The Field Which is Your Church
The Field Which is Your Church

The Field Which is Your Church

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Fr Leon Pereira contrasts true pastoral care with its false imitation.

The Nazis enforced a compulsory church-tax (Kirchensteuer) which continues to this day. In Germany in 2020 alone the tax brought in 12 billion euros. You can opt out only by defecting from the Church. But the price is you may not be employed by the Church (or in her schools or hospitals), or exercise church functions (such as being a godparent), or receive the sacraments, or be given a funeral. In everything but name, such Catholics are excommunicated. Yet the German bishops expressly permitted Communion for remarried divorcees (without an annulment), open and active homosexuals, and Protestant spouses of Catholics, so long as you pay up. The message sent out is this: not paying the Kirchensteuer is the only unforgiveable sin.

But the Lord says, ‘You cannot serve both God and Mammon’ (Matthew 6:24).

When money becomes a deciding principle, the tail will wag the dog. Lucre will dictate dogma. At a Catholic conference in Germany (Katholikentag, Münster 9-13 May 2018), comedian Eckart von Hirschhausen, a Protestant married to a Catholic, opined that since he pays Kirchensteuer, the Catholic Church had ‘better happily hand out a wafer for it, or give me back my money!’ Comedy is serious business in Germany; it’s no laughing-matter. Money, the funnyman believes, gives him the right to demand changes to the Church’s doctrine and praxis.

We see the same in the current Synodal Path (also in Germany), already denounced by members for its prearranged agenda and limitation of genuine debate. When the Path failed to achieve a two-thirds majority from the bishops, it removed the secret ballot in order to cow them into submission, and succeeded. The Path has since voted in favour of same-sex blessings, lay preaching, relaxing priestly celibacy, women’s ordination, and promoting transgenderism.

In voting for these matters, those responsible have gone into the Lord’s field and sown darnel instead of wheat. The Lord Himself declares, ‘An enemy has done this!’ (Mt 13:28). Darnel mimics wheat, as error mimics truth. The Synodal Path proposals look compassionate and Christian, but the resemblance is where it ends. The proposals fail precisely by lacking in the love they profess to offer.

Authentic Christian love offers people Christ, not a lie. The late Fr Benedict Groeschel often counselled men with same-sex attraction. He recounted:

Once, a young man who had given up the fight to live chastely and had decided to have a live-in homosexual relationship made two requests of me. He said, ‘Don’t reject me, and don’t agree with me. If you agree with me I will never get out of this.’

Who will the lay preachers be? Probably poorly-catechized, radical liberals. If, per impossibile, we were to have lay sacramental preaching, I would choose devout daily-Communicant rosary-toting grandmothers. The Synodal Path hints that it is guided by the sensus fidei in its proposals. But the clue is in the name: to have the supernatural instinct of faith you must have faith. Devout grandmothers undoubtedly have the faith. Does the Synodal Path?

During the lockdowns churchmen went beyond state (and reasonable) requirements, to shut churches and restrict sacraments. The emptiness within them was manifested, since the message they broadcast was that earthly fears trump eternal goods. When liberal and heterodox clergy teach error, they act as pimps prostituting their mother the Church, rather than as loyal sons. It isn’t surprising one such cleric went on social media recently to sneer at adoration. If all that matters is our own agenda, then of course we don’t need Jesus—not the real Jesus.

It’s incompatible to remain obese and unhealthy if you commit to a sensible diet and daily exercise. Likewise, Catholics would struggle to be heterodox and lack love if they committed themselves to conversion of heart. What if all pastoral clergy were to commit themselves daily to praying the complete rosary and making a holy hour? Does that sound simplistic? Call my bluff then. Try it. What have you got to lose? The Lord of the harvest calls for workers to enter into His work, on His terms, to do His work. Pray the Lord for good and honest men to enter His harvest. That is the way forward, Jesus Himself.

Readings: Exodus 19:2-6 | Romans 5:6-11 | Matthew 9:36-10:8

Image: St Charles Lwanga in a stained glass window depicting the Namugongo Martyrs, from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0


fr Leon Pereira is chaplain to the English-speaking pilgrims in Medjugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Comments (10)

  • Tamsin Geach

    Well said!

  • Dominic

    Thank you Fr Leon, for your preaching, and for your sacrifice and witness as a religious, of giving your life to Christ.

  • Marion

    Thank you Fr Leon. This is a powerful and I am sure for many a most disturbing homily. The pre arranged agenda and limited debate at the synod is frightening. It would seem that the Catholic Church intends or would like to follow the route of the Anglican church. {I listen a lot to Calvin Robinson and GAFCON} I remember you used to contribute to the weekly Dominican homilies I then discovered you on YouTube and remembered you once contributed; it is great to have you back againl I also listen to your YouTube ‘podcasts’. I download to listen when we are without electricity which is the norm in South Africa. Once again thank you for a brilliant homily.

  • Marianne Johnpillai

    What a very honest and challenging homily. I shared it with many priests I know. Please continue to pray for priests. We need brave and faithful ones!

  • Deacon Kenneth Bromage

    Thank you Fr. Leon. I have been following the German Bishop’s divergence from Church Teaching 0n the Synodal Path with dismay. Now that you have fully explained “Kirchensteur” in detail I find it incomprehensible that the Catholic members of the Bundestag have not had this removed from the statute book.

    God Bless your work in Medjugorje : the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor described the queues for confessionals as a miracle in themselves.

  • Catherine

    I had no idea this was happening. It’s really shocking. We must pray for an end to all that and keep ourselves true.

  • Linda Holden

    We were reading about the events in Germany from a bulletin ‘Britain needs Fatima’ that is sent out periodically.

    To get a copy which goes into the circumstances in Germany please email:

    United in prayer with Jesus and Mary

  • Alejandro Clausse

    Very sad data indeed. Although, I would like to hear what these German bishops say on their part. We should pray for Germany, who gave us great theologians, like Romano Guardini and Pope Benedict XVI.
    What was difficult for me was to find any relation of this homily to the Sunday’s Gospel …

  • Engel Gammad

    Father, thank you so much for your courage to speak the truth. Preachers of your kind are needed ever in this most dangerous time of our lives as Catholics. Will you permit me to share this homily to others who do not have access to Torch homilies? Thank you.

  • Anita Hardt, Germany

    Dear Father Leon, there is hope. Not all the bishops are disobidient. Especially the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Wölki, and his priests are faithfully connected to Rome. He is attact from various sides. His small university is named conservative and therefore the propaganda in the media is nasty. Churchtax started 1803, is much discussed, most among those, who want to undermine the influence of the churches. The synodal path is already tired and the house is build on sand. So there is hope.


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