"In addition, the cardinal explains why the church must not spread fear – “of Hell or whatever”." (German prelates again)

This is a Yandex translation of an article in the German Catholic online magazine katholisch.de

Part 1 of translation (Part 2 will be posted sequentially)

“Because it is not always helpful for peace
Cardinal Marx: “sometimes you have to say: stop Religion!”

All religions served peace at its core, says Cardinal Reinhard Marx. But where this is “buried”, one must raise one’s voice. In addition, the cardinal explains why the church must not spread fear – “of Hell or whatever”.

According to the Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Religion is not always helpful for peace. “Sometimes you have to say: stop Religion!”, said Marx on Wednesday evening at the "Augsburg peace talks"held by the Peace Office of the city of Augsburg.

The chairman of the German Bishops ’ Conference and Archbishop of Munich and Freising added that he believes that all religions serve peace in their core. "But sometimes this core is very buried."Religion must not be abused against people or to maintain power.

The chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany and Bavarian Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm declared that peace needs the church because it needs all people. The church in particular in that it is part of her DNA to bring about reconciliation. “In the past, the church was criticized for its blessing of arms,” said Bedford-Strohm, today among other things for her advocacy for Environmental Protection. “I prefer the latter.”

“The charisma of the church does not depend on the number of members”

Regarding the role of the churches in society, the regional bishop said: "the charisma of the church does not depend on the number of members."It is a matter of standing up enthusiastically for the gospel and showing that as a Christian one lives out of this power. In the meantime, it is natural that fewer people today are church members “out of freedom” than in the past, since many were “out of convention”.

Part 2 of translation
Marx added: "We do not want to change the Society of freedom."One should not exclude anyone just because he does not come to church every Sunday. “Where fear is spread - of Hell or whatever-the Gospel cannot work.”

The “Augsburg peace talks” took place under the title "does Peace need the churches?“for the first time. According to the organizers, representatives of science, politics, culture, Religion and Sports will talk twice a year about Interculturality, Migration, Integration, diversity and multi-religious dialogue. The talks refer to the Augsburg religious peace of 1555. They are intended to promote an understanding of current developments in heterogeneous societies, present new perspectives and concrete options for action, and encourage active participation and shaping of social processes. (KNA)”

Yet, I seem to recall

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 1:7 Douay-Rheims


And Our Lord Himself said:

“And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Mathew 10:28

I guess Marx thinks we will have to scrap most of the Old Testament and the bits of the New Testament that Our Lord got wrong…….

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There are a lot of people in our world who need to develop a genuine fear of Hell.

Frankly, this man sounds like he’s taken a long drink of the progressive cool-aid. It’s sad to see a cardinal spouting this sort nonsense.


You also have to take the comments in as much good will as possible. Much of what is said is true. The Gospel is not about slavish fear, the Gospel proclaims liberty to captives.
Fear of the Lord is not slavish fear, it is respect and awe for God.

But the idea that religion is not helpful for peace, if he indeed said that, geez…We have enough of that from overt atheists.

It seems to me that what you are seeing in Europe is an overreaction to the Big Wars. And the Cardinal seems to be one of those who has bought into the dominant secular narrative that religious zealotry is responsible for those wars. And that if we relativize our beliefs we eliminate the danger of oppression and hate.
Ummm, no.


There’s a world of difference between servile fear and love - it’s not for nothing that contrition is only imperfect if it’s based on fear of damnation. the gift of fear of the Lord. God’s will is for all people to be saved and this isn’t just a New Testament notion either - it’s something that keeps coming up time and again in scripture since it’s an essential part of the history of salvation. God wants his people to love Him - to reciprocate the love that he showed us first and the share that same love with those we encounter.

In this way, the Cardinal is right - it’s not just about showing up (or not, as the case may be) every Sunday. Instead, it’s about genuine love for the Lord and our neighbour (another OT precept). That’s not to say our attendance on Sunday’s isn’t important but if that’s all we’re doing than we’re selling ourselves short; it’s not simply a numbers game but instead about fostering a genuine relationship with the Lord - something which takes time, effort and patience. In the same way, religion can (and has) been abused and it’s this abuse which is “unhelpful for peace” as well as being unhelpful for faith. It’s worth remembering that, throughout the history of salvation ,God’ always gives people a choice - He never forces faith but instead calls us to a genuine conversion of heart; no matter how long that might take he’s willing to wait.


The voice that speaks most often of hell in the New Testament is Our Lord. Why?


I used to give some credence to this idea myself but decided I was wrong when I realised that true faith would enable the believer to see through the narrative you refer to. I now think that the most straightforward reason for such blatant displays by the hierarchy follows the Ockham`s Razor principle and that they simply lack Supernatural Faith. . . .

They believe they are being tolerant and welcoming, and are going too far to dilute the faith. And passionate belief in God is desperately needed. The world is not becoming a better place in those countries. The populations are becoming indifferent, and that includes the US, where many people think it’s a sin to simply have strong feelings about any truth.

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I’m not sure what the big fascination is with Germany that we have to hear about it on here every time a “German prelate” opens his mouth. Germany is not going to single-handedly ruin the Church for the rest of us. I’m also not convinced that every little thing the “German prelates” say or every little move they make is of general interest.


Our Lord speaks of Hell because it’s a reality and I don’t understand the Carindal to be suggesting otherwise. Again, though there’s a huge difference between belief motivated by fear of Hell and belief motivated by love of the Lord.

Nothing in the article you’ve quoted goes against Catholic teaching and it’s disrespectful to the hierarchy to suggest otherwise without adequate foundation. I understand what he’s talking about to be a reaction to “the big wars” (although the impact of those conflicts is still much more significant in Europe than elsewhere) but instead to other conflicts (and possibly, to a lesser extent, the Cold War). Sadly, religious sectarianism and zealotry (undoubtedly influenced by politics) has been responsible for more than a small amount of conflict throughout human history. That’s not to ignore other, more substantial causes but the difference is of course that we’re called to be better!


Quite right, and one reason is that they are guiding their own flock, that is, Germans, not Americans or Africans, etc., and maybe, just maybe, the German bishops know the German people best. As always, I leave the matter in the bishops’ (or cardinals’) annointed and capable hands.


I tend to be wary of machine-generated translations, especially in contexts with precise or technical jargon that employs particular and unique terms. I’m especially wary of drawing alarmist conclusions from such translations. YMMV. :man_shrugging:


We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:16-19

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Well, they sure think they are extremely important.

The Germans are apparently creating an English Language news service to “objectively” cover Catholic News from Germany… :roll_eyes:

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Agreed. Jut as there is a difference between a child avoiding doing whatever the parents forbid, and lives in daily fear of the retaliation of those parents, and a child who loves those parents and has achieved the understanding of why there are rules. Blind obedience is still obedience, but is immature; obedience directed by understanding is maturity.

So does the Church want immature Catholics, who primarily see life as “what I did not do wrong”, or mature Catholics who seek to follow Christ’s commands with fervor and love?

Hell is not the result of “making a mistake”; it is a choice freely made. God is not some terrible judge “sending” us to hell’ God is a loving judge whom we can choose to reject intentionally, choosing hell instead.


We might also keep in mind that it is easy, if we disagree with some vocal bishops, to casually make the assumption that “all the bishops are like those vocal ones”.

Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Mueller are both German, as I recall.


At least when people post it here they won’t have to rely on auto translate anymore.


Isn’t there also a large section of Germany that is pretty traditional? Bavaria, right? And most of the Catholics in Germany are there?

I have never been there; as luck would have it, I served in the Southeast Orient instead of Europe, and have not had the privilege of touring there.

However, it is my understanding that they, like most other countries, have their liberal elements and their conservative ones, and From what little I have heard, I think you are correct.

Then, again, there is Holland/Netherlands from which most of my relatives emigrated. I have heard little, if anything of a conservative element there… :flushed:

I’ve been to Mass in the Netherlands a couple times, but since it was all in Dutch I have no idea whether conservative or liberal things were going on. They have some wonderful, beautiful old churches that I think helped bring me back to the faith when I was not doing so well with it. Seemed to be mostly older people attending.

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