Saturday, October 1, 2011

Church Welfare Bums

From the recent trip to Germany the pope's talk to the German parliament is getting the most attention, and rightly so, a really clear analysis of why we don't want too much or too little religion in politics. But what the German clergy is really worried about is what he said about the church taxes levied by the state and given to the church. He didn't bluntly call for them to end but he certainly opened the debate by saying the church needs to deal with it's problem of worldliness and becoming poorer is likely to make this happen. Here is a story of prominent German Catholics trying to deny he could possibly be talking about getting poorer by giving up the church's $6.3 billion a year government check.

Freiburg, Germany - A call from Pope Benedict XVI for the Catholic Church to massively change by getting rid of its worldly wealth has shaken German clergy, who say this is not the reform they had in mind.
Even a long-time critic of the German-born pope, theologian Hans Kueng, was incredulous a day after the call, contending that it was just a dodge by Benedict, 84, who dropped the bombshell on Sunday, the last day of a four-day trip to Germany.
In a first response, the head of the Catholic Church in Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, later insisted the pope was not criticizing the German church's revenue streams, which include levies on registered Catholics, administered by government tax authorities.
But the church establishment may have difficulty pushing this genie back into the bottle after Benedict's statement.
The German church has essentially become a welfare bum. They just sit around and get fat while waiting for the government money to arrive. Not all of them but way too many. What is worse is the institution has taken on a political character and has lost it's focus on God. They are Martha's and not Mary's. They have forgotten the one thing that is essential. All of German society really has but it is most striking in the church.

The pope's answer? Get poor. That is how to get worldliness out of your system. It is the money that is corrupting you. Get rid of it. Go cold turkey. That will force you to turn to God for help.
Kueng, 83, contended the pope was like a 'doddery old doctor handing out spiritual fruit juice' instead of the proper medical treatment.

I see some irony in that last statement of the article. Kueng's spiritual fruit juice is married priests, female priests, contraception, etc. Pope Benedict is actually suggesting taking out a tumor that has sapped the life our of the German church for a long time. Other churches have tried the path Kueng suggests. They have not been revitalized. Quite the opposite. Pope Benedict's idea is scary. If God is not real it will kill the church. The church needs to die. Then it needs to rise again. But how can a leadership that has lost it's faith choose that path?


  1. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again in the expectation of a different outcome." I feel sorry for Hans Küng; he's like a one-hit wonder from forty years ago stuck playing bar gigs for the door, amazed and hurt that his "inferior" contemporaries are still packing bigger venues with fans and releasing songs that go gold or platinum. Benedict has grown; Küng has actually shrunk.

  2. Kueng is a guy who gets in the paper a lot. He continues to reliably state what most reporters feel should be the story of the Catholic church. That is that the church's old guard is slowly but surely going to lose out in the face of a wave of progress. He has been saying it for over half a century now. Any time now it will happen. Just wait. But the movement is actually in the other direction. Still most reporters don't question that the church will eventually have to give in on women priests and abortion and gay marriage. So they look for a guy like Kueng.

    This story is different. The church levy is likely to be eliminated at some point. Kueng is actually the conservative in trying to keep it around. The liberal establishment of the church is very annoyed at the pope for not using his influence to do the same. But Pope Benedict is actually taking the more liberal position.