Cardinal Müller comes out fighting on all fronts

The blessing of rainbow couples is heresy. The Belgian bishops cannot legitimise it by referring to alleged statements by the Pope. Even if he had said so, it is not within his competence to change Revelation". "The aim of the German Synodal Path is to become the locomotive of the universal Church". "To attack the ancient rite is absurd". "The Roman Curia is not the Vatican State, its secularisation is a theological error". Cardinal Müller speaks, on the occasion of the release of his book The Pope. Ministry and Mission.

It is hard to imagine that the flat in Borgo Pio where Joseph Ratzinger lived until his election in 2005 could end up in more suitable hands. Today, in fact, the tenant is one of those few prelates who could address Benedict XVI with "you" in the second person singuler and whom the German Pope himself wanted in 2012 as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller. The house, in fact, appears to the guests as it probably must have been during the twenty-three years of residence of what the enemies disparagingly called the panzerkardinal: overwhelmed by books. A few days ago, Cardinal Müller was able to put his latest work The Pope. Ministero e missione (Edizioni Cantagalli), which offers his theological reflection on the mission of the Successor of Peter. La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana met the German cardinal to talk about the book, but inevitably the conversation ended on the current situation of the Church.

Your Eminence, why did you describe Pius XI's words condemning the development of national Churches as "truly prophetic words, which retain their meaning even in today's confrontation with media-driven totalitarian claims"?

The national Church is a perfect contradiction against God's will to save all mankind and unify all men in the Holy Spirit. One cannot reduce the faith to a single nation as the Orthodox do with autocephaly. This is a non-Catholic principle. We are the Catholic Church, that is, universal, for all peoples.

The thought inevitably goes to what is happening in 'his' Germany. Do you fear that the results of the German Synodal Path may infect the next Synod on synodality?

Of course. Promoters and supporters of the German Synodal Path do not want to separate themselves from the Catholic Church, but on the contrary they want to become its locomotive. Their agenda has been known for more than half a century and is still that of the ZDK (Central Committee of German Catholics, ed). They are not the true representation of the German laity, but rather officials who have been fighting against priestly celibacy, against the indissolubility of marriage and in favour of the ordination of women for decades.  

These proposals were presented during the synod process as the solution to the problem of child abuse committed by clerics. Didn't the admission of guilt and the resignation for the mishandling of cases by German bishops leading the Synodal Path undermine the credibility of this narrative?

The truth is that in Germany there has been a great instrumentalisation of these sad events committed by some priests in order to introduce an agenda that existed before and that has nothing to do with this tragedy. But on the other hand, the mainstream media in Germany do nothing but extol the changes in doctrine promoted by the Synodal Path. For them, only the Frankfurt assembly is good in the Church, while everything else is vilified and the labels of conservative or even fascist are used! The majority of the German press is in favour of the Synodal Path not to improve the Church, but to destroy it. It is no coincidence that they talk about cases of paedophilia committed by priests while remaining silent about those committed in sport, universities or politics where the percentage of crimes is even higher. Those who have always been against priestly celibacy and against the sexual morality of the Church have now found in the tragedy of child abuse committed by priests an instrument to destroy what they have always wanted to destroy.

Still on the subject of the German Synodal Path, have you heard the intervention of the Bishop of Antwerp, Monsignor Johan Bonny, who supported the cause of blessings for homosexual couples by claiming the scheme that the Belgian Bishops' Conference brought to Rome? According to the alleged Roman authorities told the bishops that it was their decision and even the Pope told them "it is your decision, I can understand that"..

Today those with heterodox positions try to legitimise themselves by making references to alleged statements or interviews by Francis.  But in this way they exceed their competence. In history there have been many heretical bishops. This pro-blessing rainbow scheme is a clear heresy. To legitimise it they cannot refer to a time when the Pope would have said something to them. Even if the Pope had indeed said it, they can never introduce the blessing of same-sex couples as if it were a marriage. It is absolutely impossible. It is not within the competence of any Pope to change Revelation and the basis of Christian and Catholic morality. Least of all can an episcopal conference do so. These are acts against the Church.

Do you think the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith should intervene to reprimand the Bishop of Antwerp?

Yes, it should intervene.

If you were still Prefect would you have intervened?

Perhaps they no longer wanted me as Prefect precisely because I would have intervened. (laughs, ed.).

This is the duty of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One cannot only reason with a political or diplomatic logic. The time has come to confess the truth.

In the book he wrote about the Second Vatican Council that 'there can only be a hermeneutics of reform and continuity'. A few days ago, to justify the restrictions on the liberalisation of the so-called Tridentine Mass, Cardinal Arthur Roche said that 'the theology of the Church has changed'. How do you judge these words?

As a theologian, I am not happy about this statement by Cardinal Roche. The faith is always the same. We cannot change the faith. Theology is developing, but always on the basis of the same faith. The Second Vatican Council did not change the faith concerning the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the sacramental representation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the real presence of Jesus Christ. Only the liturgical forms have developed through this good idea of the active participation of all the faithful. The external form of the liturgy has developed, but there are no substantial changes.  I believe that one would have to do this with a deep understanding of the theology of the development of the Mass and the liturgy. The great Councils on the Eucharist - the Council of Trent and Vatican II - teach that there has never been only one Rite in the Catholic Church.

So you do not consider the so-called Tridentine Mass to be a threat to the unity of the Church?

No, as such no. There are some who say that this is the only orthodox form and that the form developed after the Second Vatican Council is invalid. These are extremists. But one should not react to punish a few extremists in an extremist manner, hitting the vast majority of these communities who love the Church, the Pope and the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Extremists are there on both sides: on the other, there are those who say that orthodoxy depends only on the rite. So Greek Catholics do not have a true Mass? This is absurd. These public statements are made without deep reflection.

Would you advise the Holy Father to withdraw the restrictions in the rescriptum ex audientia signed by Cardinal Roche?

It would be better to apply the line of Benedict XVI, the greatest connoisseur of the liturgy and also the greatest theologian.  The Church's highest authority must always seek reconciliation. A dialectic is needed, finding a way to peace. The Church is in Christ the symbol of the unity of mankind. And I add one more thing.


These communities associated with the so-called Latin Mass suffer from the prejudice that would have them as enemies of the Second Vatican Council. But there are bishops in Germany who openly deny Vatican II! They question it or say that it only represents a stage in the past. They do not accept the doctrine of the Council.

What is Rome's reaction to this?  Why is there a reaction against one side with all authority, while against the other side - which, for example, promotes the blessings of homosexual couples - there is virtually no reaction?

In 2022 the long-awaited reform of the Roman Curia that held sway in the pre-Conclave congregations of 2013 saw the light of day. In the book he writes that 'when one waits for a plan from experts in politics, finance and economics to reform it, one misses the mark'. So you disagree with the novelty of the Praedicate Evangelium that will also allow lay people to become dicastery heads?

If one considers the dicastery as almost a civil institution of the Vatican, the layman can be a minister. But the Roman Curia is different from the Vatican City State. It is an ecclesiastical institution. Now congregations are called 'dicasteries' to avoid using an ecclesiological term. I am against the secularisation of the Roman Curia. The head of the communications dicastery can be a competent layman. But a clear distinction must be made between the institutions of Vatican City, which is a state and cannot govern the Church. The Vatican has nothing to do with the Church.

To make it clear: a layman could be governor of the Vatican City State while he could not lead the former Holy Office?

Exactly. The basis of the Roman Curia is the College of Cardinals. There is a Roman Curia that serves the Pope in his service to the universal Church. I think that those who drafted these innovations did not reflect on all this. We have dwelt on the financial scandals but not thought enough about what the Roman Curia really is on a theological level. Vatican II speaks of the Roman Curia but as an ecclesiological body: what touches the Church is the task of our congregations and of the Pope as Pope, not as head of state.



P. O'Brien said…
" Only the liturgical forms have developed through this good idea of the active participation of all the faithful." The Church has driven an 18-wheeler through this crack.
AMalek said…
Oh no, the trads don’t accept Vat 2! How horrid!