Confronting the German Bishops of Suspicion—And the New Protestant Reformation

Confronting the Pope of Suspicion warned that theology was being replaced by social science.

Today is the official launch of the much publicized German national synod, an event which was announced last December in a shocking press release from the German bishops’ conference. The purpose of the two-year synodal process is to reevaluate Church teaching on sexual morality, and already they have agreed on changes to teachings on divorce and homosexuality. Regarding the latter, CNA reported the following:

Following consultations in Berlin last week, the chairman of the Marriage and Family Commission of the German bishops’ conference declared that the bishops agreed that homosexuality is a “normal form” of human sexual identity.

Source: CNA

Both CNA and LifeSite News confirmed that the German statement pointed to Amoris Laetitia as opening the door to this reevaluation of Church teaching, thus implicating Pope Francis in the heresies now being promulgated by the German church. It has now been almost two months since the publication of the German press release, and the pope has yet to utter a word of correction or condemnation. And his silence confirms the worst fears of the dubia Cardinals who asked the pope whether Amoris allowed for such a reevaluation of Church teaching.

The questions posed by the dubia Cardinals essentially expressed their concern that Amoris was setting aside the Bible’s sexual morality, which, they pointed out, was an impossibility according to the teaching of the Bible itself, as well as the Church’s own Sacred Tradition.

But setting aside the Bible was exactly what Amoris Laetitia was up to, as I showed in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion. What took the Bible’s place? It was science, or more specifically, pop psychology. This usurpation of Biblical authority by the social sciences had its roots in the psychological revolution of the early twentieth century:

Excerpt—Confronting the Pope of Suspicion

The scientific study of human nature posed a real threat to Christianity. As the sciences progressed in their understanding of human nature, would their findings refute the biblical claims that Christianity presented an authentic spiritual path to human perfection and fulfillment? It’s a thorny problem for the Church really. The Church claims infallible knowledge of human nature that is at least, in part, derived from divine revelation. And a new science was claiming to have empirical evidence that refutes that biblical understanding. Whom should we believe?

The appearance of psychology as a new science and academic discipline posed an existential threat to the priesthood, as Carl Jung observed in his book Modern Man in Search of a Soul. In the event of a spiritual crisis, to whom should one turn—the priest or the therapist? This was the question Jung asked at the end of that book. Increasingly, Jung observed, people were staying away from “the minister of the church . . . [due to] his lack of psychological knowledge and insight. . . .”

Those were Jung’s words in 1933. And they presaged a revolution in theology. If ministers were going to be of help to their flocks, they would need to educate themselves in the new field of psychology. By 1978, before John Paul II ever ascended to the papal throne, the revolution was complete, and the obituary of orthodoxy had already been written.

Confronting the Pope of Suspicion describes how the social sciences, led by pop psychology, brought heresy to our seminaries and theology departments. Under their influence, many theologians in the sixties and seventies rejected the Church’s eternal law on sexual morality on the grounds that it came from the Bible—a “culturally biased” document “ignorant of modern science,” in their opinion.

“Science” would take the place of the Bible as the new authority for sexual morality according to these heretical theologians. Consequently, according to this heretical view, the Church’s traditional teachings on sexuality were no longer valid since they were derived from an “archaic” and “scientifically ignorant” source. Church teaching would need to be updated in light of contemporary “scientific” research.

This is exactly what the German bishops proclaimed in their December press release, as NewWalden, CNA, and LifeSite News reported. The Germans are now calling for a reevaluation of sexual morality from a scientific perspective.

And where is the Vatican to put its foot down? A newly published book from the Pontifical Biblical Commission, an official Vatican department, appears to agree with the German bishops. Which supports the claim made by the German bishops that Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, is on board with such a scientific reassessment of Church morality.

Indeed, that is exactly what I found in my investigation of Amoris Laetitia. In Chapter 7, Pope Francis states that science is essential for understanding sexual morality while, earlier in the document, (par. 3) he declares that Church teaching (the magisterium) is not essential in all doctrinal matters. As I wrote in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion, such a diminishment of the magisterium, coupled with an uncritical acceptance of pop science is tantamount to heresy:

More From Confronting the Pope of Suspicion:

The carte blanche granted to psychology in AL( 280, 302) is problematic. Nowhere in AL can you find any criticism of psychological theory. This is a problem because many of the new ideas of psychology directly contradicted the Church’s teachings on sexuality. And the theological revolutionaries of the seventies knew it and did not deny it. In fact, they openly proclaimed it. (Read Guindon’s introduction to The Sexual Language sometime.) Thus, when AL explicitly recommends the use of psychology for moral discernment without indicating that some psychological theories are incompatible with Church teaching, it has smuggled doctrinal error into the Church. Homosexuality is intrinsically disordered regardless of what Masters and Johnson think about it. Regardless of what James Martin and Sr. Jeannine Gramick and the “St. Gallen Mafia” think about it. End of story. And the same is true for masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography, and any sexual activity outside of marriage: psychological theories that approve these activities as healthy and natural expressions of sexuality are incompatible with Church doctrine and are not acceptable for moral discernment and authentic conscience formation. The absence of any such clear statement in Amoris Laetitia is evidence of the document’s bad faith.  

Pope Francis Is Leading a Second Protestant Reformation

LifeSite News has just reported the publication of the working document for the German synod, and it confirms everything that I wrote in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion:

LifeSite Excerpt on German Working Document

The working document’s chapter dealing with sexual morality is revealingly titled, “On the further development of Catholic teaching on sexuality.” The document demands sexual morality must develop “on the basis of insights of the human sciences, including the life experience […] of (faithful) loving people.”

The document describes that relying on the human sciences, namely “psychology, sociology, anthropology,” would open up the many prohibitions of sexual morality as proposed by the teaching authority of the Church, “which sees sexual activity only within marriage, and still directed strongly towards procreation.”

Consequently, the document justifies the use of contraception, the practice of masturbation, and an active homosexual lifestyle.

This is the biggest religion news story since the Protestant Reformation, yet very few journalists and commentators understand what is happening. Just yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the synod was initiated as a response to the Church’s interminable sexual abuse crisis, echoing a bishop talking point which attempts to justify the German heresies by advertising them as a necessary reform to combat sexual abuse. If this is a response to the abuse crisis, it is the worst possible response imaginable. For the Germans are promoting the very ideas of sexual liberation that created the abuse crisis in the first place!

Confronting the Pope of Suspicion explains what most journalists and commentators have failed to see, namely this—that the ideas being promoted by the German bishops and Pope Francis are merely the recycled heresies of the seventies that were the direct cause of the sexual abuse epidemic.

Confronting the Pope of Suspicion warns that a new outbreak of the sexual abuse epidemic will be the true legacy of the Francis and German “magisterium” if their ideas are allowed to spread throughout the Church. It would be the unleashing of the worst crisis of sexual abuse imaginable. And it goes without saying that the Church simply cannot afford another crisis. Neither can it afford this pope or these German bishops.

Praise for Confronting the Pope of Suspicion:

  • “Connects the dots between Amoris Laetitia, Carl Rogers, theological dissent and sexual chaos in the Church. A short but profound read.” —Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Author of The Sexual State
  • “John Gravino presents here a sober, thoroughly documented and powerfully argued case . . . .” —John Zmirak, Author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism

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