For the Church and the Faith in Germany we, the undersigned, submit this petition. We do this in order to affirm that the Catholic Faith in the Triune God is alive, as it was delivered to us by the Apostles and their successors.
A few weeks ago some leading CDU politicians contacted German bishops with an open letter and now we have over 200 theology professors issuing a memorandum saying something similar, but with even more demands.
We want to answer these publically and submit this petition to our bishops in order to correct the distorted picture of the Church in the public. These demands on the bishops cause great damage to the Church, as believers are disconcerted, deceived and led into error.
We confront this dishonest behavior of theologians and politicians, by placing ourselves clearly on the side of our bishops and in union with the Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
Therefore we address, dear bishops, the following requests to you:
1. Treat these demands of politicians, theology professors, press representatives and others with all decisiveness. Catholics, who are continually confronted with such news in their everyday life, need the visible and audible assistance of their shepherds.
2. Please give to our priests and candidates for priestly office a clear signal of support that celibacy is the appropriate way of life for a priest. Honest, straightforward priests need the support of their bishops in these difficult times.
3. As shepherds, we rely on you to ensure that the research and theory that take place at our theological faculties and institutes are conducted with all due respect for the necessary freedom of science in conformity with Church doctrine. We need lecturers and professors who support the Faith intellectually and fairly and who have something to say in the scientific discourse in the universities of our secularized society.
4. Please show yourselves to be also responsible for the students at all levels of theology -- including candidates for the priesthood, the teaching profession and those who seek to advise municipalities on behalf of the Church. As their pastors, please give them a clear signal that the study of theology can be meaningful only within the Church – never, however, against the Church.
5. We ask that you always keep the Liturgy in your diocese in view. Please ensure that liturgical experimentation is terminated. We believers have a right to a proper Liturgy fixed in the rites of the church. The priest is not the master of the Liturgy, but the servant. Liturgy is an expression of the unity of the Church. He who abandons this unity of prayer within the Church endangers the unity of the Church.
6. We ask that you give a clear confession of what marriage and family mean in the sense of the Church. With all due respect to the rights of individuals to select other ways of life, it must be made clear however in society that Christian marriage is a Sacrament. Therefore, same-sex and non-conjugal partnerships can never be on an equal footing with marriage.
7. The dialogue which has been announced must not be a dialogue between the highest floors of the ivory towers of academia and the media. While it is a good thing to talk with one another, the foundation of the Church should never be placed in jeopardy due to such a dialogue.
We submit these requests to you under the firm conviction that your doors are always open.
We have formulated these requests in order to make our solidarity with you, the priests in our municipalities and believing Catholics in Germany very clear.
It is not our intention to request the impossible. As laity, we are very conscious of the reality which characterizes the day-to-day life of the church in our country.
Receive this petition as a sign of our concern. We assure you of our prayers for the heavy responsibilities of your offices at this time.
You can sign the petition here.