Roger Lenaers, a Jesuit pastor in the diocese of Innsbruck, is busy preaching his version of atheist Christianity.

„Wie sieht dann dieses moderne und zwar zugleich christliche Gottesbild aus? Es muss atheistisch sein und daher eine Absage enthalten an alles, was mit dem Gott-in-der-Höhe zu tun hat. Und das ist kein leichtes Unternehmen, denn das Glaubensbekenntnis und die Bibel und die Liturgie und die ganze Moral und die ganze Kirchengeschichte sind voll von Gott-in-der-Höhe”, meint er.

What does this modern and at the same time Christian image of God look like? It must be atheist and therefore contain a denial of everything that has to do with God-on-High. And that is no easy task, because the profession of faith  and the Bible and the liturgy and all of morality and the whole history of the church is full of God-on-High, he said.

He wants make it clear that this is to simply an extreme statement of apophatic theology, but a rejection of everything Christianity and Judaism have ever said about God:

“Wenn die Bibel dann nicht mehr als Wort Gottes gelten kann, ist sie Menschenwort und ist sie nicht länger unantastbar, unfehlbar”, meint er schließlich.

„When the Bible can no more be valued as the Word of God, it is a human word and is no longer  sacrosanct, infallible,” he said in conclusion. 
Weder der Papst noch die Bischöfe können sich für den Jesuiten übrigens “Wortführer Gottes” nennen. Auch ihre Worte sind nur “Menschenworte, ohne aus sich bindende Kraft zu haben”. Ihr Lehramt sei “eine Illusion”.

Weder der Papst noch die Bischöfe können sich für den Jesuiten übrigens “Wortführer Gottes” nennen. Auch ihre Worte sind nur “Menschenworte, ohne aus sich bindende Kraft zu haben”. Ihr Lehramt sei “eine Illusion”.




 Neither the Pope nor the bishops can by the way be called for the Jesuits as the   “spokesmen of God.” All their words are only “human words, without any binding power in themselves.” Their teaching office is “an illusion.”

I hope that this belief (or rather unbelief) is uncommon even among the Jesuits, although my optimism may be mistaken.

Lenaers’ preaching is the sort of thing that drives believing Catholics into joining schismatic groups like the Society of Pius X.

A self-proclaimed atheist is a Jesuit and a pastor of a church, a priest in good standing in the Roman Catholic Church, but those who want to have the Tridentine liturgy are beyond the pale and are driven in schism.

The most charitable interpretation is that the good Jesuit is just stupid and thinks that metaphors are meant to be taken literally – “Jesus can’t be the Lamb of God; he doesn’t have four feet and wool, so we can’t believe in him!” Or perhaps Linaers is like the Soviet cosmonaut who came back to earth and reported that he didn’t see God in the sky, and that therefore God must not exist.

And as to the hierarchy’s toleration of Christian atheism – the Jesuits are influential, and will remain influential long after they have given up the last vestiges of Christianity.


Lenaers is active in the group Wir Sind Kirche, and even some of their members express doubts about  things that he has said, such as

Man kann die Botschaften, die sie enthalten (die mythologischen Formulierungen unseres Traditionsgutes: Jesus als Sohn Gottes, Jungfrauengeburt, Auferstehung, Himmelfahrt, Anm.MH), herausschälen und sie so formulieren, dass sie nicht mehr kollidieren mit der richtigen Grundintention der Modernität, dass es keine übernatürliche Welt gibt.“

One can dig out the message that these (the mythological formulations of our tradition heritage: Jesus as the Son of God, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and so forth) contain and formulate them so that they no longer collide with the correct fundamental intention of modernity, that there exists no supernatural world.

Lenaers, or Bultmann-Light, suffers from the fundamental narcissism of German intellectuals who have not noticed that about 99% of the world has a strong sense that the supernatural realm exists, and that Pentecostalism is the fastest growing form of Christianity. Someone should tell Lenaers that Modern Man does not equal German University Professor.



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