Rome (kath.net/KAP/red) From the point of view of Curia Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the abuse scandals shake up the Catholic Church to a similar extent as the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 in the USA. “Today, too, the Catholic Church is looking on with astonishment at its own September 11th, even though this catastrophe does not refer to a single date, but to many days and years and countless victims,” said Gänswein on Tuesday in Rome , At the same time, he made it clear that he did not want to compare the victims of 9/11 and their numbers with those of abuse in the church.
The US reports of abuse showed “how many souls were incurably and mortally wounded by priests of the Catholic Church.” The archbishop continued, “They bring us a message even worse than the sudden collapse of all the churches in Pennsylvania, and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.”
Gänswein is a private secretary for the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. (2005-2013) and Prefect of the Pontifical Household for Pope Francis. He spoke on Tuesday in Rome at the presentation of the book “The Benedict Option – A Strategy for Christians in a post-Christian society” by US author Rod Dreher. He joined Catholicism in 1993 but moved to the Orthodox Church in 2006 due to the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
Lecture “The” Nine-Eleven “of the Catholic Church”
Thank you for inviting me to this House, which I gladly accepted to present the book by Rod Dreher of America, of which I had heard a great deal. The monk father from Norcia, to whom the book owes his programmatic title, had very tempted me to come here. But the date has touched and moved me a lot, where we meet tonight with the daring author here in Rome.
Because it is the 11th of September, which is referred to in America since the fall of 2001 only as “Nine / Eleven” to remember that apocalyptic calamity in which at that time members of the terrorist organization Al Khaida in New York and Washington United States of America were attacked in front of the eyes of the world – using garrets of fully occupied passenger aircraft that they had captured in flight. The more I bowed to Rodney’s book in the hurricane of recent weeks’ news, after the publication of the report by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, I had to see our meeting tonight as an act of Divine providence, now full of the Catholic Church Horror must look at its own “Nine / Eleven”, even if this disaster unfortunately not only with a date,
Do not get it wrong. I do not want to compare the victims or the number of abuses in the Catholic Church area with the 2,996 innocent people who lost their lives on September 9, 2001 in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
No one has attacked the Church of Christ (so far) with fully occupied passenger aircraft. St. Peter’s Basilica still stands and all the cathedrals of France, Germany or Italy, which are still the landmarks of many cities in the western world from Florence via Chartres to Cologne and Munich.
And yet, the news that has recently come to us from America about how many souls have been terminally and mortally injured by priests in the Catholic Church, sends a worse message, as if all of Pennsylvania’s churches had suddenly collapsed – along with ” Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady “in Washington DC.
At the same time, I remember as if it had been yesterday, like Pope Benedict XVI. on April 16, 2008, in this National Shrine of the Catholic Church in the United States of America, where he heartily aroused the bishops of the country and bowed down by the “deep shame” about the “sexual abuse of minors by priests” and ” from the tremendous pain your churches have suffered when clerics have betrayed their priestly duties and duties by such grossly immoral behavior. ”
It was probably in vain, as we see today. The lawsuit of the Holy Father did not stop the evil and did not pay lip service to much of the Hierarchy.
And now Rod Dreher is among us, starting his book with the words, “No one had seen the great flood come.” In his thanksgiving he dedicated it in a special way to Pope Benedict XVI. And he seems to have written it, in what seems to me to be largely silent dialogue with the silent daddy emerito, citing his analytic-prophetic power, where he says: “In 2012, the then pontiff, the spiritual crisis, said seizing the West was the most serious since the fall of the Roman Empire towards the end of the fifth century BC The light of Christianity is dying all over the West. ”
In the following, therefore, please also allow me to accompany the presentation of the “Benedict Option” Rod Dreher’s with a few words from the mouth of Benedict XVI, which have become memorable for me in his service and have gone through my mind during the course of the reading, for example from that hour on May 11, 2010, when, on the flight to Fatima, he entrusted the following with flying journalists: The Lord has told us that the Church would always suffer in different ways until the end of the world … Under the new that we have today (in the third mystery of the Fatima message) is also the fact that the attacks against the Pope and the Church are not just from the outside. But the suffering of the church comes straight from the inside of the church. They come from the sin that exists in the church. That too was always known
He was Pope for five years. More than five years earlier – on 25 March 2005 – Cardinal Ratzinger had already found the following words on the Way of the Cross on Good Friday at the Coliseum in front of the dying John Paul II at the 9th station:
“In the third case of Jesus, under the cross, do we not have to think about how much Christ must suffer in his own Church? How often is the Holy Sacrament of His presence abused, in what void and malice of the heart does He often enter? How often How much is his word twisted and abused? How little faith is in so many theories, how much empty talk is there? How much dirt is there in the church and especially among those All that is present in his Passion: The betrayal of the disciples, the unworthy reception of his body and blood, must be the deepest sorrow of the Redeemer who puts him in the midst of the heart We can only call to him from the bottom of our hearts :Kyrie, eleison – Lord, save us! ”
From St. John Paul II we had learned before that in our historical hour, the true and perfect ecumenism is the ecumenism of the martyrs, where we may call Saint Edith Stein and Dietrich Bonhoeffer as advocates in heaven in our distress. But as we now know, there is also an ecumenism of need and secularization, and an ecumenism of unbelief and common flight before God and out of the church across all denominations.
And an ecumenism of the general God’s eclipse. Now we are only experiencing the watershed of an epochal change that Dreher prophetically introduced in America a year ago. He had seen the great flood come!
But he also states that the eclipse of God does not mean that God no longer exists, but that many do not recognize God because Shadows have moved before the Lord. Today it is the shadows of sins and crimes and crimes from the church that darken their luminous presence for many.
The People’s Church, into which we were born into, and never existed in America as in Europe, has long since died in the process of this eclipse. Does that sound too dramatic to you?
The exit numbers are dramatic. Even more dramatic, however, appears another. Of the Catholics who have not yet left the church in Germany, according to recent surveys, only 9.8 percent meet on Sunday in their churches for the common celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist.
It reminds me once again of Pope Benedict’s first voyage after his election, when he reminded the largely youthful listeners on the shores of the Adriatic on 29 May 2005 that Sunday was a “weekly Easter” expression of the identity of the Christian community and center of her life and mission. The theme of the Eucharistic Congress (“Without Sunday we can not live”) goes back to the year 304, when Emperor Diocletian forbade Christians under the penalty of death to possess Holy Scripture, to meet on Sunday for the celebration of the Eucharist and to create spaces for their own To build congregations.
“In Abitene, a small village in present-day Tunisia, one Sunday, 49 Christians who had gathered in the house of Octavius Felix were surprised when they celebrated the Eucharist and thus resisted the imperial prohibitions. They were arrested and taken to Carthage to be interrogated by the proconsul Anulinus. Significant among other things was the response of a certain emeritus to the proconsul, who asked him why they had acted contrary to the emperor’s strict orders. He answered, “Sine dominico non possumus.” This means that we can not live without gathering on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would lack the strength to face daily difficulties and not to succumb. After cruel torture, these 49 martyrs were killed by Abitene. So they testified their faith with the shedding of their blood. They died, but they triumphed: we remember them now in the glory of the risen Christ. ”
In other words, what we, as children in the so-called popular churches, have come to know as so-called “Sunday duty” is, in truth, the precious unique selling point of Christians. And it is much older than all popular churches. So it’s a truly eschatological crisis, in which the Catholic Church has long been in the midst of it, as my mother and father used to perceive in their day – with “atrocities of desolation in holy places” – and perhaps each one Generation of church history recognized on their horizon,
But at last, on some days, I felt transported to the days of my childhood-back to my father’s blacksmith’s forge in the Black Forest, where the hammer blows on the anvil never ceased, but without my father, whose secure hands I trusted as the hands of God.
I am obviously not alone. In May, the Archbishop of Utrecht in Holland, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, confessed that the current crisis reminds him of “the last test of the Church,” as the Catholic Church’s Catechism, paragraph 675, puts it Church must undergo it before the return of Christ, as a test “that will shake the faith of many”. And where the same catechism goes on to say, “The persecution that accompanies the church’s pilgrimage on earth will reveal the ‘Mystery of Malice.”
With this “mystery iniquitatis” Rod Dreher is familiar as an exorcist, as he has proven in his reports of recent months, where he has promoted the clarification of the scandal of the former archbishop of Newark and Washington like perhaps hardly any other journalist. Still, he is not a revelation reporter. He is not a phantast, but a sober analyst who has long and critically pursued the state of the Church and the world and yet has preserved an almost childlike-loving view of the world.
That is why Dreher does not present an apocalyptic novel like the famous “Lord of the World”, with which the British clergyman Robert Hugh Benson shook the Anglo-Saxon world in 1906. Rather, Dreher’s book resembles a practical guide to building an ark, because he knows that there is no dam to stop the great flood, which has been flooding the ancient Christian Occident since yesterday him of course also heard America
This also makes clear a threefold difference between Dreher and Benson: As a genuine American, Dreher is, firstly, more practical than the somewhat ridiculous Briton from Cambridge in the era before the First World War. Secondly, Turner is hurricane-tested as a citizen of Louisiana. And thirdly, he is not a clergyman at all, but a layman who does not advertise on behalf of others, but out of his own will and zeal for the kingdom of God, which Jesus Christ proclaimed for us. In that sense, he is a man entirely after the favor and taste of Pope Francis, who, like no other in Rome, knows that the crisis of the Church is at its core a crisis of the clergy. And that now the hour of the sovereign layman has struck, especially in the new and independent Catholic media, as embodied by Rod Dreher.
The ease of his portrayal has to do with the noble narrative traditions of the southern states of America, to which Mark Twain once gave global rank. And when I said earlier that I had repeatedly met the anvil as a child in the forge before my father’s hammer blows, then I have to admit that the uncomplicated reading of this weighty book has always taken me back to the adventure world of my childhood where I dreamed after Tom Sawyer and his friend Huck ‘Finn.
Rod Dreher, on the other hand, is not about dreams, but about facts and analyzes that he condenses into sentences like this: “The psychological man has conquered the whole line and now dominates our culture – including most churches – as surely as ever the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and other conquering peoples ruled the remnants of the Western Roman Empire. ”
Or,” Our scientists, our judges, our princes, our scholars and writers work to build faith, the family, the gender order, even the definition, What it means to be human, to tear down. The barbarians of our time have traded the animal skins and spears of the past for designer suits and smartphones. ”
He begins chapter 3 of his book with the words: “You can not go back in time, but you can travel to Norcia.” Shortly thereafter, prophetically up-to-date, but not at all malicious, he proceeds as follows: “Legend has it that in In a dispute with a cardinal, Napoleon had pointed out that it was in his power to destroy the Church. ”
” Your Majesty, “replied the Cardinal,” we – the clergy – have done our utmost to destroy the Church for 1800 years. We did not succeed. And you will not succeed either. ”
“Four years after the Benedictines were expelled from their monastery in Norcia, Napoleon’s empire was then in ruins, and the arrogant emperor himself was in exile. Today in the hometown of St. Benedict, however, again Gregorian chants to hear … “In the same Norcia but was last heard also the roar from the depths in that great earthquake that shook the city in August 2016 and the Basilica of St. Benedict in a few seconds down to the front facade in ruins. At about the same time cloudbursts but also the hometown of Rod Dreher on the upper reaches of the Mississippi flood.
These are two dramatic key scenes that are now at the beginning and end of his book, as if in a heavenly script – and as an illustration of a thesis that Dreher formulated in Chapter 1: “The reality of our situation is indeed alarming, but we can not afford to fall into a downfall hysteria. There is a hidden blessing in this crisis, if only we wanted to perceive it. … The coming storm could be the means by which God saves us. ”
The term earthquake has been heard within the church for the last few days for that breakdown of which I say that now also the Catholic Church is giving it “Nine / Eleven” has experienced.
Rod Dreher describes the response of the monks of Norcia to the catastrophe that has devastated their abbey at the birthplace of St. Benedict, in a few words that I must read to you because they are so speaking:
“The Benedictine monks of Norcia are up a way to become a sign of the world that I could not foresee when I started to write this book. The quake struck in the middle of the night, but the monks were awake to pray the matins. They left the monastery in a hurry and got to safety in the open piazza of the village.
In retrospect, Father Cassian noted that the earthquake could be seen as a symbol of the collapse of Christian culture in the West, but there had been a second, hopeful, symbol that night. This second symbol was the gathering of people around the statue of St. Benedict in the piazza and their joint prayer. That is the only way to rebuild. ”
After this testimony of Father Cassian I may tell you that also Benedict XVI. Since his resignation as an old monk understands, after 28 February 2013 above all the prayer for the Mother Church and his successor Pope Francis and committed by Christ himself Petrusamt committed.
From the Monastery MATER ECCLESIAE behind the Petersbasilika the old monk would therefore refer to the speech of Dreher therefore probably on an address, which he held as acting Pope on 12 September 2008 in the Collège des Bernardins in Paris before the intellectual elite of France. That was exactly ten years ago tomorrow, and I too want to briefly introduce this speech to you here in excerpts:
In the great cultural break of the migration of peoples and the forming of new state orders, the monastic monasteries were the place where the treasures of the ancient culture survived and at the same time a new culture was slowly formed from them, said Benedict XVI. at that time and asked: “But how was that? What moved the people who came together in these places? What did they want? How did you live? First and foremost, it is quite sober to say that it was not their intention to create culture or to preserve a past culture. Her drive was much more elementary. Their goal was: Quaerere Deum – seek God. In the confusion of the times in which nothing seemed to stand, they wanted to do the essentials – to strive to find what is always valid and lasting, life itself. They were in search of God. They wanted to come from the insignificant to the essential, to the truly important and reliable. They searched for the final behind the provisional …
Quaerere Deum – seeking God and being found by him is no less necessary today than in times past. A merely positivist culture that would push the question of God as unscientific into the subjective would be the surrender of reason, the renunciation of its highest potential, and thus a collapse of humanity whose consequences could only be grave. That which has founded the culture of Europe, the search for God and the willingness to listen to it, remains today the foundation of true culture. ”
As far as Pope Benedict XVI. on September 12, 2008, about the true “Option” of St. Benedict of Nursia. – After that, all that remains for me to say about Dreher’s book is that it does not contain a ready-made answer. There is no patent remedy or a master key for all the gates that have been open for us so long and have crashed into the castle again. But between these two book covers is an authentic example of what Pope Benedict said ten years ago about the Benedictine spirit of the beginning. It is a true “Quaerere Deum”. It is that quest for the true God of Isaac and Jacob, who showed his human face in Jesus of Nazareth.
That is why another sentence from chapter 4:21 of the Rule of St. Benedict comes to my mind, which likewise and unspoken pervades and animates the entire book of Dreher as Cantus Firmus. This is the legendary “Nihil amori Christi praeponere”. That means translated: nothing to love the love of Christ. It is the key to which the whole miracle of Western monasticism owes its fame.
Benedict of Nursia was a lighthouse in the migration of peoples when he saved the church through the turmoil of the time and in a certain sense re-established European civilization.
But now, not only in Europe but all over the world, we have been experiencing a migration of peoples for decades, which will never come to an end, as Pope Francis has clearly recognized and speaks urgently to our conscience. Therefore, not everything is different this time.
Therefore, if the church can not renew itself with God’s help this time, the entire project of our civilization is at stake again. For many, it looks as if the Church of Jesus Christ will never be able to recover from the catastrophe of its sin which it is almost threatening to devour.
And this is exactly the hour when Rod Turner from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, introduces his book near the apostles’ tombs today, and in the midst of the eclipse of the world we are frightening around the world, steps forward and says, “The church is not dead, she is sleeping and just resting “.
And not only this. The church “is young”, he also seems to say, and he says it as happy and free as Benedict XVI. It said at the takeover of the Petrine Office on April 24, 2005, when he once again reminded of the suffering and death of St. John Paul Paul, whose collaborator he was so many years. He called us all in St. Peter’s Square:
“Through all the sadness of the Pope’s illness and death, this has become miraculously visible to us: the Church lives. And the church is young. It carries the future of the world in itself and therefore shows each individual the way into the future. The church lives. We see it, and we feel the joy that the Risen One promised to His own. The church lives – it lives because Christ lives because he is truly risen. We have looked at the pain of the Holy Father’s face in the Easter days, the mystery of Christ’s suffering and, as it were, touched his wounds. But in all these days we have been allowed to touch the Risen One in a deep sense. We may feel the joy that he has promised after the short while of darkness as the fruit of his resurrection. ”
This truth about the origin of its founding by the Risen Lord and Victor can neither weaken nor destroy the satanic “Nine / Eleven” of the Catholic World Church.
Therefore, I must honestly confess that I perceive this time of great crisis, which is no longer hidden to anybody today, above all as a time of grace, because in the end not some special effort, but only “will set the truth free” as the Lord has assured us.
In this hope, I look at the latest reports by Rod Dreher on the “purification of memory” that John Paul II has given us, and so I gratefully read his “Benedict Option” as a wonderful inspiration in many ways. In the last weeks hardly anything has given me so much comfort. Thank you for your attention.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein