Saturday, September 24, 2022

Cardinal Müller on Papal Ministry

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, granted an interview to InfoVaticana, affirming that the Pope does not have the authority to change the teaching of the Church.

The cardinal responded with candor to questions of that news agency, entering fully into the questions raised about the recent consistory of cardinals held in Rome at the end of August and about the dramatic situation that the Church is experiencing in Germany.

Cardinal Müller had just finished preaching spiritual exercises to more than 400 priests in Poland. Müller will visit Spain next October. On October 25th he will participate in a conference in Madrid on “John Paul II and the New Evangelization. Source of Moral and Spiritual Renewal."

Interview with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Q-A few weeks ago you participated in the Consistory of the Cardinals in Rome, with what feelings did you conclude the work at that time?
A-First of all, I thanked the Holy Father for reconvening a consistory after a pause of many years so that the cardinals could discuss with him the situation of the Church in today's world. But the topic was limited to the discussion of the already published document Praedicate Evangelium on the reform of the curia and on the Holy Year 2025.

Q-There are some cardinals who regret not having been able to speak as much as they would have liked. Was there an opportunity for the cardinals to express their concerns to the pope?
A- There was no opportunity to discuss the burning issues, for example, about the frontal attack on the Christian image of man by the ideologies of posthumanism and gender madness or about the crisis of the Church in Europe (there are no priestly vocations, churches are empty on Sundays, etc.). Critical contributions referred to the theory of the papacy as an unlimited power of divine right over the entire Church, as if the pope were a Deus in terris. The newly appointed Cardinal Ghirlanda, SJ, as the pope's top adviser on curial reform, holds the view that everything popes have said or done in the course of church history is either dogma or law, de jure divine. This contradicts the entire Catholic tradition, and especially Vatican II, that bishops and priests only have authority to perform sacramental acts, while the pope has exclusive possession of all jurisdiction, which he can delegate at will to clerics or laity. Indeed, in the sacrament of Holy Orders, Christ confers on the bishop (or priest) the authority to preach, sanctify, and govern (even to administer justice). The pope does not confer jurisdiction on a bishop, but only assigns a specific diocese to a bishop, who is not a representative of the papacy, but of Jesus Christ (Lumen Gentium 27). In an ecumenical council, the consecrated bishops exercise their part in the jurisdiction of the universal episcopate not as delegates of the pope, but by virtue of the authority conferred on them by Christ. The theory of the pope as autocrat, borrowed from 19th century Jesuit theology, not only contradicts the Second Vatican Council, but undermines the credibility of the Church with this caricature of the Petrine ministry. The promise of an ecumenical mediation of the Catholic doctrine of the Pope (cf. Encyclical of John Paul II Ut unum sint, of 1995) as "perpetual and visible principle of the unity of the Church in the truth of Christ" (cf. Lumen gentium 18; 23) becomes frankly ridiculous.

Q- What issues would you highlight as currently of greatest importance in the Vatican?
R-By “Vatican” we understand the accidental institutions of the Holy See. But I speak here of the ministry of the Roman Church, that is, of the pope with the College of Cardinals (and the institutions of the Roman curia) to the communion and unity of all the local Churches in the truth of divine revelation and the sacramental mission to lead all men to the knowledge of Christ, the Son of God and the only mediator of salvation.

Q- A somewhat controversial question: why is there more and more talk in the Church about topics such as ecology, the planet or other topics, and less about Jesus Christ and his teachings?
R-In a world in which the meaning and goal of the human being are materially limited to temporary and transitory contents (such as the acquisition of power, prestige, money, luxury, pleasurable satisfaction), it is easier to become interesting as an agent of this program of a «New World Order without God» (according to capitalist or communist readings). "For what good will it be for a man to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul?" (Mt 16,26). If we want to be disciples of Jesus, we must also obey his word: "Seek rather his kingdom, and the rest will be given to you" (Lk 12:31). There is no strict opposition between the eternal/spiritual goods and the temporal/perishable necessities of life. But first we ask God, our Father, that his Kingdom come and that his holy Will be done in heaven as it is on earth. And we also ask for daily bread, the forgiveness of our sins as we also forgive those who offend us, and salvation from all the evils derived from our sinful separation from God, as the origin and goal of every human being.

In his succession of Saint Peter, the Pope daily unites the whole Church in the confession of Jesus: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16). And Christ builds his Church on Peter, the rock, giving him and the bishops the authority to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, administer the Sacraments and, as good shepherds, lead the flock of Christ to the good pasture of the Word and of grace.

Q- The whole Church follows with attention and concern the steps of the German Synodal Path. What do you think of the decisions of the IV Assembly of the German Synodal Path?
R-In theatrical language, one would not know exactly whether to speak of tragedy or comedy with respect to this event. All the texts, very abundant but not very deep, do not deal with the renewal of Catholics in Christ, but with a surrender to a world without God. The only theme among all the themes is sexuality. However, it is not understood as the gift of God granted to human beings as created persons (in our masculine and feminine nature), from which derives the responsibility to participate as father and mother in the work of God's Creation and the universal will of salvation for one's own offspring, but as a kind of drug to numb the basic nihilistic feeling with the maximum satisfaction of pleasure.

Q-Both Cardinal Marx and Georg Bätzing supported the texts that asked the pope for a change in sexual morality, the ordination of women and the vision of homosexuality, what do you think?
A- There are two errors in this that only the theologically ignorant can make: 1) the pope has no authority to change the teaching of the Church, which is based on God's revelation. By doing so, he would exalt himself as a man above God. 2) the apostles can only teach and order what Jesus commanded them to teach (Mt 28:19). It is precisely the bishops, and their successors, who are called to the "teaching of the apostles" (Acts 2,42) in Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the accurate doctrinal definitions of previous papal ex cathedra decisions or of ecumenical councils. “The Roman Pontiff and the Bishops […] do not accept any new public revelation as belonging to the divine deposit of faith” (Lumen gentium 25; cf. Dei verbum 10).

Q-Have you had the opportunity to speak with any of the German bishops who hold these positions?

R-According to the logic of power, which shuns the truth like the devil does holy water, it makes no sense for them to talk to the former prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. But even Cardinal Kasper, who was previously celebrated as an ally in the question of the communion of the divorced and remarried, is silenced by them after his statements critical of the synodal path.

Q-What do you think is the reason for trying to reform the Church by changing all the morals, principles, teachings and traditions?
A-Many well-paid officials in the "German Church" company establishment (as the largest employer in Germany) suffer from the fact that the Church's teaching on marriage and the 6th and 9th commandments of the Decalogue contradict mainstream belief of society from the sexual revolution of 1968. They cannot bear the contradiction with the will of God in their personal behavior and the derisive comments of their contemporaries about the «Catholic world of faith and morals left behind in the Middle Ages». That is why they also want to project themselves as modern and follow the forefront of the science of psychology and sociology. They want to be there and not be seen as outsiders (as the "sordid son of the nation," as the Bishop of Aachen lamented).

Q- Do you think that the Church in Germany runs the risk of starting a schism with Rome?
R-In their blind arrogance, they do not think of division, but of taking over the universal Church. Germany is too small for them to exercise their governing ideology. They claim a leading role in the universal Church. It is about nothing less than pleasing the whole world with its wisdom and freeing backward and uneducated Catholics and their bishops from other countries, including the pope, from the burden of divine revelation and the Commandments. Its goal is the transformation of the Church of the Triune God into a worldly welfare organization (NGO). Then we would have finally arrived at the "religion of universal brotherhood", that is, at a religion without the God of revelation in Christ, without a Truth that reaches beyond finite reason, without Dogmas and Sacraments as necessary means of Grace necessary for salvation, as described by the great Russian philosopher of religion Vladimir Soloviev in his writing A Brief History of the Antichrist (1899). The world ruler of universal philanthropy without God is contradicted here by Pope Peter II, who launches the following confession to the Antichrist who has installed himself on the throne of God: «Our only Lord is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God».

Q-What do you think the future will hold for the Catholic Church at a universal level?
R-When one sees the megalomania of our politicians and ideologues from Beijing to Moscow and from Brussels to Washington, one cannot expect much good for the future of humanity. We can only expect a true future for every human being in life and in death from God, who out of love gave his Son for the salvation of the world (cf. Jn 3:16). In a world in which men presume to be God, to create and redeem themselves (cf. the main counselor of the New World Order: Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus), Christians only have the testimony of the Word and, if necessary, of blood, that only the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior, because he has defeated the world, its arrogance and its sin and death as the price for sin.

Only when we do not worship "the beast" from the bottomless pit (ungodliness), his statue, and his false prophet, do we attain life and dominion with Christ, which encompasses our temporal and eternal future. Because temporal and eternal death no longer has power over us (cf. Ap 20,6). We have peace of heart in the Son of God, who says to his disciples: «In the world you will have struggles; but have courage: I have overcome the world» (Jn 16,33).

Plinthos translation.

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