To say that the polarization in the Church has gone on steroids since the election of Pope Francis would be an understatement. For the most part this polarization has affected more the intelligentsia of the Church and her nerds not so much rank and file Catholics who have real lives to live in the real world.
German Father Karl-Heinz Menke, recently appointed to the International Theological Committee said the following as reported by Praytell:
One must admit that the Church is polarized... There is tension between those who wish to adapt to modernity and those who have more conservative tendencies. It is found in the bishops’ conference(s). This internecine battle has made its way right into the Vatican.
(My comment: the theological polarization at the Vatican, while perhaps always there, is more pronounced than ever under Pope Francis.)
Then the German theologian goes on to say the obvious:
I have the impression that there are only a few divorced and remarried people in our communities who wish to live a church life. And those who want this have found a path for themselves. I have never heard of a pastor who turns someone away at the communion rail.
(My comment: For the most part, I think this is true and thus I wonder why Pope Francis through his mouthpiece Cardinal Kasper has focused so much attention on this subject which only applies to a very, very small percentage of Catholics. And for the most part divorced and remarried Catholics are going to Holy Communion and many parishes have them as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion with Bishops' Pastoral Centers in a "don't ask; don't tell mode." I think most pastors today treat adult Catholics as adults and if they make decisions against moral law then they will have to face the music themselves before God. Interesting though, he uses the term communion rail.)
Then the German theologian continues with a ludicrous recommendation that will only continue the progressive slide of the Catholic Church into annihilation similar to all liberal Protestant denominations especially the Anglican/Episcopal Church :
I’ll name another topic for you: we keep acting as if we’re still a church of the whole population. At Confirmation, for example, the bishop receives the promises of the youth that they will be models of faith. But certainly 90 percent of them have utterly no intention of keeping this promise – one sees that they do not observe the law to go to church on Sundays. The official teaching and reality have spun free of each other.(My comment: To the above accurate evaluation, I must ask why Fr. Menke makes no observation on those Catholic communities that experience the opposite, where 90% are faithful or at least strive to be faithful, such as those in traditionalist communities, those in the various movements, especially those in Europe and the charismatic movements here in the USA. It appears that only the truly traditional and faithful (orthodox, true teachings) are truly following what the Church teaches, the progressive or heterodox (false teachings) merely see the Church as a non-governmental organization (NGO) and could care less about personal morality and doctrine as it concerns 99% of the Church's teachings. They embrace the 1% dealing with the poor.)
Menke hopes that the International Theological Commission will take up such issues. Speaking of topics such as sexual ethics he remarked,
Long term, it can’t continue that we teach something that is ignored by 90% and more of the grass-roots.
It’s not an “either/or.” It is just as false to adapt to the zeitgeist as it is to work toward a ghetto Catholicism in which those remaining think of themselves as the elite believers. A healthy middle way would be important.
The church must reflect upon how much agreement with the ideal to demand from the individual believer in order be considered a full member, or perhaps some sort of partial member. Whoever cannot, or cannot yet fully identify with the confession of faith of the local bishop and the pope, is to be considered precisely as such. Those who disagree should not separate themselves. Any further hierarchicalization would be disastrous.My final comments: The true disaster for the Church is the recovery of the 1970's progressive mentality that Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict fought so hard to overcome. To see this mentality return like reoccurring infection is hard to fathom for this 1970's trained priest. And that the solutions of the progressives (heterodox) of that 1970's period that caused a catastrophic decline in the Catholic Church are being put forward to create an even more serious situation today.
The smoke of Satan has returned and a good pre-Vatican II major exorcism needs to be accomplished on the Church universal at this period.
As for those who don't agree with the Church's teachings and live moral lives that contradict natural law and the moral teachings of the Church, they should indeed come to Church but they shouldn't be receiving Holy Communion. These are the partial members of the Church, those in a state of unrepentant mortal sin. Only they can return to being full members and thus receiving Holy Communion by repentance and confession and penance. We've had this solution now for about 2000 years.
I wonder if this theologian is one the "intellectuals" of the Church that Pope Francis so marginalizes in his talks as causing such discord in the Church?