Requiem for a German Abbey

OCTOBER 27, 2017

After nearly nine centuries of Cistercian presence in Himmerod, in Rhineland-Palatinate, there are only six monks left in 2017. The fate of the abbey’s community has just been sealed by the decision of the congregation’s chapter to dissolve it.

“The precarious financial situation and especially the small number of monks played a key role in the painful decision,” declared Fr. Johannes, superior of the congregation of Mehrerau, a branch of the Cistercian order, in the columns of the October 15, 2017 issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

The abbey of Our Lady of Himmerod was founded in 1134 in Rhineland-Palatinate, in the Eifel Valley. That year, twelve monks, led by Randulf, left Clairvaux. St. Bernard, the founder of the Cistercian order, sent them to found a monastery. A Romanesque basilica was built a few years later on the model of Clairvaux, in the form of a cross with a main nave divided into two parts: one for the monks, the other for the faithful.

Subjected to the vicissitudes of time, the building was replaced by a new church, built in the Baroque style and consecrated in 1751. But the new building was secularized in 1802. Demolished little by little, the abbey came to serve as a stone quarry. The monastery and church began to be rebuilt on the 17th-century foundation in 1925. This second architectural and spiritual rebirth of Himmerod was directed by Vitus Recke, abbot from 1937 to 1959.

For several years, the monks of Himmerod had been simply maintaining their presence without any new arrivals, despite the springtime of the Church announced by the Second Vatican Council. A decision had to be made. The Cistercians will leave. The ownership of the monastery will soon be transferred to the diocese of Treves on whose territory it is situated, and the religious will choose their new residence.

Will there be a third rebirth for Our Lady of Himmerod? In any case, the closing of the abbey is yet another sign of the spiritual and religious decline in all of Europe. What are the causes? Doubtless the secularization of modern societies can be blamed. Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote in 2015 in his book-interview God or Nothing: “Western man seems to have made up his mind; he has liberated himself from God; he lives without God…. God no longer interests anyone. But the death of God results in the burial of good, beauty, love and truth; if the source no longer flows, even if that water is transformed by the mud of indifference, man collapses”.

Another cause is the crisis in the Church, whose reformed liturgy after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) provoked a loss of the Faith and a collapse of Christian life. The heterodox novelties, the doctrinal and moral relativism that has spread – even if it continues to be denounced –, religious indifference, and modern practice far from the meaning of the Cross and of sacrifice could not but empty the seminaries and novitiates. For Catholic society to be reborn, the Church needs to return to her tradition. Omnia instaurare in Christo!





Germany: Catholic Church Laments Continued Decline in Number of Faithful

OCTOBER 17, 2009
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of the German Bishops Conference

On September 21 in Bonn, the German Bishops Conference announced that 121,155 Catholics left the Church in 2008.

This rise in the number of people leaving the Church follows the trend of recent years: 84,389 in 2006 and then 93,667 in 2007.

The statistics show a simultaneous fall in the number of new entries into the Church and of persons returning to the Church. In 2008 returns to the Church totaled 9,546, compared with 10,207 in 2007 and 10,823 in 2006. At the same time, the number of new entries fell to 4,388 in 2008 compared with 4,881 in the previous year.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of the German Bishops Conference and the archbishop of Freiburg im Breisgau, described the statistics as “distressing”. He declared himself unable to explain the reasons for them. This phenomenon needs to be analyzed, he said. {What a stupid thing to say !!!  The Archbishop is not stupid, yet, under the influence of progressivism he has become blind to the consequences of the progressive/liberal policies of the German Episcopal Conference.  Truly what Our Lord said is being realized, “I have come so that the blind may see and so that those who say ‘I see’ will become blind.”  Abyssum}

These figures obviously have an effect on the taxes collected by the Church in Germany. The prelate anticipated a 10% fall in revenue.

Thus, the Catholic Church had 25.18 million faithful in 2008, that is, 280,000 fewer members than in the previous year. In the same period, the number of parishes and chaplaincies fell from 12,265 to 12,080. Last year, 48,841 couples were married in the Church, which is 552 fewer than in 2007. The number of religious funerals rose by 5,300 to attain 256,735.

The Society of St. Pius X gave an explanation for the increase in the number of people leaving the Church in Germany. Their district superior, Fr. Franz Schmidberger, condemned “the terrible banality of the faith, the low profile of the Church in Germany, the aggressive advance of secularism and the lack of missionary zeal in large parts of the hierarchy”. In fact, “Catholics with strong faith do not turn their back on the Church during periods of economic and financial crisis,” he said in a message issued on September 24. But, “no bishop in Germany has come up with a program for winning back those who no longer practice or have left the Church, nor organized any diocesan catechesis in accordance with the true Faith. Duplicity and cowardice in place of a new evangelization are the order of the day. Thus the process of erosion will continue,” explained Fr. Schmidberger.

Furthermore, during their autumn meeting at Fulda, the German Bishops Conference spent an entire day looking into its commitment to Islam.  {The Conference is committing  suicide !!! Abyssum}

On September 25 Archbishop Zollitsch said that he was in favor of training German-speaking Islamic teachers for work in the religious domain. This would constitute an important phase with regard to the integration of Muslims and interreligious harmony in the Federal Republic, said the President of the Bishops Conference. Such an initiative would also help to combat the use of religion for political or economic interests, he added, while regretting that at an international level, there continued to be painful barriers to dialogue. For it is not rare to see this exchange refused to Christians, he admitted, mentioning Turkey and some African countries.

In spite of everything the German prelate felt that the Church must make sure that there were sufficient competent speakers available in the domain of interreligious dialogue.

{Insanity !!!  Abyssum}

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. The Devil is tricking many people, including Priests, Bishops, Cardinals. People need to wake up and see. When the Churches close, and when the Pews empty out, and God goes away, what takes its place? The Holy Spirit abounds yet they close him out and replace him with Pagan ways in many places. The Archbishop should Analyze what is happening using prayer, and correct discernment. Even though I struggle with my prayer life, it helps overcome Satan’s Grip on this world and his confusion. Dare I say, perhaps the German Conference should look up to a well respected German- Benedict XVI! Let us pray for all the clergy and people who are lost and do not know the way and forgive them for they know not what they do.

  2. I cannot “like” this – it’s much too sad. Praying & praying for the Church, the conversion of the hierarchy and the salvation of all. 🙏🏼✝💜 Our Lady of Fatima, we need you, hear our prayers.
    Let your Immaculate Heart triumph. Amen 🙏🏼🌹✝
    katey in OR

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