Cardinal Müller: "Bishops who betray their divine mission to avoid being accused of "proselytism" forget the purpose and reason of their own existence". Who can he be thinking of?

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller in Il Timone-The Magisterium of the Church, authentic interpreter of the Word of God, is not superior to it, but is at its service.

The Apostolic Succession continues to be the link of necessary historical identity with the Church of the Apostles, with the role of primacy of the successor of Peter.

Without Christ there is no Church

A Church that does not believe in Christ is no longer the Church of Christ. Bishops who betray their divine mission to avoid being accused of "proselytism" forget the purpose and reason of their own existence. In fact, the bishops appointed by the Holy Spirit to "shepherd the Church of God" (Acts 20:28) are none other than the legitimate successors of the Apostles (cf. I Letter of Clement, 42-44), to whom the Risen Lord said: "'As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' And having said this, he breathed on them and said to them: 'Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; to whom you retain, they remain retained'” (Jn 20, 21 ff). Bishops and theologians who have forgotten that only in Christ have we been given the fullness of grace and truth should rediscover conversion with the words of Paul: "If I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I let you know, brothers, that the Gospel announced by me is not of human origin; for I have not received nor learned it from any man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:10 ff.).

Only because Christ has revealed himself as “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), can the “Church of the living God” be the “pillar and foundation of truth” in the Holy Spirit (1 Tim 3, fifteen). The "truth of the Gospel" (Gal 2:14), which Paul was forced to defend even before Peter, is not the expression of the changing spirit of the times according to Hegel's theory of dialectical-processual development. The truth that the Church proclaims and witnesses is the person and work of Christ. In Him the insurmountable newness of God and the fullness of his truth have irreversibly reached the world (cf. Irenaeus of Lyon, Adversus haereses, IV, 34.1). That is why believers in Christ are taught: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not let yourselves be carried away by complicated and strange doctrines” (Heb 13:8-9).

Bishops in the Apostolic Succession as servants of the truth of Christ

Holy Scripture and apostolic tradition do not present changing human views about God and the world, about which bishops and theologians must constantly keep "up to date." It is rather through these means that Christ is announced, that he speaks to us with the "divine word of preaching" (Is 2:13) and that he communicates his salvation to each believer through the seven sacraments of the Holy Church.

That is why the Second Vatican Council teaches: "The Sacred Tradition, then, and the Holy Scripture constitute a single sacred deposit of the word of God, entrusted to the Church […]. But the office of authentically interpreting the written or transmitted word of God has been entrusted solely to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This Magisterium, evidently, is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been entrusted to it, by divine command and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, it hears it with piety, keeps it accurately and expounds it with fidelity, and from this single deposit of faith he draws everything that he proposes as truth revealed by God that must be believed" (Dei Verbum, 10).

The Second Vatican Council does not start, therefore, from a sociological-immanent determination of the Church in the dogmatic Constitution on the Church, because the Pope and the bishops cannot respond to the loss of social meaning of the Church with a modernist adjustment, changing its mission for the salvation of the world in Christ and trying to justify its existence with a religious-social contribution to intramundane and immanentist objectives and ideologies (such as the great reset of the atheist-philanthropic elite, eco-religion and the anti-rational woke movement which diametrically contradicts natural and revealed anthropology). The Church is not a purely human organization that has to demonstrate its usefulness to the world. Its essence and its mission are based on its sacramentality, which results from the divine-human unity of Christ and makes it visible in the world (Ecclesia-Christus praesens).

That is why Vatican II declares that the Church "is compared, by a notable analogy, to the mystery of the incarnate Word, for just as the assumed nature serves the divine Word as a living instrument of salvation united indissolubly with Him, in a similar way The social articulation of the Church serves the Holy Spirit, who gives life to her, for the increase of her body (cf. Eph 4:16).

This is the only Church of Christ, which in the Creed we confess as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, and which our Savior, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter to shepherd her (cf. Jn 21:17), entrusting him to he and the other Apostles for its dissemination and government (cf. Mt 28,18 ff.), and he perpetually erected it as the column and foundation of the truth (cf. 1 Tim 3,15). This Church, established and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him" (Lumen gentium, 8). The apostolic succession of bishops is a constitutive element of the being and mission of the visible Church and guarantees its necessary historical identity with the Church of the Apostles. Irenaeus of Lyon, officially proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis, in his debate with the Gnostics developed in general terms its authentic meaning, precisely correlating the Holy Scripture, the apostolic tradition and the teaching of the bishops in the legitimate official succession of the Apostles. «For this reason it is necessary to obey the presbyters of the Church. They have the succession of the Apostles, as we have already demonstrated, and have received, according to the Father's good pleasure, the charisma of truth together with the episcopal succession. On the other hand, the others, who deviate from the original succession and gather anywhere, will have to be considered suspicious, as heretics who have perverse ideas, or as schismatics full of pride and self-complacency, or as hypocrites who do not seek in their act but interest and vainglory. All of these deviate from the truth. Heretics offer profane fire before the altar of God, that is, foreign doctrines: the fire from heaven will consume them, like Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2). Those who stand against the truth and incite others against the Church of God will be swallowed by the cleft of the earth and will remain in hell, like all those who surrounded Korah, Dathan and Abiron (Num 16:33). Those who tear and separate the unity of the Church will receive from God the same punishment as Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:10-16)" (Against the heretics, VM, 26.2)

The definitive criterion of Apostolic Succession in Roman primacy

The individual local Churches form the one Catholic Church of God in the communion of the Episcopal Churches. The local Church of Rome is one among many local Churches, but with the particularity that its apostolic foundation through the martyrdom verbi et sanguinis of the Apostles Peter and Paul gives it primacy in the community of all the Episcopal Churches in the global witness. and in the unity of life of the Catholic communion. By this potentior principalitatis every local Church must be in agreement with the Roman Church (Adversus haereses, III, 3, 3). Since the episcopal college is at the service of the unity of the Church, it must itself take responsibility for the principle of its own unity, but this task can only be performed by the bishop of a local Church, and not by the president of a federation of regional and continental ecclesiastical associations. And this task cannot be limited to the adoption of a purely objective principle (majority decision, delegation of rights to an elected body, etc.). Since the inner essence of the episcopate is a personal testimony, the principle of the unity of the episcopate itself is incarnated in a person, that is, in the Bishop of Rome. As an ordained bishop, and not simply a “non-bishop” appointed to this office, he is the successor of Peter, who, as the first apostle and first witness of the resurrection, embodied in his person the unity of the college of the Apostles.

What is crucial to a theology of primacy is the characterisation of Peter's ministry as an episcopal mission, as well as the recognition that this office is not a human but a divine right, in the sense that it can only be exercised with the authority of Christ. by virtue of a charisma in the Holy Spirit granted personally to its bearer: "But so that the Episcopate itself would be one and undivided, [Jesus Christ, eternal shepherd] placed the blessed Peter at the head of the other Apostles and instituted in the person of the itself the principle and foundation, perpetual and visible, of the unity of faith and communion" (Lumen gentium, 18).



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