Radical German “Theologians” Conjure Up Tired Old “Spirit of Vatican II” (Again).

In anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s forthcoming visit to his homeland, more than 200 German theologians — men and women who have earned doctoral degrees in theology and teach in German universities — have issued a manifesto, “The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure.” The manifesto itself does not identify the destination for which the Church is to depart, but the terminus ad quem seems reasonably clear from a careful reading of the document: Catholicism is to transform itself into another liberal Protestant sect by conceding virtually every point at issue between classic Christianity and the ambient culture of the postmodern West.

It is, perhaps, no surprise to find German Catholic theologians publicly supporting the ordination of married men and women to the ministerial priesthood (overtly), same-sex “marriage” (slyly), and full communion within the Church for those in irregular marriages (subtly but unmistakably). These causes have been espoused for years. German theologians dissented en masse from the 1993 teaching of Veritatis Splendor on the nature of moral acts and from the 1994 teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on the Church’s inability to admit women to Holy Orders. What was particularly striking about this new manifesto was its attempt to address serious problems with tried-and-failed solutions. That bespeaks a remarkable lack of intellectual creativity and historical sense.

Read more from George Weigel

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