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Bishop Stephan Ackermann of the Diocese of Trier  These Last Days News - June 19, 2017

Oldest German Diocese to Close 96% of Parishes...

"You will continue, My children, to pray for your bishops. It is through misdirection and loss of grace, because of too few prayers, that they now have set themselves into the darkness.
     "A church in darkness wears a band of death about it. Remember that, My pastors. A church in darkness shall close its doors! But My Church shall not be extinct or destroyed, for the church of man cannot transcend the spirit."
- Jesus, April 17, 1976

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OnePeterFive.com reported on June 16, 2017:

by Steve Skojec

Bishop Stephan Ackermann of the Diocese of Trier, in Germany, has announced that the diocese will be closing almost all of its parishes. From Gloria.tv:

Trier diocese, the oldest in Germany, will dissolve its 903 parishes and reduce them to 35, liberal Bishop Stephan Ackermann (54) explained on Friday during an information meeting of the diocese in Trier. He spoke of a “crisis”.

Ackermann admitted that the new parishes will have nothing in common with the traditional ones “but the name”. Trier is the birthplace of Karl Marx.

A Feature, Not a Bug

For most Catholics in the English-speaking world, there is a generalized knowledge of Germany’s difficulties with the faith. Their role in the liberalization that took place at the Second Vatican Council inspired the title of Fr. Ralph Wiltgen’s famous book, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber. Several German prelates were involved in the so-called Sankt Gallen Mafia, a group alleged to have meddled in the last two papal elections with the aim of electing a pope who would progressively “reform” the Church. And as 1P5’s Maike Hickson reported earlier this month, two German dioceses (Osnabrück and Mainz) will not ordain any priests this year. These problems are just to name a few.

But the specifics of the situation in Trier are worth noting as we evaluate this stunning liquidation of the Catholic Church there.

First, Trier is not just the oldest Catholic diocese in Germany and the birthplace of Karl Marx, it was also, until recently, the diocesan see of Cardinal Reinhardt Marx, head of the German bishops’ conference and one of the closest advisers to Pope Francis. Marx is known, among other things, for rejecting the dubia, supporting Holy Communion for the “remarried”, for pushing the discussion forward on revisiting priestly celibacy, and for stating publicly that the Catholic Church needs to apologize to homosexuals “because we’ve done a lot to marginalize [them].”

From his time as Bishop of Trier a decade ago, Marx has been accused of negligence in the handling of a particular clerical sexual abuse case, an accusation that he has just recently admitted is true.

Since 2009, Bishop Stephan Ackerman has been at the helm of the diocese, following the translation of Reinhard Marx to become Archbishop of Munich and Freising. (It should be noted that Munich, now under the care of Marx, had only 1 new seminarian last year, with a total of 37 seminarians in various stages of formation to serve a diocese of 1.7 million Catholics.)

Ackermann made waves in 2014 when he said, following a review of the surveys sent out in advance of the Synod on the Family, that the responses

showed “quite clearly” that for the majority of the faithful the church’s teaching on moral sexuality was “repressive” and “remote from life.” Declaring a second marriage after a divorce a perpetual mortal sin, and under no circumstances allowing remarried divorced people ever to receive the Sacraments, was not helpful, he said and added, “We bishops will have to make suggestions here. We must strengthen people’s sense of responsibility and then respect their decisions of conscience.”

It was also no longer tenable to declare that every kind of cohabitation before marriage was a grievous sin, and “the difference between natural and artificial birth control is somehow artificial. No one understands it I fear,” Ackermann said.

As far as homosexual relationships were concerned, the church would have to appeal to people’s sense of responsibility, he continued. “The Christian concept of the human being emanates from the polarity of the sexes but we cannot simply say homosexuality is unnatural,” he explained. While the church must “hold fast” to the uniqueness of marriage between a man and a woman, it could not just ignore registered same-sex unions where the couples had promised to be faithful to and responsible for one another.

It was a theme he repeated in 2015 as the German bishops voted to “allow Church employees to publicly defy Catholic teaching”, as reported by Maike Hickson at the time in an article for LifeSiteNews.

Bishop Ackermann made the news again when he refused to allow a Traditional Requiem Mass for Father Adolf Mohr, an 86-year-old priest of the diocese who had died of cancer and expressly asked for his funeral to be held in the old rite in his will. Ackermann eventually relented after backlash, originating mostly on the Internet, turned public sentiment against him.

It is ironic to see a Bishop lamenting a “crisis” in his languishing diocese when he has demonstrated little to no interest in upholding the Catholic Faith.

Does he believe that in an environment where the people who come to Mass are given the same moral framework as they are in the surrounding, secular culture, that they will be drawn into the life of the Faith? For what reason would such people make sacrifices, follow moral precepts (when they are discouraged from doing so by their shepherd), or in any way live their Catholicism?

Of course, from a business standpoint, it makes sense to close these parishes, especially if the people stay “on the books” as Catholics and continue to pay Germany’s rather steep (8 or 9 percent of total income tax) Church Tax, which keeps the German Catholic Church flush with cash even as it is hollowed out from within. Why keep such liabilities on your ledger sheet if you can sell them at a profit but still keep the faithful on the hook with a feel-good substitute for Catholicism that demands nothing of them and affirms them in their sin?

For the official Catholic Church in Germany, the rush to the bottom seems as though it can’t come fast enough. And yet good, orthodox Catholics remain there, desperate for a way to truly worship God and live their faith. May God grant them consolation and hope amidst this bitter trial.

And what does Bishop Ackermann mean when he says “that the new parishes will have nothing in common with the traditional ones ‘but the name’.”? I thought that was already the case. If he has something even further from real Catholicism in mind, I shudder to think what it might be.

UPDATE – 6/16/17: Some additional information has come in since my original report, which was based on the very short story from Gloria.tv. In the emails I received, there were links to two German sources: both an FAQ at the Diocese of Trier, and a story about the parish closings in Südwestrundfunk (SWR), a public broadcasting company in Southwest Germany. Neither of these sources seem to make what is happening entirely clear, but the picture that emerges for the moment is less one of parish closings and more of parish consolidation. The SWR report indicates that “The proposed draft stipulates that instead of the 887 parishes, which are already included in 172 parishes, from the beginning of 2020, there will be only 35 large parishes. These would then comprise between about 16,000 and about 77,000 believers.” Vicar General of the Trier Diocese Ulrich Graf von Plettenberg said that the parish of the future will be a “network with many nodal points” in which the administrative tasks will be handled centrally. It remains uncertain, therefore, how many of the parish buildings will actually be closed down and/or liquidated in an effort to centralize administrative tasks. With a shortage of priests and staff, it seems unlikely that all of the physical property of the diocese can be maintained in such an effort, but time will tell what the final result will look like.

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"When one becomes blind of spirit, you walk then in darkness. A house and a church in darkness, My children, wears a band of death about it! A church that falls into heresy and continued error will close its doors.
     "I have asked you, My suffering little children, to remain in your parish churches. Pray and be an example. Do not abandon My Son's Houses in your district. For while the doors are open--and My Son is the door though thieves have entered, and robbers--My Son is the door, and if you come through that door you will be received with the light."
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THE  GREAT  APOSTASY
"Do not accept the fallacy that any man upon earth and mankind are gods. There is but one God. And no man shall set himself above his Master. O My children, cannot you recognize the signs of your times? The great apostasy is upon you!" - Our Lady, December 7, 1976 
USING  RANK  TO  DESTROY
"Those who have the highest places in My Son's Church are now using their rank to destroy the truth. You cannot build on the carnal nature of mankind, the fallen nature of mankind.
     "You must now, My children, read the direction given you by Saint John. He was given the prophecy of your times. You are in those days, My children, the days of apostasy." - Our Lady, October 6, 1975 
THE  SWORD
"Mankind shall feel a sword upon his world. The Eternal Father has endured your apostasy, your arrogance, your heresy much too long! As an errant and ungrateful generation given to sin and abominations of the flesh, you shall be forced to your knees by trial." - St. Michael, July 15, 1975 
TRAITORS
O ye of little faith, pride and arrogance in worldly knowledge! But you have closed the door to My sheep! Scattered them, become traitors to the Seat of Peter! I say unto you: You cannot understand, with all of your knowledge and your pride, the ways of the Eternal Father! There is a plan for each and every one of you in Heaven. You shall receive a just punishment for your arrogance, your apostasy, and your destruction of souls." - Jesus, October 6, 1978 
UNHOLINESS,  PAGANISM,  IMPURITY
"For I say unto you now, all bishops and cardinals, all that is rotten will fall. You consort with the enemies of your God for money and power, and they are waiting to pick your bones clean. You will not bring about a conversion of those who are presently apostate by compromising your Faith or changing the construction of the exterior lines of My Church; and by that I mean the physical appearance and the manner in which you conduct the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
     "Many are giving My Body in a manner that can only be called blasphemy. Many are accepting My Body in the Eucharist in a manner that defames the Divinity, and also promotes unholiness, paganism, and impurity of heart and actions during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." - Jesus, May 26, 1979 
TURNED  AWAY
"Parents, protect your homes and your children. Give them a firm foundation of faith, for there will be many tears and gnashing of teeth in woe set upon the world by the agents of hell. Many catastrophes of nature, accidents that are not accidents, murders, robberies, fornication, immorality, and apostasy. These, My children, are the fruits of a generation that has turned away from their God." - Jesus, June 10, 1978 
MUCH  DISCORD
"Do you understand Me, My children?  I ask you not to abandon My Son's Church in the crisis of Faith* now, but to keep the Bark of Peter afloat.  I ask you not to remain silent when you meet with wrongdoing, but to speak out and act to correct a situation that is offensive to your God and destructive to your soul." - Our Lady, November 20, 1979 
* "We are at a moment of a crisis of the Faith, a crisis which has repercussions indeed on other domains, on our whole religious, moral and social life." (Pope Paul VI, Discourse of June 29, 1971, Documentation catholique, 1971, col. 706). 
STAY  AND  FIGHT
"My children, you will all recognize the faces of evil.  Satan has entered into the highest ranks of My Church.  Pray now for your priests:  your bishops, your cardinals, your clergy.  Many prayers are needed, for many are on, now, the road to perdition and taking many others with them.
     "My children, do not cast aside your sacramentals.  They are your armor in the days ahead.  Do not desert My Church.  Do not ignore it by the man who has stood there in ignorance or in pride and changed it until it will almost be unrecognizable.  I am still with you, My children.  Do not leave.  You must stay and fight.  In this manner, My children, shall the sheep be separated from the goats.  It is a form of cleansing." - Jesus, July 15, 1977 
THE  HIGHEST  PLACES
"Go forward, My child, now, and bring this message to the world: satan has entered into the House of God. He rules now from the highest places. The world and the Church of God is in deep darkness. Those who are in command—many have fallen away. Pray, My children, much, for with your prayers and sacrifices they, too, can be recovered." - Our Lady, April 13, 1974

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Sister Lucy talked about the "diabolical disorientation" in the Church as 1972 approached
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