Catholic Church Conservation is reporting that the Chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference has denied that Christ suffered and died for our sins.

There’s video over at CathCon but it’s in German (obviously). If any of our readers speak German we’d love to have a full translation. I hope he wasn’t simply misspeaking. But the quotes I’ve seen seem pretty damaging.

Here’s CathCon on the growing controversy:

For the Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference who has fallen away from the Catholic Faith, the crucifixion of Christ is just a psychological support in suffering. On Holy Saturday, the Archbishop of Freiburg and head of the German Bishops Conference, Msgr. Robert Zollitsch, denied the Expiatory Death of Christ.

Archbishop Zollitsch said this in an interview with Meinhard Schmidt-Degenhard on the program “Horizente” of the German TV station ‘Hessischer Rundfunk’,

Christ was “did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat” – said the archbishop.

The Saviour had simply expressed “solidarity” with the suffering of the people even to death

He had shown that even suffering and pain were taken up by God. According to Mons. Zollitsch “that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity,” that he went so far that he suffered all “with” me.

Schmidt-Degenhard added after this: “You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this? ”

Archbishop Zollitsch confirmed his fall from the Catholic faith with a clear “no”:

God had given “his own son in solidarity with us unto this last death agony” to show: So much are you worth to me, I go with you, and I am totally with you in every situation.”

Finally, the archbishop said one’s own sins were responsible that Christ “has become so involved with me”. (Cathcon- he seems to row back a tiny way here, but nothing like as far as his original denial went).

“He has become involved with me out of solidarity – from free will.”

Christ had “taken up what I have been blamed for, including the evil that I have caused, and also to take it back into the world of God and hence to show me the way out of sin, guilt and from death to life.”

This certainly seems troubling. I would clearly want to look into this further but here’s some facts about Msgr. Zollitsch according to Wikipedia:

He has expressed his belief that priestly celibacy should be voluntary rather than law and that it is not “theologically necessary”[3], as well as supporting children’s day-care nurseries as opposed to stay-at-home mothers, and the establishment of legal guidelines for homosexual marriages by the German Church.

Zollitsch accepts civil unions by states but is against Same-sex marriage. [4]

For more, check out Notes on The Culture Wars and CathCon.