his continue to be considered not-Catholic. And, by the way, Card. Ratzinger, not Pope Benedict XVI, defended Eckhart, but it stopped there and he did nothing about it after becoming pope. He’s probably much like Origen, a Father of the Church, but not raised to the altars because some of his writings were heretic.

            But it shows a certain bad will to compare what you think of Eckhart with a pope. Eckhart was no pope. By definition, a pope would be incapable of teaching heterodoxy, i.e., heresy.

            But it was you who equated “traditional” with “orthodox” and “progressive” with “heterodox”. You are the one confusing them for no good reason and for no good at all.

          • Valentin

            Whether or not Eckhart was Heterodox or not, the word Heterodoxy means wrong opinion. You can complain about European tradition all you want but looking at Argentina for just a moment where people have burned statues of Pope Francis and spat at people praying the Rosary doesn’t make me think that Argentina has a good culture, especially when prisoners are able to get 3 foot long shanks in prisonhttp :// . That being said I pray that Pope Francis may do a good job as the successor of Christ.

      • elarga

        I think Pope Francis only has a problem communicating his ideas; too often he assumes too much on the part of the hearer. He needs to be a bit more thorough and careful in his statements to avoid misunderstandings, of which there have been far too many already.

        • I hope that the office of the papacy grows on him rather than the other way around. I pray that he’s obedient to the requirements of the office and let himself be shaped by it. After all, were Francis to shape the office after his own image, he’d be clerical, supposedly the last thing he’d choose to be.

        • Arriero

          I’ve not misread a single statement from this Pope. None. He sounds to me clear like water, perfectly correct and exquisitely Catholic.

          One has to ask to himself: why I’ve misread this Pope? Or why I’ve felt misplaced by some of his words? I’m assessing him from a sheer religious point of view, or I’m assessing him politically or even economically, as some calvinist catholics did in some financial outlets – see Limbaugh or Kudlow, both divorced more than two times, by the way -.

          I’ve the impression that in America almost everything is alwats assessed from a political point of view. This usually leads to misunderstandings.

          • Valentin

            I don’t know who Kudlow is but Limbaugh was wrong to call the Pope a Marxist. That being said I have a serious problem with Evengelium Vitae where it says that the power of the Church should be decentralized from the head of the Church. The problem with that is that the head of the Church is Christ.

      • Don Campbell

        The Pope is 100% Catholic. He has not nor will he refute any element of the dogma of the Church. We are assured that he won’t. And if he did then we could all pack it in and go home because that would show the Church to be a fraud. But I do take issue with his strategy. A large percentage of Catholics explicitly reject the Church’s inerrant teaching on moral issues such as homosexuality, marriage, divorce, re-marriage after divorce, abortion, etc. This is not a situation where they believe what the Church teaches but have failed to live up to it and need mercy / forgiveness. That describes all of us. Rather, it is a situation where they affirmatively reject the unchangeable teaching of the Church, and instead say “I can believe whatever I want.” That is very un-Catholic. Catholics are required to assent to the Church’s magisterium! So, Pope Francis thinks he’s going to reach these people by offering mercy and non-judgmentalism. I doubt it. They don’t think they need mercy! The judgmentalism of which they complain in not the rejection of their behavior per se, but its rejection of their beliefs as being untrue. They will never be satisfied with an offer of mercy and forgiveness for sins they do not consider sins. They don’t like the Church’s definition of sin and so they want to change the definition. They won’t be satisfied with anything less, no matter how far the arm of mercy is extended.

      • Marcelus

        Excellent post. It is an American site after all therefore most news review under that glass unfortunately. I have seen Crdl Bergoglio here in Argentina battle against same sex marriage and abortion legislation. Incidentally the abortion legislation was passed by the conservative government of the mayor of Buenos Aires, not even by the left wing Kirchner gvnmt . The work of the devil he said plain and simple. And more.
        Lots of the things he does were specifically defined before the conclave And it was requested from the next Pope , such as the council of 8 Crdnls and the current need for a more pastoral approach combined with the doctrinal teaching. The do not exclude each other. Look up in YouTube there is and interview with Francis when in Brazil and it is subtitled in English. I had not seen it but it brings about a lot of light to what we are seeing today.

  • Koufax

    Oh, liberal Catholics, why do you betray the Bride of Christ over and over again? Blessed Mother, please tell your Beloved Son to have mercy on us. I understand that the Barque of Peter will never sink but the waves are getting higher and stronger.

    • MgW

      Koufax, i keep thinking of all those battles in the movie”Lord of The Rings”, the Orc’s kept multiplying and in each battle, they seemed to be getting larger and stronger against our heros (the Church), .but yet the tiny band of heros (humans, elves and dwarfs …holymen angels and saints) were victorious in the end, because of Gandolf’s assistance (The Holy Spirit). This must play out, but we already know the outcome, the gates of hell shall not previal! Jesus is victorious!

      YOU SHALL NOT PASS!-Gandolf to “the Balorog”

      • Koufax

        MgW, yes you are right. Also great Lord of the Rings reference!

    • Valentin

      With the exception of the Philippines and other niches in the world, true faithful Catholics are the minority, God willing we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ and see Justice.

  • ColdStanding

    No, no, it is not “we who are the Church”. It is “we who are Church.” For some reason, it is the fashion to drop the article.

  • pattif

    Is there anyone amongst those condemning the Bishop for spending $20,000 on a bathtub who has actually seen an invoice for that amount for a bathtub? If not, perhaps they might think it prudent to reserve judgment.

    • Adam__Baum

      What? Let facts get in the way of a good rant? Horrors!

      • me

        Think about that: why doesn’t he publish his numbers? Why all the secrecy? Seriously, if it’s just a question of numbers, show the numbers. If the budget went from EUR3 to EUR30m because of some rotten structures, show the numbers.

        • Think about this: why don’t people check the facts and do repeat falsehoods?

          • me

            Sorry, but what are the falsehoods? That the guy didn’t like a bit of luxury?

            • The newspaper corrected the figure billed for installing the bathtub to $4000. Given that it’s a historic building, seems fair. But the point is not that the bishop, not just a gut, liked luxury. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but it’s not a sin and does not qualify or disqualify him for the episcopacy. That anyone would get hung up on a venial vice, even if the case be, is pathetic.

              • me

                I asked for the link and nobody provided it. I found a version that says that someone else says that it was around 4k. Anyways, I think this kind of problem happened because 1) he spent the majority of the funds that was accumulated over the centuries and 2) the German Catholic is not like the American Catholic: we give money to our churches out of our own free will, and we decide how much to give. The German Catholic has it taxed from his paycheck, and the government collects it and gives it to the church. If that happened here, I could just but just imagine the cry out.

                • Adam__Baum

                  he spent the majority of the funds that was accumulated over the centuries

                  And if he didn’t spend it, would there be complaints of excess accumulations of wealth?

                  Why is Germany the bassinet of so much conflict? Luther, the “progressive” movement, Nazis….

                  • me

                    I can’t answer that question, I don’t know why Germany is a hotbed of rebellion.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I seriously wonder about this. Everybody knows the technical skills that nation has-Mercedes, BMW, Siemens.. I’ve used the accounting system SAP, despite the fact that it forces the user to adapt to it, it’s amazingly well thought out, coherent that lets you get what you need. (unlike Oracle).

                • It’s a matter of right and proportional reaction. Without either, it’s no justice at all.

                  Was any bishop who owned a book store chain which published and sold pornography suspended and sent to Latin America or Africa? Was any diocesan lay group scandalized and demanded the removal of such bishops? Yet, when it comes to money, it seems that it’s the worst sin of all. Well, it ain’t it.

                  • me

                    I’m not advocating that people be sent to Africa or Latin America, hehe, as a form of punishment. And of course not, a bishop involved in pornography should be defrocked. There’s no space for such people in the hierarchy of the Church. I don’t care if such bishop is a leftist or a traditionalist.

                    • However, when the scandal involving the Weltbild publishing and selling pornography, nothing came out of it. Almost all German bishops permit Catholic hospitals to administer the day-after pill. Almost all German bishops are receiving divorced and remarried people. Yet, none of these heretical bishops who are leading souls to damnation were suspended. But woe to the bishop who wastes money!

                    • me

                      I get your point, ok. But I don’t agree with it and I’ll explain: everybody in your example should be punished, no matter their “political” affiliations. Let’s clean this up, I’m tired of so many scandals and so much dirt in the Church. I’m not a big fan of “relativization”, meaning, the liberals did that so we are ok to do so – or, if caught red handed, to cry “hey but the liberals do that all the time!”

                    • I understand. Let me explain too.

                      I think that while the examples I gave are unquestionably scandals, the situation with Elszt is filled with misinformation and lack of details. We just don’t have enough honest information to discern this episode.

                      Besides, in the range of gravity of matter, financial mismanagement is much, much lower than the promotion of pornography or changing Church teaching. If our own reaction is not proportional to the offense, than we commit injustice and give scandal. I hope that this is not the case with Rome, but it wouldn’t be the first time that it erred greatly.

                    • me

                      Now we’re both in agreement with everything.

              • Adam__Baum

                That anyone would get hung up on a venial vice, even if the case be, is pathetic.

                Contrived indignity?

        • firstparepidemos

          Exactly. If this guy were some ‘liberal’ bishop, the commentators on this thread would screaming for the figures and demanding that Rome investigate. I’m not about to defend the (alleged) spending of so much money just because the bishop is orthodox in his views.

          • Guest

            The sad thing is that it is specifically the numbers that make a difference to people. It is tragic. What should get people alarmed and disgusted is the huge liberal dissent that is a tidal wave there destroying souls.

  • When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith in Germany?

    • Adam__Baum

      He might find a bustling Mosques, like the one in Cologne and empty Cathedrals.

    • Guest

      Apparently he may find people agitated about money but not much in the way of faith. It is a real concern.

      • Adam__Baum

        Wow that nailed it. There’s an agitated fiscal indignation here that betrays a certain obsession with money.

        What’s worse? $20,000 spent on a bathtub (assuming this is accurate expenditure) or a couple hundred bucks spent in the 1980’s spent by a Chicago Cardinal to send a low-life with political ambition to a conference inspired by a radical who dedicated his magnum opus to the prince of lies?

        • me

          To be honest I think both are bad.

          • Adam__Baum

            The worse one is rarely mentioned.

        • Valentin

          Well on the one hand you have an expensive and inefficiantly executed renovation project, on the other you have another inexpensive brick that is placed in the road to hell.

  • former diocesan dept. head

    I do not completely doubt the turn this author took in her piece. I worked under two Bishops and basically this brought me into the belly of the church. Yes, the so-called “liberals” were in charge and did everything in their power to undermine church authority. That being said the labels of “liberal,” or “conservative”/traditional” only disguises the genuine underlying problem within the church. There is a grave problem. Beyond the analysis of this author, and with my experience on the inside, there is much more to this story than perhaps we will ever know. The buildings and their restoration is commendable. It is the $20,000 bathtub which set off a great alarm in me. No one will name the elephant in the room, neither “liberal” for fear of being called a bigot nor the traditional for fear of blackmail/or other repercussions for the admission that they have a problem. That bathtub, if it were for medicinal reasons, would not have cost $20,000. I would wager that the tub accommodates more than one person. It is time that Catholics face certain realities which must be addressed and not cloaked in the usual liberal vs traditional argument.

    • me

      It’s a Jacuzzi hahahahaha. Totally agree with you. He should publish the numbers to shut everybody up. He hasn’t, and it’s because he has no good explanation for some of them. It might involve a lot of other sins as well, like stealing etc. Not talking only about him, but about his committee and collaborators as well.

    • Guest

      How do we know that number is correct?

  • Jean-Francois

    As someone noted on another site, the cost of the “bathtub” was not $20K but closer to $4K. A German newspaper posted a correction but as we often see the original claim makes a headline, the correction is a sentence on the back page. Secondly does anyone know for sure if that amount was an actual receipt for a tub or a cost that includes plumbing, installation etc? Since neither I nor any of us posting have seen any official documentation it might be best to avoid speculating on things we don’t know about.

    • firstparepidemos

      I agree. Unless the figures are published, speculation will continue. This begs the question of why did the bishop not release the financial details? What does he have to hide? Besides, even the $4,000 you quote is a ridiculous price for a bathtub.

      • Guest

        As I understand it this is not this man’s personal home for the rest of his life. This is about restoring a monument for others for years and years.

      • Marilyn Zeman

        If it is a renovation in an old building, $4K is NOT a ridiculous price to pay. Why don’t people get the facts before shooting their mouths off???

      • As you can see at , it’s actually a low-ball price for an installed bathtub.

        • Jean-Francois

          Excellent link. I was thinking of just such a bath.

          • Just think it though about getting one. Some think that doing so warrants excommunication. 🙂

    • me

      Can you please post the link to the website?

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  • Henry

    Is the author of this article really saying that not only was this bishop supervising he waste of an awful lot of money but he was also otherwise extremely unpopular? However you frame the argument, that is scarcely a good place for a bishop to be in!

    • DD

      Unpopular among those who reject Church teaching. Does that reveal anything to you?

  • Don Campbell

    I believe the major problem we have is that many (most?) Catholics affirmatively reject Church teaching on issues of sexual morality. They affirmatively reject Church teaching on homosexuality, marriage, divorce, re-marriage (adultery), abortion, contraception, fornication, etc. It’s not that they believe and assent to the Church’s teaching but fail to live up to it and are seeking forgiveness that the Church withholds as some kind of “judgment” or “punnishment” against them. It is a different problem entirely. They think the Church is wrong to have defined certain things as sinful to begin with, and they think the Church’s doctrine should be changed. They resent being “judged” not so much for their behavior as for their non-Catholic beliefs. They are effectively Protestants who still claim membership in the Church. They are causing grave harm to the Church. It is clear that they will not be satisfied until the Church’s teaching is changed, which can never happen because hanging unchangeable truths would demonstrate the Church to be a fraud. Pope Francis’ strategy seems to be to quit talking so much about these issues because it alienates, and instead to focus on proclaiming the kerygma of the Gospel, which he believes will bring them to a change of heart. We will see if that works. At this point, the reaction seems to be the opposite – i.e., people are sayng “See, Pope Francis thinks it is okay for me to believe in _______. Isn’t he wonderful?”

    • nannon31

      Yes, but the Church makes ignoring of scripture by liberals likely ( scripture clearly prophibits gay acts) when the Church evades or skirts scripture on the death penalty ( Gen.9:6/Rom.13:4). Rome stresses tradition until three Popes overturn it and then wonder why others do also. The new sales blip is that we always saw execution as a last resort which is false because five Popes executed 500 criminals from 1796 til 1850 and we could have found locked rooms for them instead; Pope Innocent IV in 1253 made burning heretics mandatory by princes or they themselves would be executed…reconfirmed by a series of Popes after him
      ( see “Inquisition” newadvent). I’m not for burning heretics but for executing murderers. The two worst murder rate countries on earth by far are heavily Catholic El Salvador and dp.
      So Rome circumvents Romans 13 on the death penalty and conservatives are surprised that others circumvent Romans 1 on gay acts. We are dysfunctional to a degree but 24/7 are praising ourselves.

  • ueberallzuhause

    As far as I know (as a Catholic from Germany), the project was decided when the seat was still vacant (which is not allowed, but seems to have happened anyway).

    Apart from that, the first estimates were ridiculously low for a project that deals with historical, protected buildings on difficult ground. But in the end, the cost is still lower than what other dioceses spent on renovation or new buidlings. Interestingly, some bishops from dioceses who spent more still critizised the bishop of Limburg. And millions of euros were and probably still are spent to save a publishing house and book retailer (Weltbild) that is supposed to be catholic, but sells basically cheap gifts and books. Among them esoterical books and porn. Yes, you read that right.

    The media is very aggressive, and it was so since the very beginning. Today there was a headline that suggested bishop Tebartz-Van Elst was eating caviar and was back in Limburg giving orders and have others cook for him. They still portray him as decadent, lavish hardliner. The only thing that is true is that he is conservative and pious (= “hardliner”). This is enough to be treated like this. Our press resembles more and more the newspapers of times I hoped would never return, and the mob in the comments is even worse.

    Please pray for the faithful in Germany. “Conservatives” are existant, but totally ignored in the press, and, sadly, by many bishops as well.

  • Valentin

    Most if not all of my family was baptized into the Church, my family is German with some French ancestry, and yet other than my brother, possibly my cousin, and myself actually live out the faith and know it, despite the fact that my own father lived with friars for about a year and translated French into German for two missionaries going to the Congo. There is a lot messed up among Catholics in Germany and it has a lot to do with people being secularized and not knowing the faith.

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  • larry taborek

    Terrific article by Mis Meaney.

    New leaders have to understand that a component of leadership is in establishing trust and respect with the troops (both clerical and lay leadership). Its a common enough problem in the military that commanders think that the privilidge of rank is enough to command troops. They need to be accepted and respected to be able to command.

    While the architects can defend their price, we should be skepticle as its THEIR price and work they are justifying.

    Reguardless of which pot of money the price came from, there needs to be adaquate oversight. Enormous cost overuns should never be permitted.