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German diocese hires self-identified transgender man to teach religious ed

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

null / Juanje Garrido/Shutterstock

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, Apr 8, 2022 / 10:28 am (CNA).

A German diocese has defended its decision to grant a biological female who identifies as a transgender man permission to teach Catholic religion to schoolchildren, amid questions over whether it is attempting to sidestep canon law and the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual morality.

“I can confirm that Mr. Theo Schenkel is granted a permanent teaching license for Catholic religious education in state schools,” a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Freiburg told CNA on April 7.

Since canon law precluded the trainee teacher from receiving the requisite Missio Canonica of the bishop, the diocese said it had issued the teacher with an “unlimited teaching permission,” signed by the vicar general. Both the diocese and the state school authority consider this authorization sufficient for Schenkel to teach Catholic religion classes, media reported.

However, the case could yet create further problems, Schenkel told local news media in February, given plans for the teacher and a female companion to marry. This would be considered a same-sex marriage by the Catholic Church, Schenkel told a regional newspaper. According to media reports, the trainee teacher had commenced studies of French and Catholicism while still living as a heterosexual woman and was in a relationship with a man.

In answer to an email inquiry by CNA Deutsch, the diocese said the decision to permit the self-identifying trans man to teach Catholic religion was made for that person’s individual case only.

When asked about how this could be congruent with canon law and employment regulations, the diocese told CNA that “Church labor laws are currently being reworked by the German bishops.”

A number of German dioceses have already announced they no longer preclude LGBT-identifying staff from working for the Church. These announcements followed a day of defiance against the Vatican by priests and pastoral workers blessing homosexual unions in Germany in May 10, 2021. It also follows the high-profile campaign “Out in Church,” an initiative supported with a documentary broadcast in prime time by German state media. Theo Schenkel was one of the persons featured in the movie.

The campaign was welcomed by Bishop Helmut Dieser of Aachen on behalf of the German Bishops’ Conference in a video to mark the occasion.

This initiative also published a “manifesto” that demanded, amongst other things, “a change of the discriminatory church labor law.”

In February, participants in the German “Synodal Way” voted in favor of draft documents calling for same-sex blessings and the revision of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

In the same month, another prominent European Church leader, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J., was asked by the German Catholic news agency KNA how he dealt “with the Church teaching that homosexuality is a sin.”

He replied: “I believe that this is wrong. But I also believe that we are thinking ahead in doctrine here. The way the pope has expressed himself in the past, this can lead to a change in doctrine. Because I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.”

Hollerich, the archbishop of Luxembourg, will play a central role in the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome, serving as relator general. He is also president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE).

The Catechism, which Pope John Paul II described as “a sure norm for teaching the faith,” says: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

As the Catechism explains, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

It continues: “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

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  1. A test case for Vatican commitment to Apostolic doctrine on homosexuality. Theo Schenkel, a biological woman in a relationship with a man, decides she’s a man and now prepared to marry a woman, is granted a permanent license to teach [or is it licentious permission to teach?] German schoolchildren religion. CNA Staff note the popular approval among German bishops and priests of such sexual creativity, consistent with the anthropological advancements already made by Bishop Georg Bätzing and the German Synodal Way clerical scientists, his eminence Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and that they are in opposition to Vatican teaching. Or, is it in contrariness to Vatican teaching during prior pontificates in quoting John Paul II? How are we to realistically assess this?
    To date the Supreme Pontiff has not intervened, at least not effectively in accord with his authority, and his obligation to defend the faith in exercising that supreme authority. What is telling, Pope Francis personally assigned Cardinal Jean Claude Hollerich SJ, who openly advocates adult homosexual relationships within Catholicism, within the Church itself, with the prominent Synod position of relator, he who decides the agenda.
    We might propose Francis is being very clever, expecting that the issue will be raised and quashed by heterodox bishops. Or, might he be doubly clever knowing it will be raised, and with the propitious intervention of American shadow pontiff Cardinal Blase Cupich left unresolved with the suggestion of approval, as has been His Holiness’ modus operandi.
    It leaves clergy rather impotent in response to concerned, even outraged laity who witness a constant process, brilliant if likely intended, of disassembling Catholic moral doctrine. My advice to my fellows in spiritual arms is advance the truth come hell or high water.

    • Thank you Fr. Morello for bravely coming forward and speaking out. It is a very slippery slope we are on and I’m afraid it’s picking up speed. We speak the truth and we speak the truth in love. When we purposefully open the door to evil and play the pretend game with those who are mentally ill and partake in their fantasy we no longer have a grasp on truth. In the end are we really loving these people if we pretend with them? No. We are taking the easy way out and letting the evil persist. It’s time to let truth prevail.

    • The answer to this rabbit hole is quite clear. If this were Alice in Wonderland, there might be six steps:

      First, Pope Francis (or his successor) might respond to the dubia, this by citing Veritatis Splendor (magisterial, n. 115).
      Second, as he did in Chile, and with the support of his C-7 (!), Pope Francis might solicit letters of resignation from much of the curia—and then accept probably 50 of them, with short but clear explanations.
      Third, those remaining would be welcomed to a mission conducted by Fr. Cantalamessa, incomparable preacher of the papal household—in continuity (!) with the past three popes since 1980 (John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis).
      Fourth, with a fully respected and functioning “dicastery” for the Doctrine of the Faith—and thus with restored and robust moral authority within the Church, ways then might be found to also present, yes, Francis’ somewhat polyhedral Church as offering a still-coherent, perennial, and centripetal grounding and mediator service to a relativistic and floundering world.
      Fifth, the papal flag would remain gold and white with the crossed keys of St. Peter—not lavender on the backside with crossed fingers (the Cheshire Cat quote: “I don’t much care where—” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. “—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.)

    • SICK, and I say this as a wife, mother, grandmother and about to be great- grandmother and finally a Catholic schoolteacher of English and religion forover25 years. No apologies though I am naturally a sympathetic person. ENOUGH, ENOUGH AND TRI.PLE ENOUGH!!!

  2. Presumably they would also have a paralyzed person teach gym, someone who’s illiterate teach English, and someone deaf teach music.


    I guess we should be grateful they actually let these children be born at all. Leftists are so fond of aborting them.

    • I trust we agree about the issue in question in Germany. But why couldn’t a paralyzed person teach gym? And maybe Beethoven wouldn’t have been an awful music teacher. I will give you the one about the illiterate trying to teach English.

  3. It’s amazing and discouraging that the Pope has done NOTHING to rein in the actions of the Germans. Clearly the Germans are accepting of issues in direct opposition to the church. Clearly their actions are damaging to the unity of the church and giving scandal. The situation should be ended immediately, and in no uncertain terms. If it means removing Bishops and cardinals from their positions, so be it. Instead the Pope occupies his time trying to shut down monasteries and hampering those using the old order Latin Mass. If he cannot see the damage this is causing, there is little hope of filling the pews with believers again. People are not always looking for the easiest path.They are looking for truth and standards, and a framework for living their lives. In any event, what good is there in retaining “believers” who do not actually believe what the Faith stands for? The hierarchy needs to understand that when you decide to stand for everything, you actually stand for nothing.

  4. One huge elephant in the room here that is being ignored is that the German “Catholic” Church is not in fact Catholic and that one cannot be in communion with it and its heresies anymore than a 16th century Roman Catholic could have been in communion with Luther.

    Another huge elephant in the room that is being ignored is that Bergoglio by word, act, and omission has ignored, permitted and even encouraged these heresies and such actions raise significant questions whether he is pope and even more fundamentally whether he is even Catholic himself.

  5. Now the “official-Catholic-Church-in-Germany,” led by “Eminence” Marx, is sponsoring the sexual grooming of children, in “Cardinal-Coordination” with Pontiff Francis.

    These men do evil.

  6. Wow!!! Pope Pius XII thought the 1950’s were evil what would he say about now??? I am sure the Lord and the Holy Mother are grieving over the current state of the church! The Pope not willing to take a stand for the truth, the doctrine of the faith and the traditions of the church is appalling and speaks volumes!!! I for one will continue to practice the doctrine of the faith, the truth and tradition and will not yield to idiocy!!! Blaze Cupich should be put out of leadership he is a horrible bishop and is sowing discourse and heresy in the American church and should be stripped of his leadership!!! We need to turn to Our Holy Mother and ask for her intercession and that she will turn the hearts of the present leadership of the church to Christ because it sure seems they have LOST THEIR WAY to the truth!!!! Yes, we will all go before the judgement seat of Christ and give an account of our life INCLUDING THESE MEN who would do well to remember and think about that!!!!! Not only does the scourge pervading the church need to be thrown out , anyone teaching heresy and others to do so should be taken down from leadership and put out if they will not yield to the true teachings of the church!!!!

  7. At this moment in history what is the purpose of forcing the Universal Church to shoulder the boldly and grossly heretical Teutonic sect which abandoned the Catholic faith decades ago? There will be no consequence because this element has its boy on the Chair in Rome. In September of 2019 Pope Bergoglio articulated a fearlessness in the face of possible schism caused by “…Christians, bishops, priests, who are rigid, behind that there are problems and an unhealthy way of looking at the Gospel…” “The things I say about social issues are the same things (Pope) John Paul said. I copy him (and they say)‘the pope is too communist,’” Francis said. “Ideology is infiltrating doctrine, and when ideologies slip into doctrine, there is the possibility of a schism,” he said.
    Is it self-deceit, self-delusion, or simple mendacity at work in the mind of the Bishop of Rome?

  8. When the man at the helm of the Barque is himself lacking supernatural faith and is quite comfortable abdicating his responsibilities this nonsense will continue unabated.

  9. “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

    Here’s where part of the problem lies, where the Catechism veers into ambiguity, with the last sentence “They must be accepted with respect…”: One, why do we even need to know who they are? Cannot they discuss their disordered inclinations with a counselor and their falls with their confessor? Why do the rest of us even need to know that they desire sexually members of their own sex? Two, what is it that should be respected? Their humanity? Or course, just like everyone else. But why should any behavior centered around their disordered inclinations be respected, not just sodomy, but grossly effeminate behavior, etc.??? Do we have to also respect these things, and if so, why? Do we respect thieves because of their humanity? Of course. But we don’t respect their thievery. Why should homosexual behaviors be any different?

    • Your summation of the issue is perfect. It is only the self-proclaimed, self-promoting homoseuxal who must be treated as a special case. The rest of us ordinary sinners are expected to speak of our sins only in the appropriate place and at the proper time. If we were to do otherwise, we would be rightly chastised for our exhibitionism, and told to kindly shut up.

  10. Your own DNA defines that you are male or female. Any other self-identification should be treated by a competent psychiatrist.

  11. This morning I read that militant homosexual Eric Tilch has said that he can only feel accepted by the Church as a homosexual “if I am also accepted with changing partners…” Tilich is employed by Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg as a youth education officer, Obviously the leash the German Church provides “stable” homosexual partnerships is insufficient and approbation of homosexual promiscuity is now required.
    Who could not have seen this on the horizon?
    Who can now not foresee acquiescence to this immorality in the not so distant future? After all, they are born this way and compassion demands further steps!
    What will not be acknowledged is that Tilch’s proposal bespeaks the very nature of the condition and sets the seal on its nature as intrinsically disordered.
    The episcopate exists to call to conversion, not provide an alibi to sinful disorder. If the episcopate is not doing that does it actually exist?

  12. Well, as long as s/he does not express any desire to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, where is the problem? There is no danger of promoting “disunity” here, since the German bishops are quite united in their approach to schism.

  13. Dontchaknow? It is intuitively obvious to the casual observer that resticting reproduction to individuals with sufficient rationality and self-control to become financially able to access technology to realize their chosen reproductuon plan will yield a safer, saner world, yes? German culture–which seems vaguely homosexual to begin with–has been sadly tweaked. Maybe Putin is on his way to that German Synod, bringing the married priests they’ve been wanting?

  14. The ecclesiastics involved in this «transgender» accommodation are either totally naïve and unwordly or agents of something else that knows the ways of the world only too well.

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