The German Church and the dissolution of the one-flesh unity

What Cardinal Hollerich and the German bishops propose in their excusal and approval of the homosexual life-style is actually the dissolution of the marital order of redemption emptying the human body of any objective meaning in relation to the human person.

Bishop Georg B‰tzing, president of the German bishops' conference, is projected on a screen as participants attend the third Synodal Assembly in Frankfurt Feb. 3, 2021. (CNS photo/Julia Steinbrecht, KNA)

“The whole world woke up astonished to find itself Arian.” So lamented the fourth-century Church Father St. Jerome on just how fast a Christological heresy originating in Alexandra, Egypt spread within the Church with the aid of many bishops. Today we may apply Jerome’s comment to a current crisis: “The whole world woke up, astonished to find itself gay.” It is indeed astonishing to consider that the societal acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle and same sex “marriage,” certainly in Europe and the United States, took place in less than sixty years, counting from the start of the so-called “Sexual Revolution”.

As to the Church herself, we must look to Germany to see just how successful the “gay rights” movement has become—and we need to appreciate just what this means for the understanding of and the very practice of the Christian religion. Every bishop in Germany is participating in what is called the “Synodal Way”—a process of dialogue, organized by the German bishops in collaboration with the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the largest of several groups in Germany that represent lay Catholics. Participants have urged several changes in Church doctrine and practice such as relaxing the requirement of priestly celibacy, Church blessing of homosexual unions and inter-Communion between Catholics and Protestants.

On February 4th, by a vote of 174 to 30, with 6 abstentions, Synodal Way participants adopted a proposal calling for women’s ordination in contradiction to infallible teaching pronounced by Pope John Paul II in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis—that the Church has no authority to ordain women to the priesthood and the issue is not open for debate. Further, the “plenary meeting of the German Catholic Church’s ‘Synodal Way’ ended on Saturday with votes in favor of draft texts calling for same-sex blessings and changes to the Catechism on homosexuality.” And those votes passed with large majorities: 161 votes to 34, with 11 abstentions for “same-sex blessing”, and 174 votes in favor, 22 against, and 7 abstentions for changing the Catechism’s section on homosexuality.

In May 2021 the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller gave an interview to When asked if the German Church was headed toward schism the cardinal stated: “I fear yes, but I hope not.” But in recent years a number of German bishops have defended the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex “marriage” and called for the Church to alter her moral teaching on these issues. In February 2021, for example, Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz stated that Catholics with homosexual inclinations cannot be expected to live chastely as “the inclination is not self-inflicted.”

Other German bishops who have publicly voiced support for blessing same-sex unions include Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, and Bishop Heinrich Timmerervers of Dresden-Meißen. And in December 2020 Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, called for changes in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the immorality of homosexual acts.

This call for change has now intensified. 125 employees of the German church including priests, religion teachers and administrative employees on January 24th “outed” themselves and launched their #OutinChurch campaign of seven specific demands. They are:

  1. We want to be able to live and work openly as LGBTIQ+ persons in the church without fear.
  2. LGBTIQ+ persons must have access to all fields of activity and occupation in the Church without discrimination.
  3. The church employment rules needs to be changed. An open life according to one’s sexual orientation and gender identity, even in a partnership or civil marriage, must never be considered a breach of loyalty or a reason for dismissal.
  4. Defamatory and outdated statements of church doctrine on sexuality and gender needs to be revised on the basis of theological and human-scientific findings. This is of utmost relevance especially in view of worldwide church responsibility for the human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons.
  5. The Church must not withhold the blessing of God and access to the sacraments from LGBTIQ+ persons and couples.
  6. A church that invokes Jesus and his message must firmly oppose all forms of discrimination and promote a culture of diversity.
  7. In dealing with LGBTIQ+ persons, the Church has caused much suffering throughout its history. We expect the bishops to take responsibility for this on behalf of the Church, to address the institutional history of guilt, and to advocate for the changes we call for.

It is one thing for such a group to make these audacious demands and quite another for bishops to accept the initiative. But this is exactly what the German Bishops’ Conference did as part of the dialogue of the Synodal Way. #OutinChurch is not simply demanding that those with same-sex attraction be accepted and respected as persons. They demand that those living a homosexual lifestyle “even in a partnership or civil marriage” have a right to work for the German church, that Catholic doctrine be changed on the immorality of homosexual activity, and that those active in the homosexual lifestyle be blessed and have “access to the sacraments”—meaning of course, reception of Holy Communion.

On February 3rd Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, a Jesuit and president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, called for the Church to “update” her teaching on homosexuality. He stated in an interview:

I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct. What was condemned in the past was sodomy. At that time, it was thought that the whole child was contained in the sperm of the man, and that was simply transferred to homosexual men. But there is no homosexuality in the New Testament. There is only the mention of homosexual acts, which were partly pagan ritual acts. That was, of course, forbidden. I think it is time for a fundamental revision of the doctrine.

Hollerich also justified himself by pointing to the manner in which Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past, which he claimed could lead to a change in doctrine.

What Hollerich might mean by “the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching” as “no longer correct” is certainly unclear. However, a statement made by Bishop Helmut Dieser of Aachen may provide illumination. Upon accepting the #OutinChurch” initiative on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, Dieser explained:

Because with the Synodal Way, we learn to understand more deeply that sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the person and we have an image of the human being that tells us that the person is absolutely loved by God, and from this, we approach the topics of sexual orientation, identity, but also sexual fulfillment in a new way with the Synodal Way.

“That sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the person” means those with same-sex attraction are in a sense “born-that-way.” Such attraction is given in nature. With science supposedly on their side, the bishops urge that the Church catch up with the data and no longer impose an antiquated morality on homosexuals who by nature have a right to sexually express who they are as persons.

Hollerich then argues that the biblical condemnation of homosexual acts is rooted in mistaken, primitive anthropology: “that the whole child was contained in the sperm of the man.” Again, it is not quite clear to what he is referring but perhaps he is providing a clumsy description of haematogenous reproduction, a theory taught by Aristotle. But what is exactly transferred to “homosexual men” is also unclear. If homosexuality (contained in the sperm) is transferred, this actually supports his argument that, well—homosexuals are born that way. More likely, Hollerich is simply attempting to discredit the biblical condemnation of homosexual acts with an argument that such doctrine is based on faulty theories of procreation.

His statement that “there is no homosexuality in the New Testament. There is only the mention of homosexual acts” is correct. But this is precisely the point as Church doctrine is concerned about the morality of human acts. Hollerich undoubtedly has in mind St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Paul drew a connection between the false worship of the pagans and perverse sexual practices as “these men who exchanged the truth of God for a lie” were delivered “to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and the men gave up natural intercourse with women and burned with lust for one another … They did not see fit to acknowledge God, so God delivered them up to their own depraved sense to do what is unseemly” (Rom 1:25-27).

Hollerich attempts to mitigate biblical condemnation of homosexual acts by placing the Pauline teaching within the context of acts merely connected to false worship—“pagan ritual acts.” The immorality of homosexual acts derives only from their connection to false idolatrous worship. As if to say, if one does “see fit to acknowledge God” and avoids pagan rituals such acts are no longer perverse. However, Paul’s teaching here is within a wider affirmation of natural law—namely, that even the Gentiles without the Mosaic Law could still know the moral law of God: “Since the creation of the world, invisible realities, God’s eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized through the things he has made. Therefore, these men are inexcusable” (Rom 1: 20).

And it is very important to note that Paul’s teaching on sexual morality contrasts what is “natural” with what is “unnatural.” His condemnation of homosexual acts, and frankly any perverse sexual action, is based on the God-given nature—the God-given meaning of sexual acts themselves according to the nature of the human person as males and females. This meaning is not something the Church has any authority to alter, no more than she can alter the meaning of the visible world that discloses the invisible realities of God.

The call for a “fundamental revision” of Church doctrine on the morality of homosexual acts is a “revision” that constitutes a direct attack on the sacramental significance of the created order, most especially a rejection of the sacramental meaning of male and female. The highest articulation of this sacramental meaning of the body is also found in the teachings of Paul:

Husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies…Observe that no one ever hates his own flesh; no he nourishes it and cares for it as Christ cares for the Church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ This is a great mystery; I mean that it refers to Christ and the church. (Eph 5: 28-32)

What is the “this” of the “great mystery”? It is none other than the original marital one-flesh unity between the first man and the first woman. The Pauline teaching here is remarkable. Human sexuality is designed by God, not as mere biological-physical functionality but as the original sign that communicates the martial covenant of God fulfilled in the unity between Christ the Bridegroom and His Bride the Church. All sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, desecrates this language of the body.

What Hollerich and the German bishops propose in their excusal and approval of the homosexual lifestyle is actually the dissolution of the marital order of redemption emptying the human body of any objective meaning in relation to the human person. Nothing could be more contrary to Catholicism—a religion whose very worship relies on the ontological significance of the material world.

The #OutinChurch campaign believes those active in a homosexual lifestyle have a right to ecclesial employment despite their public opposition to the very moral teachings of the institution for which they work. No other organization would be expected to employ workers who did not agree with, and indeed were actively working against the principles of the group, business, or institution providing them with a paycheck. Can you imagine Planned Parenthood being forced to keep on an employee who openly promoted the right-to-life of the unborn and talked women out of abortions scheduled for the procedure? Hardly! But of course, when the employers themselves—the German bishops—also disagree with the teachings and policies of their own institution, then those in agreement with them will be given a haven.

Faithful Catholics trod a difficult path in this matter. The Catechism teaches that those with a homosexual orientation “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (par 2352)—but at the same time we cannot affirm or condone acting on the orientation. I know very well this difficulty. My brother Paul, with whom I was very close, “came out” to our family many years ago—and eventually died of AIDS. I loved him, he knew that I loved him, and he also knew I could not support his “gay” lifestyle. On his death bed, he recited with me his final Act of Contrition.

Regarding the Arian heresy, St. Jerome wrote: “The ship of the Apostles was in peril, she was driven by the wind, her sides beaten with the waves: no hope was now left. But the Lord awoke and bade the tempest cease; the beast died, and there was a calm once again.” We may dare hope the current crisis of the German church will find such a resolution.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Monica Migliorino Miller 9 Articles
Monica Migliorino Miller is Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, teacher of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and the author of several books, including The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church (Emmaus Road) and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars (St. Benedict Press).


  1. Why the fuss; it’s all about the “new math”…125 is greater than 1,250,000,000 Catholics worldwide.

    Or maybe it’s the “new paradigm,” or the theology of “anthropological-cultural change”, the simply the humiliation of the “rigid, the bigoted and the traditional.”

  2. We already know that many Bishops and Cardinals are homosexual. In the USZ between 40-70 percentare homosexual ( in some dioceses)
    Any Bishop who speaks with such burning delight about homosexuality will have to accept that he will be considered a homosexual himself.

    • When asked if the German Church was headed toward schism the cardinal stated: “I fear yes, but I hope not.” Excuse me, but the Church in Germany is already in schism, and Bergolio will do nothing about it.

      • krc says: “Excuse me, but the Church in Germany is already in schism, and Bergolio will do nothing about it.”

        Yeah, the pope seems pretty rigid in that regard. Yet those who want the TLM seem to be the problem in today’s Catholic Church.

      • We should not tar all the Catholics in Germany with the same brush. A section, which has stacked the council meetings, seem to be heading towards schism but another group does not go along with them. They have the same Catholic views of Pope Francis. The Pope publicly welcomed this group at the Vatican and accepted a manifesto from them.
        Unfortunately, there are many people heading towards schism as they ignore or reject the Pope’s authority.

  3. The bishops appeal loftily to “science,” again without citing any authority other than themselves. Peer reviewed, so to speak! After they shed their fascination with red hats, and their red faces and whatever else is red after this syn-nod session, they might consider at least the following:

    FIRST, “non-genetic [!] factors – such as environment, upbringing, personality, nurture—are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice of sexual partner…” Peer groups, societal moral neutrality, non-deterministic predispositions, absentee fathers, experimental sex, and of course intergenerational sexual abuse even (some say especially) within families—this sort of thing. No gay gene; only a few weak markers. Here’s the link:

    SECOND, perhaps in some cases, the new scientific question is whether fetal absorption of endocrine disruptive chemicals (EDCs) can block normal hormonal development toward physically/emotionally integrated male and female children at birth. (Chemicals associated with endocrine-disrupting ability in humans include organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, bisphenol A, phthalates, dioxins, and furans.) Fetal victimhood to environmental chemicals? Even in these possible cases, it would be false for even a pope to say “God made you that way.” The scientific (!) thrust should be protection from these chemicals, and possibly early intervention to correct such birth defects.

    THIRD, from within the homosexual aggregate, the novelist Andre Gide wrote vicariously about his struggles in a bisexual double life. He actually opposed sexual license and favored self-control and “sublimating sexual energy into desirable moral and artistic qualities.” His biographer says this:

    “[Gide]emphatically protests that he has not a word to say against marriage and reproduction [but then] suggests that it would be of benefit to an adolescent, before his desires are fixed, to have a love affair with an older man, instead of with a woman. . . the general principle admitted by Gide, elsewhere in his treatise, that sexual practice tends to stabilize in the direction where it has first found satisfaction [!]; to inoculate a youth with homosexual tastes seems an odd way to prepare him for matrimony” (Harold March, “Gide and the Hound of Heaven,” 1952).

    But why not simply dismiss the causative factors and redefine marriage? Why not upend Natural Law and the Church’s teaching on sexual morality? The German sin-nod would have the Church simply wink compassionately and then bless the delayed wreckage of oxymoronic gay “marriage.”

    IN SHORT, two points. The Church’s teaching on sexual activity only within real marriage applies to all. And second, the German sin-nod way is the tail wagging the dog, meaning the barque (bark!) of Peter.

      • Another informative (and therefore ignored) finding is this:

        The authors of a 2019 study which claimed so-called gender-transition surgery may improve the long-term mental health of recipients issued a RETRACTION, nearly a year after publication. The authors of the study—Richard Bränström, Ph.D., and John E. Pachankis, Ph.D.—now report that: “the results demonstrated no advantage of surgery in relation to subsequent mood or anxiety disorder-related health care.”

      • Been thinkin’ more about Hollerich’s cited so-called “sociological-scientific” explanation on the pagan meaning of homosexuality (repeated below), and that there’s no longer any mention of homosexuality–only homosexual acts–in the New Testament (1 Cor 6:9 and Tim 1:10).

        How does his position, so to speak, differ from the in-place Church teaching on these matters (CCC 2357-8)? The employment issue is exactly this–the publicly known acts and now the pretense of oxymoronic gay “marriage” by those employed by the Church. So then, why the incoherent knee-jerk into a “fundamental revision of the doctrine”?

        The man did not concoct this graffiti by himself, but is easily led by the nose. We might see that it is not judgmental but simply an observation to notice that he mouths these ideas like an marinette. (Indeed, who are we to judge?) Butt as for the “sociological-scientific” stuff (both pre-Christian and New Testament!) and the judgment of history itself, this:

        “Late marriages and small families became the rule, and men satisfied their sexual instincts by homosexuality [!] or by relations with slaves and prostitutes. This aversion to marriage and the deliberate restriction of the family by the practice of infanticide and abortion was undoubtedly the main cause of the decline of ancient Greece, as Polybius pointed out in the second century B.C. And the same factors were equally powerful in the society of the Empire. . . .” (Christopher Dawson, “The Patriarchal Family in History,” The Dynamics of World History, 1962; 163).

        (Hollerich: “I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this [Catholic] teaching is no longer correct. What was condemned in the past was sodomy. At that time, it was thought that the whole child was contained in the sperm of the man, and that was simply transferred to homosexual men. But there is no homosexuality in the New Testament. There is only the mention of homosexual acts, which were partly pagan ritual acts. That was, of course, forbidden. I think [?] it is time for a fundamental revision of the doctrine.”)

  4. Just disgusting, and a betrayal of church teachings. That the teachings are difficult and demanding of a believer does not make them wrong. “Love” does not excuse sinful actions. Many an adulterer would plead that they were “in love”. It does not make their actions right. If the Pope refuses to act to stop this movement now, and repudiate their direction, he will be presiding over the first major destructive attack against the church since Henry the 8th, having done NOTHING to attempt to correct course.. If the Bishops continue to go down this road they must do so with full knowledge that what they are doing has been declared forbidden and theologically incorrect. Failure to make that clear would make the Pope complicit in their actions. Unfortunately, silence can be interpreted as approval.

  5. I guess that according to the Germans the publican should have started a publican pride movement complete with felt banners, flags, and publican pride marches. The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Germans act like they have a bad case of the seven year itch.

  6. 2. LGBTIQ+ persons must have access to all fields of activity and occupation in the Church without discrimination.

    So s/he/it would like to be pope? Or take on the role of intercession as the BVM has historically done?

    Seriously, this group and its demands cannot be taken seriously. We have been entertained in a theatre of the absurd. As such, nothing remains to be said. Silence becomes itself.

  7. This is the way the activists work. They creep in, taking one section and then the next and so on. Here we see this meeting being controlled by a faction that has this agenda. They are no different from the ones who manipulated public opinion in favor of same-sex marriage in the political arena.
    They will not succeed because Pope Francis is against Same-sex marriage and said that the Church is not a democracy. More importantly, the gates of hell will never prevail. This is why I feel so sure that these efforts will fail.

    • Actually it is your willfully misinformed opinion that is of great concern. You do not even know or, perhaps you do not want to know, that Pope Francis has ALWAYS considered marriage to be a man and woman relationship. Never once did he present a different view of marriage. In fact, he questions the idea of same-sex marriage. It does not exist. “Marriage between people of the same sex? ‘Marriage’ is a historical word. Always in humanity, and not only within the Church, it’s between a man and a woman… we cannot change that. This is the nature of things. This is how they are. Let’s call them ‘civil unions.’ Lets not play with the truth. It’s true that behind it there is a gender ideology. In books also, children are learning that they can choose their own sex. Why is sex, being a woman or a man, a choice and not a fact of nature? This favors this mistake. But let’s say things as they are: Marriage is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Lets call unions between the same sex ‘civil unions’. We do not joke around with truth.”

    • When I relied on certain Trad sites for their interpretations of what the Pope said or did, my views were similar to the erroneous ones you present. It was only when I began reading his statements made available by faithful Catholic websites that I began to realize that Pope Francis has a profound understanding of Catholic beliefs/teachings by which he faithfully abides that made me change my views. If you were to remove your blinkers you too would see him in better light.

    • Pope Francis is an empathic and prayerful listener. He knows that he would be criticized and maligned by both sides, Jesus was not any different. Notice that he sided with no party. He remains faithful to the Scripture and Tradition. Our scientific understanding of homosexuality has come a long way. However, our moral assessment in this regard is far from consistent with the science, Scientific psychology holds the clear position that homosexual orientation is not pathological as was believed in the past. If it is “normal” and “does no harm” can it be immoral? This is not clear.

  8. This doesn’t end well for the Church universal or for the Catholic church in Germany. Whatever der Synodal Weg proposes will be rejected by the Vatican and whatever is rejected by the Vatican, will be accepted by the Germans.

    Better to have a schism and cut der Synodal Weg loose.

    Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland!

  9. “Defamatory and outdated statements of church doctrine” Play around with epistemological time stamping long enough and you get statements so stupid, only intellectuals can believe them. With a Pope who has openly dismissed immutable truth, who has insisted that moral truth can change over time, who has embraced a process theology that insists a confused God is still trying to figure things out, how can Catholics not wake up and find the entire edifice of moral theology swallowed up in the time machine of what used to be true is now false? Move over God. Truth is no longer a reflection of Your perfect mind. Fungibility is the thing, like Francis’ glee at meeting a transexual couple at a gay coupling that he once blessed. “He that was a she is now a he,” Francis giggled approvingly.

  10. It appears Luther was a “Piker” when he pounded his 95 Theses on that door on October 31st, 1517.This gaggle of 125 disturbed Germans.Is using a battering-ram on the Churches
    front door.Who will STOP this heresy? Or will we have to Hope & Pray for a Convoy on the Autobahn?

    • Compared with the Synodal Way, Luther should be canonized, since his complaints did not have anything to do with destroying the whole biblical, moral foundations of the Church. He looks innocent beside these Fathers of Aberration and Perversion.

  11. Lord Jesus Christ wake up and save your beloved Church. The sins of the German church are a stench that rise up to Heaven like a demonic incense.

  12. As to the Church herself, we must look to Germany to see just how successful the gay rights movement has become (Monica Migliorino Miller). Monica insightfully alludes to Germany’s Synodal Way [wardness] as the bellwether for the entire Church.
    If we were to identify a catalyst for an Arian moment it must lean toward Vatican leadership. Now I would suggest to Monica, this moment in Church history exceeds the Arian heresy exponentially. The reason is that it doesn’t simply affect human sexuality as ordained by God, rather this new wave anthropocentric ideology [no longer a true theology] affects the totality of moral as well as theological doctrine. The positioning of such an advocate of this anthropocentrism is the work of the Roman Pontiff.
    Jean-Claude Hollerich S.J. is a Luxembourg prelate of the Catholic Church, who has served as the Archbishop since 2011. He has been the president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union since March 2018. On 8 July 2021, Pope Francis appointed him relator general of the next synod of bishops. In 2022, Hollerich said he considered the church’s assessment of gay relationships as sinful to be wrong: I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.
    Our unfortunate option in order to remain true to Christ and the Gospels is resistance.

  13. The author seems to have a misunderstanding of early church history. Arianism was a legitimate Christian view prior to the council of Nicea. Christians accepted and respected different views among different Christian populations. The idea of Arianism being a heresy didn’t arise until Constantine converted and wanted his kingdom to be united in belief. He didn’t really care which viewpoint won, but he needed a winner. And even though there were more Arians, the leaders that ended up making it to the council of Nicea decided against it. Had different bishops made it to Nicea, the result may have been different.

    My point is that the church has always had different viewpoints among its members. Now is no different. JPII was not speaking infallibly when he said women’s ordination is not up for debate either. If he was, that would make Pope Francis’s commission women’s ordination heretical. And if we believe popes are infallible, he can’t be heretical.

    • Ah, the old “Constantine wrote the dogma” falsehood, which is very popular among the pro-gnostic crowd, ranging from Elaine Pagels to Dan Brown. Even granting the complexities of ancient history, your depiction of “legitimate Christians views” is simply incorrect. Here is a section from The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius Press, 2004), which presents some of the pertinent facts:

      The Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical of the Church, made possible by the patronage of Constantine and his desire to end the disunity and controversy being caused by the Arian heresy. Arius (b. c. 260-80; d. 336) was a priest from Alexandria who was noted for his preaching and ascetic lifestyle. Around 319 or so he began to gain attention for his teaching that Jesus was not fully divine, but was lesser than the Father. Arius held that the Son had not existed for all of eternity past, but was a created being who was begotten by the Father as an instrument of, first, creation and the, later, salvation. Put another way, Arius believed that Jesus, the Son of God, was not God by nature, but was a lesser god.

      This belief was condemned by the bishop Alexander at a local synod held in Alexandria around 320, with ninety-eight of a hundred bishops voting against Arius’s views. But the priest’s teachings attracted interest and were spreading quickly, partially due to the priest’s clever use of catchy songs proclaiming his doctrinal beliefs and also due to the patronage of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea and one of the greatest scholars of his time. Arius’s beliefs were proving so popular and disruptive that Constantine decided to bring together the bishops and put an end to the controversy; his interest was most likely in unity over theological clarity, but he realized the former would defend in large part upon the latter.

      On May 20, 325, a number of bishops, the vast majority of them from the East, convened at Nicaea (modern day Iznik, north of Constantinople); the council lasted until July 25 of the same year. The number of bishops in attendance has traditionally been listed as 318, likely a symbolic number (cf., Gen. 14:14); the actual number was probably around 220 to 250.78 Due to poor health, the Pope did not attend, but sent two deacons to represent him. “The great bulk of the Council came from the Greek-speaking provinces of the Empire”, writes A.H.M. Jones, “The bulk of the gathering were simple pastors, who would naturally resent any innovation on the faith which they had learned and would have little sympathy with the intellectual paradoxes of Arius. Many could boast of the proud title of confessor, having endured imprisonment, torture, and penal servitude for the sake of their faith.”79 This rugged and tried character of most of the bishops is completely contrary to The Da Vinci Code’s implication that the bishops meekly accepted whatever the Emperor told them (233). Many of the bishops at Nicaea were veterans of the persecution of Diocletian. Is it reasonable to think that they would quietly allow Constantine to change the faith for which they had already suffered and were willing to die? Constantine, while actively involved in the Council, knew that his place was not to be a theologian or scholar, but to help facilitate as structured and productive gathering as possible. After all, one of the strengths of Roman culture was organization; the Greeks, on the other hand, were more attuned to theological nuance and detail.

      In The Da Vinci Code, Teabing states that at the Council of Nicaea Jesus was established as “the Son of God” (233). This false statement is taken from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which states, “Most important of all, the Council of Nicaea decided, by vote, that Jesus was a god, not a mortal prophet.”80 As already noted, the Gospels alone refer to Jesus as the “Son of God” over forty times and this description is used often by the early Church Fathers. However, in Jesus’ time the term “Son of God” did not refer to a divine person; it was a messianic title that “referred to the king as Israel’s representative”.81 As time went on and the early Christians recognized the divinity of Jesus, the title naturally took a deeper meaning—a meaning that the Council of Nicaea would ratify, clearly and definitively, as the consistent belief of the Church. As we have already seen, the belief in Jesus’ divinity and Godhead goes back to the earliest days of Christianity. The Council of Nicaea focused on clarifying the unique relationship between the Father and the Son and condemning those ideas of Arius that would imply, or assert outrightly, that the Son was lesser than the Father, was a created being, and was a lesser god. The Catechism of the Catholic Church ably summarizes the basic issue: “The first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the Son of God is ‘begotten, not made, of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father’, and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son of God ‘came to be from things that were not’ and that he was ‘from another substance’ than that of the Father.”82

      As for the “relatively close vote”, it is a figment of Teabing’s and Brown’s imagination. Only two bishops out of some 250 voted in favor of Arius’s position—over 99% of the bishops upheld the belief that the Son was equal with the Father and of the same substance. Even Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which apparently provided much of Brown’s material for his comments on this topic, gets it right, acknowledging in a terse footnote: “218 for, 2 against.”83 Once again, Brown’s embellished version of the facts is not only incorrect, it is completely contrary to the truth.

      You write: “JPII was not speaking infallibly when he said women’s ordination is not up for debate either. If he was, that would make Pope Francis’s commission women’s ordination heretical.”

      Except that Pope Francis has never set up a commission re: ordination to the priesthood. And he himself clearly pointed to John Paul II’s infallible declaration on the matter, back in November 2016:

      Pope Francis has said he thinks the Roman Catholic church’s ban on priestly ordination for women will continue forever, saying his predecessor Pope John Paul II’s declaration on the matter “goes in that direction.”

      Francis expressed his thoughts on the subject in response to a question Tuesday from a journalist aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Sweden.

      The journalist, a Swede, mentioned that among those who welcomed Francis during his visit was Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala. Jackelen is the primate of the Church of Sweden and a woman.

      “Is it realistic to think that there might be women priests also in the Catholic church in the next few decades?” the journalist asked the pope.

      “On the ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear,” Francis responded, before mentioning John Paul’s 1994 apostolic letter banning the practice, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. “It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains.”

      “But really forever?” the journalist asked. “Never?”

      “If we read carefully the declaration made by St. John Paul II, it goes in that direction,” Francis replied.

      • The following quoted remark raises a troubling issue: “Constantine, while actively involved in the Council, knew that his place was not to be a theologian or scholar, but to help facilitate as structured and productive gathering as possible.”

        The issue, why now are the bishops–the successors of the apostles–placed in a role similar to that of Constantine, that is, “primarily as facilitators” [!] for the synod on synodality (as specified in the Vademecum)?

        On a second point, an error in the quoted material, Pope Francis did in fact convene a commission of female deaconesses, but the resulting split vote seemingly eliminated this ploy. I say, seemingly…
        The gambit is clearly a transitional step, since the diaconate is part of the three-fold ordination of bishops, priests and deacons. If history can be either falsified are rendered dominant over Tradition–a Hegelian thingy–then the ordination of female priests and bishops has an opening wedge. The pope, again, says one thing while signaling another.

        Synodality, which could be legitimate, is used as the lubricant for secular penetration of the Church.

        • You are absolutely correct about deacon being an ordained role. And I hope you are also correct about it being a lubricant to the priestly ordination of females.

      • I read all of what you posted, and I don’t see how it contradicts anything I said.

        1. Constantine brought together the council to promote unity – not the bishops.
        2. It was made up almost exclusively of bishops from one area of the world (the East).
        3. If it included bishops from another area of the world instead (i.e. not the East), the result likely would’ve been different.

        Your post pretty much confirmed all of these.

        And on female ordination, like Peter says below, deacons are ordained. The original group looking at female ordination (to the deaconate) did end in a stalemate, but that group is at least technically still active.

        • Kyle, with all due respect on an overworked topic and an intricate point of history, you have misrepresented my comment and history…

          Rist, simply consider my meaning, that yes there has been a commission on deaconesses, and that yes the diaconate is an ordained role. But, the distinction with a difference is whether or not the historical “deaconesses” were in fact ordained for their limited role which, as it is now understood (Cardinal Muller’s book; and the commission itself), they were not. (Their limited role, historically and for example, apparently included assistance at immersion baptisms such that male priest were screened from viewing thinly veiled and drenched females rising from the baptismal font.) Even today, in needy cases for baptism one need not be ordained in order to perform the sacrament. A reasonable reading of my wording accommodates ordained male deacons and non-ordained female “deaconesses” with limited roles.

          On your item #3, the Council of Nicaea is the first Ecumenical Council with its historic outcome, not because of the skewed participation, but because the pope was represented (rather than not), and because of his later acceptance as pope of the Council’s conclusions. Your assertion that the “result likely would’ve been different” carries no weight.

      • I want to thank you for making this reply of truth to misinformation & lies for the good of me and many who read it. God Bless you and Keep you always.

    • Mr. Olson’s rejoinder is effective, but I believe he overlooked one point of your several misinformed opinions. The Church does not believe popes are infallible and never did. Such is a popular myth largely sustained by popular anti-Catholic bigotry to discredit the Church. Only ex cathedra documents are infallible.

      • To nitpick two imprecisions in your correct response: First, the Church does not believe that popes are, the word is, indefectible. Second, the Church does hold that the pope share in the Church’s infallibility when he “SPEAKS ex cathedra” in dogmatic pronouncements, and as you imply in a very defined and delimited manner, whether or not imprinted in a written “document.”

        But, then, in support of your overall point, St. John Henry Cardinal Newman provides an illustrative list of historic papal decisions or actions which are not covered by ex cathedra papal infallibility:

        “Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him? Was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic Churches? Or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius? And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII, when he had a medal struck in honour of the Bartholomew massacre? Or Paul IV in his conduct towards Elizabeth? Or Sixtus V when he blessed the Armada? Or Urban VIII when he persecuted Galileo? No Catholic ever pretends that these Popes were infallible in these acts” (from a Letter to the Duke of Norfolk [1876], in Vincent Blehl, The Essential Newman, 1963; 269).

    • Arius was corrected by his own Bishop– Bishop Alexander of Alexandra, Egypt in 320AD– 5 years before Constantine supported the Council of Nicea. My point here, is that you are mistaken on the history of the Arian controversy. Alexander already saw that the Arian doctrine was a contradiction of the Catholic Faith regarding the Trinity–not accepted or considered a legitimate Christological point of view. He was succeeded by St. Athanasius who took up the defense of the Faith against Arianism. I see others have weighed-in regarding this issue– for which I am grateful– Monica Migliorino Miller

  14. And, this is why the “Synodal Way” is nothing more than the blatant attack on the family, marriage and the true Christological way of the Holy Catholic Church. It opens the door for those Cardinals, Bishops and Priests along with “theologians” who support homosexuality, women as priests and deacons, transgenderism and the laity determining the course of the Church and the Faith. The German Synod was “super-loaded” with those who believe all of the above is moral, ethical and “responsible” Christianity. They had no sense of the Holy Spirit, what they did have was derived not from the Spirit of God, rather it came from the spirit of secular wokeism. The Church is at a crossroads that Benedict XVI wrote of in 1969, we are there, we either go to Christ or we go to “man” and his insatiable need for being god. What to do? Ensure that in your local and diocesan synod true Catholics are involved, without that, each and every one of them will be just like the German synod response. If we allow this, the true Church will shrink and will be relegated to underground Masses and Sacraments.

    • Agree, 100%. Of concern is that true believers, seeing Synod outcomes as foregone conclusions, will opt out of attending. We have little incentive to participate. We have the non-support and historical reality of a leader whose ideology we’ve proof. Barring some miraculous conversion…do we have reason to hope?

      Benedict resigned, giving up the ship when it began to sink. During the lockdown, there were tales of a few priests providing ‘catacomb’ services, but the majority willingly kowtowed to ecclesial authority succumbing to secular authority.

      It will take an Athanasius saint and a miracle to prevail in Francis’ synod. I don’t see myself there. So far God hasn’t spoken thus to me. Is it you? If so, let me know, and I’ll do my part in prayer.

  15. This is a very nice article. This notion that the church makes up remedial doctrine on her own is not compatible with Catholicism. The Church can no more change doctrine than she can do away with gravity.

  16. The German Cardinals and bishops want to flippantly dismiss Romans chapters 1 & 2 as only Paul’s writings and think it is outdated obviously have not studied Genesis chapter 19 . Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed by hail, fire and brimstone because of homosexuality!!’ Satan is running amuck seeking who he can devour! WAKE UP!!!!!!

  17. As Horace put it, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit (John Champagne in Italian Masculinity as Queer Melodrama, Caravaggio, Puccini, Contemporary Cinema). Champagne narrates its roots in the Rome Greece male homoerotic clientele culture, indicated in rumor of Julius Caesar submitting to Nicomedes IV, Augustine’s attempt at reconciling pagan thought with Christianity, Paul’s ambivalence on marriage.
    There is a like phenomena mentioned by thi writer previously here in CWR of the idea that a man’s sexual expression has greater dignity with other men of intellect and grace. We find it in Cole Porter’s sexual relations, although married to the woman he loved [he wrote Night and Day with her in mind] with other male composer musicians. Since WWII the growing opinion [particularly among the elite, intellectuals, as well as the general public] that all men are inherently gay. That is a commonly held illusion in a world that has lost its moral bearing in abandoning belief in a creator God, and in Christ. Christ relegated by many to a demiurge that leaves all moral questions to a higher tribune.
    Ideas as such infiltrate, in this instance corrupt. Catholicism not at all excluded unfortunately partly due to training in the classics, a more intellectual approach. Evidence of more openness to homoeroticism was seen in Vatican creches, the mural art of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, a northern Italian clerical organization that promotes he Greek homoerotic ideal. Our Vatican is manifestly precariously accommodating to homosexuality. Also, regarding presumed scientific indicators, theories of chemical interference are as stated, theoretical, even if plausible to some degree, but not fact. The point made here is that much if not most homosexual behavior, the bane of faith in Christ, is not inherent, rather it’s elective.

  18. Me thinks that many of you spend too much time studying splinters instead of the whole, obviously foundering Barq of Peter. Where are the leaks? Why are there leaks? Yes, we can all see that there are serious leaks in Saint Peter’s boat.
    We cannot agree as to the principal source, much less to the best method of repair.

    From my simplistic and uneducated perspective, I believe that we are living the Book of Revelation.
    In 2 Thess. 2:1-12, St. Paul says that the Day of the Lord will not come until the apostasy comes first.
    What is the characteristic of this apostasy? 2 Thess. 2:10-12, St. Paul says those who are lost will be those who receive a deceiving spirit from God Himself, “that they may believe the falsehood, that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have preferred wickedness.”

    I have maintained from the first public use of the word “synodal” by Pope Francis, that the specific objectives and outcomes of this “effort” had already been carved in stone. The current Churchwide exercise is merely for the sake of appearance.

    Do you wonder why the German Bishops, et al, cannot be swayed by persuasive argument?
    They are the vain, arrogant and sin-embracing shepherds who, long ago, embraced the “deceiving spirit,” abandoning God for what is worldly.
    The best itemized description of this category of souls can be found in Psalm 36 (as translated in the Breviary: Antiphon 1, Wednesday Morning, Week I):

    1 – Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.
    2 – There is no fear of God before his eyes.
    3 – He so flatters himself in his mind that he knows not his guilt.
    4 – In his mouth are mischief and deceit.
    5 – All wisdom is gone.
    6 – He plots the defeat of goodness as he lies on his bed.
    7 – He has set his foot on evil ways.
    8 – He clings to what is evil.

    It takes years of dedication and hard work for a person to master this list of behaviors, which are so necessary to the destruction of one’s immortal soul.
    Yet, these is no changing the mind of them or anyone like them.
    High ranking clerics and politicians, celebrities, musicians, etc., have fallen under the spell of the “deceiving spirit.”
    The devil tests every soul with four things: Power, Fame, Wealth and Lust – each of these temptations is actually a demon like himself, each demon specializing in a specific area of spiritual destruction.
    For the seducible, once the will is set, none can be turned.
    This in and of itself should clue us all in as to what is happening in the world.

    Christ tells us to watch and be ready.
    None of us dare to be so arrogant as to think that we will not be caught off-guard like a thief in the night.

    Each of us would do well to prayerfully read the very short but quite timely Letter of St. Jude in the New Testament. It occurs immediately before the Book of Revelation.

    Apocalyptic events are already in motion.
    Keep an eye on Ukraine, Taiwan & North Korea. Stay tuned.

    • In any event, we see interesting color graphics in the Preparatory Document and the Vademecum…all the colors of, what’s that thing again, the rainbow banner.

    • Thank you for reminding us of the first principle of theological reflection. Never lose sight of the fact that all theologians are sinners and all sinners are self-servingly deluded by their sins, and all those who study the work of theologians are sinners with a vested interest in wanting to be deluded into disbelieving in their sins. So we all must be on guard against being affected by sin when we think about theology. Did the German bishops ever have opening prayers to be guided by the Holy Spirit and be protected against pride?

  19. The silver lining in the storm , may be already foreseen by the Holy Father ,as the help that could come forth into other related realms including in practice of NFP ,
    as narrated here –

    Germany , with roots of debts related to doing away with the Book of Tobit allowed to find itself in the thick of the darkness to hopefully also come out victorious to lead the rest of The Church, the world , in ways of spiritual warfare and other measures in this last battle against family and marriage .

    Lord had warned against even a look of lust at a woman , fully aware of not having to mention again the other prohibited areas, that trusting in Him , humans have been given the grace to look at others with the holiness He desires to be taken in and attributed to others .

    Yet , we live in times when demons can be invited in through the media –

    The need to be made aware of all these areas , to seek help to be delivered and protected from all such , including the so called generational spirits afflicting nations / persons , the spirit of despair as well – Sara’s parents , even in the presence of Angel Raphael, had dug the pit for Tobias ..

    The Divine Will as the focus , seeing marriage as meant to help each other to live in same , for help in being more adorned in holiness , in areas that need deliverance and protection , not to be put in situations as near occasions of sin …

    Feast of St.Maroun today – celebrated by E.Orthodox on Feast of St.Valentine ;
    rich use of incense at the Holy Mass today by Rev. Fr. Mitch Pacwa on EWTN ; news about frankincense having health benefits – use in homes during prayer as did Tobias and Sara can have benefits …

    Some of the struggles in NFP etc: can be dealt with in a rather simple manner – such as correcting imbalances in diet / life styles esp. with regard to low
    Magnesium , leading to addictions , mood changes , various other ailments ..

    And one day soon enough , Corona as well as the spiritual viruses and masks to become occasions to gratefully recall with gratitude as was with the Aryan heresy , what The Spirit can do ..

  20. We must not be naive. The men who are intent upon having their way will not stop until they get it; this is an agenda as determined as the one that we see in Genesis 19 at Lot’s house. These advocates for homosexuality are spiritually connect with the group of men grasping for the door of Lot’s house while they were blinded. Cutting to the chase, the German leaders are concurrently advocating the dispensation of celibacy in the Catholic Priesthood and approval of homosexual lifestyles. Clearly, what they are telling us is that they want to remain in Catholic leadership, and openly flaunt their own homosexual relationships, if they choose to have them or if they already have them. Just how would that work out for the Catholic Church? Catholics should take them very seriously. We must not be so certain that we will not see this in all Christian churches in our lifetime. If anyone had told me that we would see the confusion and depravity that we are seeing now, I would not have believed it. More than anything, humanity is in the midst of a giant spiritual attack from every direction, but we seem not to understand that. Even thought we have been called to international prayer repeatedly, especially during the pandemic, many have arrogantly chosen to protest the loss of our sinful lifestyles, instead of heeding the call to repent and transform our lives.

    I sense that silence is the absolute wrong response at this time. I am not Catholic, but I have waited impatiently for the Pope to vehemently disassociate his previous remarks (which Hollerich pounced upon) from Hollerich’s proposals. I understand that the Vatican has its procedures for responding to proposals from synods, but this is an a dire emergency! My guess is that Hollerich and other leaders knew that a lapse in time would occur before the Vatican issued a response, and their agenda will gain some traction during the wait. This is a good example of when protocol must be put aside, lest Satan gain momentum. In fact, Christians all over the world need to affirming clarification from the Pope that He will follow the word of God.

    Meanwhile, I commend Ms. Miller for her respectful, scholarly, and theologically-based response to Hollerich’s bombshell comments, but I suspect that the principal value of her essay is to those of us who need consolation and reassurance that the entire world has not gone mad. Besides better than any of us, theological scholars know every theological argument that we might place before them. They do not need to be tutored in relevant scripture. Like Satan, they know scripture better than most devout Christians. It appears to me that the bottom line in this collective offense is blatant and unremorseful disobedience toward the word of God, and outright disrespect for the Godhead. We can write until our pens are all dry, but see this as a clear attack on Christianity, which will escalate apostasy in some measure, not only in the the Catholic Church but among Christians thorughout the world. Can you imagine the conversations of the men responsible for this unrest, and the looks on their faces, as we lie awake trying to make sense of it? These men are not 12-year old innocent acolytes. They are senior seasoned officials who understand their power; yet, they are willing to defy scripture and lead Christians to defy it for the sake of following homosexual inclinations to to gratify the flesh against all warnings.. Simply stated, God would not negate His own plan to perpetuate humanity; indeed, theoretically homosexuality and same sex marriage will extinguish humanity. A statistical regression analysis will affirm this. The only variables are the increase in homosexuality and time. In fact, the clock is already ticking on the demise of humanity. I am dismayed that the world is silent on this mathematical certainty. This is the worst case scenario, and it is an indispensable guide for making sound decisions regarding homosexuality.

    • Well reasoned and convincing analysis, Carol. Dare I dash hope? As a fairly-well informed and educated orthodox cradle Catholic, I’m compelled to point out that Francis’ mode historically has been not to clarify, not to speak against sinners, even those hell-bent. In fact, if past performance suggests future trends, the Synod will likely publish its results, and Francis will scribble his seal on the dirty attestation delivered him. A few days later, Vatican word will leak that the pope does not approve of homosexuality simply because he acknowledged the synod’s sterile and stained ‘productive end.’ Yet the world will trumpet his signature at the ‘end’ of the initiative of ‘dialogue’ he began.

  21. What is happening in Germany is all very clarifying — and will ultimately be purifying. What the Germans have approved is where the “spirit of Vatican II” leads. A big choice is coming: Are you with or against the Germans? One thing is certain, and that is that all oponents of Traditionis Custodes will be in the anti-German camp. They will then be freed from the oppoisition they face from the crowd that is (often tacitly) pro-gay and true worship can then again flourish in the Church.

  22. Thank you Monica Miller!!! The Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a bastion of the Holy Spirit and I am so very grateful for the courageous orthodoxy and evangelization of many who serve there (Ralph Martin in particular).

    I think one of the major problems in all of these discussions is that the heterodox prelates and their supporters insist on defining human beings first and foremost by their sexual appetites. It is a reductive, dehumanizing, and spiritually harmful approach to these issues.

    Finally, many thanks to Carl Olson and his team for keeping the spotlight on these issues.

  23. If a person wants to become a member of a club, he must abide by the rules (the ordinances) of the organization.

    The church has order, responsibility and yet, the promise of God’s grace to those who need it. Anyone promoting ungodliness is an enemy of the church and makes a mockery of God’s saving grace.

    We all sin and confession restores us to communion. Those who openly perpetuate sin and say that God approves of this adverse talk and behaviour needs to repent or be put out of the church.

    CWR stands up for God’s righteousness, it is a blessing to all who love and honour the Lord.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The German Church and the dissolution of the one-flesh unity – Catholic World Report – The Old Roman
  2. The Days Of Heroes Have Begun What A Privilege To Live In The Era Of This Life | Traditional Catholics Emerge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.