Roman Catholic Archbishop on Christ’s Death

Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Germany stated that Christ “did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat.” (source)

Now, I realize that conservative Roman Catholics may not agree with this statement (I’d be shocked if they did, given what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about this). But come on. Doesn’t this event say something about the fallibility of your magisterium when an archbishop and top-ranking German bishop (no, not the one in the Vatican – yet) can say something like this?

I could ask: who are you going to believe, a high-ranking official in your church or your own private judgment, but I know that for a lot of my Roman Catholic readers they will exercise their private judgment and reject the public teaching of this important bishop within their church.

Now, if I could only make them see that they need not to stop there, but to put the teachings of Catholicism in Trent and Vatican I to the test of Scripture. After all, it is Scripture that is infallible, not bishops (even very significant bishops).


N.B. Yes, this archbishop is a notorious liberal. Yes, the link I have posted above is from a Roman Catholic blog that criticizes this archbishop. No, I don’t think all Roman Catholics hold to this Archbishop’s position. Yes, he is a Roman Catholic and – as between you and him (with very few exceptions out of the claimed 1 billion members of Catholicism), he has more authority to proclaim the teachings of “the Church” (i.e. his and your church). Yes, the bottom line (which you have figured out, perhaps?) is that having ecclesiastical authority doesn’t lead one to correct doctrines. What is the one thing you can have absolute assurance about? Scripture, because it is not the product of men but of God: it is theopneustos (θεοπνευστος).

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