Leaders of the Catholic Church in Germany must be punished for breaking from the Vatican and approving blessings for same-sex marriages, two cardinals say.
Cardinal Raymond Burke of the United States and Cardinal Gerhard Müller of Germany spoke about the de facto schism underway in Germany during an interview with EWTN.
“Whether it’s a departure, heretical teaching and denial of one of the doctrines of the faith — or apostasy in the sense of simply walking away from Christ and from His teaching in the Church to embrace some other form of religion — these are crimes,” said Burke.
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He continued, “I mean, these are sins against Christ Himself and, obviously then, of the most serious nature. And the Code of Canon Law provides the appropriate sanctions.”
Burke accused “revolutionaries” within the church of ignoring the Vatican’s authority and turning a blind eye to Pope Francis’s opposition to their changes.
Last year, Pope Francis reminded the faithful in the country that the German bishops do not have the authority to propagate new theology or alter church governance.
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In the message, the pope expressed concern for the laity and clergy of Germany if their leaders break with established church teaching. The statement claimed that Catholics would be negatively affected by the many proposed changes to the church pushed by Cardinal Reinhard Marx and other liberal German leaders in their “Synodal Path.”
“In order to protect the freedom of the People of God and the exercise of the episcopal ministry, it would appear necessary to clarify that the ‘Synodal Way’ in Germany does not have the power to compel the bishops and the faithful to adopt new ways of governance and new approaches to doctrine and morals,” the statement from the Holy See said.
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It continued, “Prior to an agreed understanding at the level of the universal Church, it would not be permissible to initiate new official structures or doctrines in the dioceses, which would represent a wound to ecclesial communion and a threat to the unity of the Church.”
Müller took a similarly harsh tone, demanding that German bishops be put on trial within the church and removed from their office if they fail to normalize their teachings.
“There must be a trial, and they must be sentenced, and they must be removed from their office if they are not converting themselves, and they are not accepting the Catholic doctrine,” said Müller.
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“[It] is very sad that a majority of bishops voted explicitly against the revealed doctrine, and the revealed faith of the Catholic Church and of all our Christian thinking, against the Bible, the word of God in the Holy Scripture and in the apostolic tradition and in the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church,” the German cardinal said.
Last year, over 100 bishops from around the world issued an open letter to the German bishops urging that they cease the synod and refrain from making illicit alterations.