143 German Catholic theologians commit public formal heresy

The German daily sueddeutsche.de has published the Memorandum of 143 Catholic university professors and theologians, mostly from Germany, with some from Austria and Switzerland. [Google translation]

The document begins with a brief discussion of the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. This crisis is then used as a pretext for calling for reforms unrelated to that problem. The areas supposedly needing reform are enumerated in the following claims:

1. that the faithful should participate in the appointments of priests and bishops. This claim treats the Church as if She were not Teacher and Mother, but a merely human institution, one that is or should be controlled by the majority opinion.

2. that the shortage of priests should be addressed by making the Church democratic, and by having married priests and women in the clergy. This claim rejects the magisterial teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests.

3. that legal reforms are needed in Church law. Nothing specific is mentioned.

4. that freedom of conscience should allow for same-sex partnerships and divorce with remarriage in the Church. This claim is an open expression of heresy against Church teaching on the grave disorder of homosexuality, the grave sins of homosexual acts, and the nature of the Sacrament of Marriage.

5. that the Church has been excessively rigorous in Her moral teachings, contrary to the Biblical message of freedom. This claim apparently accuses the Church of holding to moral truth too well! The claim also speaks as if moral truth and mercy were in conflict, which is absurd.

6. that the Church should allow more diversity in worship. This claim rejects the authority of the Holy See over the norms of liturgical celebrations. This claim continues the theme of transferring the authority of the one holy Church to the local laity.

Are any of the above numbered points in the memorandum contrary to the definitive teaching of the Church? Yes. The call for women clergy, the rejection of the spiritual and temporal authority of the Church, the rejection of magisterial teaching against homosexuality, homosexual acts, and same-sex unions, and the call for the acceptance of divorce and remarriage (implicitly rejecting the nature of the Sacrament of Marriage) are all open expressions of formal heresy against the teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

Every one of the 143 persons who signed this Memorandum have thereby committed the grave sin of formal heresy. They have also thereby committed the grave sin of scandal. And the fact that most (if not all) of these signatories are university professors indicates that some of them have probably committed the grave sin of teaching heresy.

Under the eternal moral law and also under Canon law, everyone who commits the sin of formal heresy (whether publicly or privately) is automatically excommunicated. The faithful should now regard all of these persons as former members of the Catholic Church who have left the Church by deliberately and knowingly rejecting the required beliefs of the Faith.

[Titus 3]
{3:10} Avoid a man who is a heretic, after the first and second correction,
{3:11} knowing that one who is like this has been subverted, and that he offends; for he has been condemned by his own judgment.

May God have mercy on the faithful, being led astray by very many false teachers.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator

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