Cardinal Müller Warns of Schism…

From La Croix International: Cardinal Müller ‘bitter and concerned’ with Church’s direction – 29 November, 2017… 

Cardinal Müller 

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller / Alberto PizzolI / AFP
“There is a front made up of traditionalist groups as well as a number of progressives, who would like to see me lead a movement against the pope, but I will never do it.”

These were the words of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to Massimo Franco, columnist at the Italian daily Il Corriere dela Sera, in an interview published on Sunday, November 26.

Müller, who has previously distanced himself from a series of pontifical moves, revealed that he was both bitter and concerned with the direction the Church is taking.

Insisting that he believed in “the unity of the Church”, Cardinal Müller nevertheless called on Church authorities “to listen to those who have serious questions and fair complaints”.

“We must not ignore them or, worse, humiliate them,” he emphasized.

“If not, without intending it, the risk of a slow separation may grow and lead to a schism by a section of the Catholic world that feels disoriented and disappointed,” Cardinal Müller warned.

Schism looming? 

The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant schism 500 years ago should indicate the kind of mistakes we need to avoid,” he said.

Although he had previously harshly criticized his dismissal as the head of the Congregation for the Faith, he revealed several new aspects of this in his Corriere interview.

Pope Francis reportedly said to him that “certain people have told me anonymously that you are my enemy”.

“After forty years of service to the Church,” he lamented, “gossips are making such absurd comments, creating doubts in the mind of the pope when they would have done better to visit a psychiatrist.”

Reaffirming his loyalty to Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller claimed that the pontiff’s “real friends are not those who flatter him” but “those who assist him with the truth and with theological and human expertise”.

He had severe words for the “detractors” whom he blamed for his departure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Refuting the notion of a plot against the pope as “an absolute exaggeration”, he admitted that significant “tensions” exist in the Church at present.

“I believe that the cardinals who expressed their doubts on Amoris Laetitia or the 62 signatories to a letter making critical comments about the pope, including some which were excessive, should be listened to and not swept aside with the back of the hand as if they were Pharisees or malcontents,” Cardinal Müller said.

What is needed is “free and frank dialogue,” he added.

Instead, he feared that people within the pope’s “magic circle” are “worried primarily about spying on perceived enemies, preventing open and balanced discussion”.

In a sign of his good faith, Cardinal Müller recently issued a public defense of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the family, which has crystallized the various conflicts.

“To classify all Catholics as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ of the pope is the greatest evil that they cause to the Church,” Cardinal Müller insisted.

“People are perplexed when they see a well-known journalist, who is also an atheist, claim to be a friend of the pope, while a Catholic bishop and cardinal like me, is defamed as an opponent of the pope.

“I don’t think that these people are in a position to give theology lessons on the primacy of the sovereign pontiff,” he said.

Compared to Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the Church now seems “weaker,” Cardinal Müller continued.

“There are fewer and fewer priests yet we are offering answers that are more organizational, political or diplomatic than theological and spiritual,” he said.

“The Church is not a political party based on power struggles. We need to discuss existential issues about life and death, the family, and religious vocations and not always ecclesiastical politics,” he added.

“Pope Francis is popular and that’s a good thing. However, people are no longer receiving the sacraments. And his popularity among those Catholics who enthusiastically quote him, unfortunately, does not change their false convictions,” the cardinal insisted.

It is now necessary to go beyond the notion of a Church as a “country hospital”, Cardinal Müller said, citing an expression popularized by Pope Francis.

He said, instead, that the world needs a “Silicon Valley” Church.

“We need to become the Steve Jobs of the faith and transmit a powerful vision in terms of moral and cultural values,” the cardinal claimed. [Emphases added]     Source – La Croix International

Comment:

Is the Cardinal over-egging the crisis?  Or do you agree that we are in danger of schism? 

SSPX: Pope Sets Impossible Conditions

For the record: Cardinal Müller’s letter to Bishop Fellay on the necessary conditions for “full re-establishment of communion” with the SSPX

Last weekend, as rumors swirled of Cardinal Müller’s imminent dismissal from his post as Prefect of the CDF, the French website Medias-Presse.Info published what it claimed to be an excerpt from an important letter sent by the Cardinal to Bishop Bernard Fellay regarding the conditions for an accord between the Vatican and the SSPX. Today the Remnant published an English translation of this excerpt; we reproduce the entire Remnant article below, followed by a note on the 1988 Professio Fidei mentioned in it.  

Rorate’s own sources have confirmed the authenticity of this text. 

Cardinal Müller’s Letter to Bishop Fellay 

From http://www.medias-presse.info comes the following excerpt of a letter from Cardinal Müller to Bishop Bernard Fellay. According to http://www.medias-presse.info, Cardinal Müller’s letter was communicated to all SSPX members by the SSPX General House. 

Excerpt from Cardinal Müller’s letter: 

“As you know, Pope Francis has many a time manifested his benevolence towards your Priestly Society, granting, in particular, to all priest members the faculty of confessing the faithful validly and by authorizing local Ordinaries to grant licences for the celebration of the marriages of the faithful who follow the pastoral activity in your Society. Furthermore, discussions are continuing concerning questions relative to the full re-establishment of the communion of your Society with the Catholic Church. 

In relation to this, with the approbation of the Sovereign Pontiff, I judged it necessary to submit to the Ordinary Session of our Congregation (which met on May 10 last) the text of the doctrinal Declaration which was transmitted to you during the meeting of June 13, 2016, as the necessary condition in view of the full re-establishment of communion. Here are the unanimous decisions of all the members of our Dicastery in this regard: 

1) It is necessary to require the adhesion of the members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to the new formula of the Professio Fidei dating from 1988 (c.f. annexe). Consequently, it is not sufficient to ask them to express the Professio Fidei of 1962. 

2) The new text of the doctrinal Declaration must contain a paragraph in which the signatories declare in an explicit manner their acceptance of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and those of the post-conciliar period, by granting to said doctrinal affirmations the degree of adhesion which is due to them. 

3) The members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X must recognize not only the validity, but also the legitimacy of the Rite of the Holy Mass and of the Sacraments, according to the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council.” 

www.medias-presse.info adds that Cardinal Müller concluded the letter saying that “during the Audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect on May 20 2017, the Sovereign Pontiff approved these decisions”. The French website also adds that in his accompanying letter to SSPX priests, Father Christian Thouvenot, Secretary General of the SSPX, recalled the words of Bishop Fellay after the meeting of the major superiors in Anzère, Switzerland, on June 28 2016: 

“The Society of Saint Pius X does not seek primarily a canonical recognition, to which it has a right because it is Catholic. The solution is not simply juridical. It pertains to a doctrinal position which it is imperative to manifest […] Divine Providence will not abandon Its Church whose head is the Pope, Vicar of Jesus Christ. That is why an incontestable sign of this restoration will reside in the signified will of the Sovereign Pontiff to grant the means for re-establishing the order of the Priesthood, the Faith and Tradition – a sign which will be, furthermore, the guarantor of the necessary unity of the family of Tradition”.  Source – Rorate Caeli

Comment:

This news is as disappointing as it is worrying.  A one-liner comment on an American blog sums up the problem of the schismatic mentality which has become rooted in the souls of some SSPX affiliates who rejoice each time a “deal” falls through:  A deal breaker.  Thank God!  wrote one USA blogger. 

Clearly, Bishop Fellay cannot compromise – that’s a given.  But that there seems no end in sight (humanly speaking) to the irregular situation in which the crisis in the Church has placed the SSPX, is surely no cause for rejoicing – is it?

Cardinal Müller – “Dissenter” – Sacked…


CO
RRISPONDENZA ROMANA and RORATE CÆLI have just learned that His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith since July 2, 2012, has been dismissed by Pope Francis on the exact expiry date of his five-year mandate. Cardinal Müller is one of the cardinals who sought to interpret Amoris Laetitia along the lines of a hermeneutic of continuity with Church Tradition. This was enough to put him among the critics of the new course imposed by Pope [Francis].  Source: Rorate Caeli

Comment:

Clearly, dissent from the dissent is not permitted.  Is this the “God of Surprises” at work again? Or was this development all too predictable?

Cardinal Müller: No Elephant in Room…

Cardinal Müller Covers His Eyes

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 9, 2017

The article below is taken from the Fatima Center website

According to Stanze Vaticane, the blog for the Italian TV channel TGCom24, Card. Gerhard Ludwig Müller has ejected any correction of Pope Francis concerning those explosive sections of Amoris Laetitia (especially Chapter 8, ¶¶ 302-305) which prompted the four cardinals to present

Cardinal Müller

Cardinal Müller

their dubia to Pope Francis. Those passages of Amoris clearly open the door to Holy Communion for the divorced and “remarried” in “certain cases” — as bishop after bishop is now declaring — while appearing to reduce exceptionless negative precepts of the natural law (including “Thou shalt not commit adultery”) to “general rules” and mere “objective ideals” rather than divine commands from which no one can claim an exemption.

But Müller’s choice of words is very curious.  As reported by Stanze Vaticane, during an interview with TGCom 24 (translations mine), Müller stated:

“Everyone, above all the cardinals of the Roman Church [sic], have the right to write a letter to the Pope. I was astonished, however, that this became public, almost constraining the Pope to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. I do not like this. Also, a possible fraternal correction of the Pope seems to me very far off. It is not possible at this moment because it does not involve a danger to the faith as Saint Thomas has said. We are very far from a correction and I say that it harms the Church to discuss these things publicly.

Amoris Laetitia is very clear in its doctrine, and we can make out the whole doctrine of the Church on matrimony, all the doctrine of the Church in 2000 years of history. Pope Francis asks for discernment of the situation of those persons who live in an irregular union, that is, not according to the doctrine of the Church on matrimony, and he asks for aid of these persons to find a path for a new integration in the Church according to the conditions of the Sacraments, of the Christian message on matrimony. But I do not see any contraposition: on the one hand we have the clear doctrine on matrimony, and on the other the obligation of the Church to concern herself with these persons in difficulty.”

First of all, why is Müller “astonished” that the dubia became public?  The four cardinals state clearly in their accompanying letter that while their dubia were first submitted privately to Francis, “The Holy Father has decided not to respond. We have interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection, and the discussion, calmly and with respect. And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.” 

That is their right as cardinals, and indeed it is the right of any member of the faithful:

“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”  (Canon 212, § 3)

Secondly, why is a “possible fraternal correction” deemed “very far off” — meaning that there is a potential for one — when Müller says at one and the same time that Amoris presents the Catholic doctrine on matrimony and that there is no opposition to that doctrine in the call for “discernment” of the situation of people in “irregular unions”? If Amoris were really so clear, and there were really no contradiction between Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage and Francis’ call for “discernment,” Müller would say simply that a correction of Francis is unnecessary. He would not say a correction is “not possible at this moment…”

I am afraid Müller’s statement falls into the category of so much of what has come out of the Vatican over the past fifty years: artfully worded doubletalk that tries to have it both ways.

Now let us be serious. Cardinal Müller knows very well that Amoris is not only problematic, but a veritable H-bomb targeted on the foundations of Christian life. As the four cardinals note in their presentation to a stonily silent Francis, different bishops interpret Amoris differently — some pro, some con — regarding the admission of public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments (in “certain cases”) without a prior amendment of life. Müller also knows well that Francis has sided with the pro faction.  In his letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires regarding their “guidelines” for the “implementation” of Amoris, Francis declared there is “no other interpretation” of Amoris than their guidelines, which provide as follows:

“If it is acknowledged that, in a concrete case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), especially when a person believes he/she would incur a subsequent fault by harming the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia offers the possibility of having access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (cf. footnotes 336 and 351).”

Accordingly, the four cardinals rightly note with alarm (while Francis stays silent) that interpreters of Amoris “come to different conclusions… due to divergent ways of understanding the Christian moral life.”  Thus, as they conclude:

“In this sense, what is at stake in Amoris Laetitia is not only the question of whether or not the divorced who have entered into a new union can — under certain circumstances — be readmitted to the sacraments. 

“Rather, the interpretation of the document also implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life. Thus, while the first question of the dubia concerns a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, the other four questions touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.

Indeed, the fifth question presented asks the Roman Pontiff, of all people, if following Amoris “does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, n.56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?”  In short: Is Francis — the Pope — authorizing departures from the natural law?

Müller knows all of this.  And he knows the whole Catholic world is in turmoil following the publication of Amoris, as some dioceses now regard as “mercy” what others still regard as a mortal sin: the reception of Holy Communion while living in adultery. There is no way he cannot know what is happening. Yet he has chosen to put on a blindfold in order to be able to say that a correction of Francis “is not possible at this moment because it does not involve a danger to the faith…”

Really? If not now, when?  After thousands and perhaps millions of souls have put their eternal salvation at risk by receiving Holy Communion while engaging in adulterous sexual relations?  After the already weakened faith in Holy Matrimony is completely destroyed in many by the spectacle of people who are not married being treated as if they were?  After the very concept of mortal sin is de facto abolished by the subversive notion, promoted by Francis in Amoris (¶ 303), that conscience can properly counsel the continuation of gravely sinful conduct as “what for now [!] is the most generous response which can be given to God… while yet not fully the objective ideal”?

What a sad day for the Church when the very head of its doctrinal congregation blinds himself to what is perhaps, as Bishop Athanasius Schneider has observed, the greatest doctrinal crisis since the Arian heresy.  How sad as well that, in contrast to the four cardinals who confront the crisis with eyes wide open, we must say of Müller what Our Lord said of the Pharisees: “Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.” (Matt 15:14)   

Comment:

Can you explain Cardinal Müller’s assertion that:  “…a possible fraternal correction of the Pope seems to me very far off.  It is not possible at this moment because it does not involve a danger to the faith…”  

I read those words with a sense of incredulity.  Given that most of us can see  the elephant in the room (even those who are late to the circus) and can, moreover, see it hurtling around the the room causing havoc, how can Cardinal Müller deny the fact that great danger to the Faith has already been caused by Amoris Laetitia. What’s wrong with him?  No rudeness, mind, folks, keep the heid. Nobody’s asking you to say it with flowers, just don’t be rude 😀   

Update: 11 January – The mystery deepens

Pope Francis: Merciful or Authoritarian?

My own research has shown that this incident occurred at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and that it was Cardinal Gerhard Müller himself who now has to obey these peremptory new orders. Additionally, I was able to discover that the three priests involved are, respectively, of a Slovakian-American, French, and Mexican nationality. (One of my sources is a friend of one of these three theologians.) However, the last of these three might now, after all, be able to remain a little longer in his current position at the Congregation.

Let us now consider some of the specific details of what Marco Tosatti himself has perceptively gathered for us. He starts his article with a reference to Pope Francis’ usual rebuke of the Roman Curia at his Christmas address to the Curia and detects the pope’s obvious anger in his words and gestures. When looking over to the Curia itself, however, Tosatti perceives something else than a reciprocal anger to be present among the curial members: “It is not about their resistance, but about their fear, their discontent, and a kind of feeling that belongs to another context altogether.”

Tosatti then refers to a credible source who told him several recent episodes occurring at the Vatican. Two of them appear to be of great importance and might also give us some additional glimpses into Pope Francis’ own authoritarian methods as well as his somewhat indirect way of ruling the Church. But, we should now first concentrate on the new personnel matter at the Congregation for Doctrine, which Tosatti himself says is “decisively sadder.” Here is Tosatti’s report:

“The head of a dicastery has received the order to remove three of his employees (all of whom have worked there for a long time), and it was without any explanation. He [the Prefect] received these official letters: “….I request that you please dismiss ….” The order was: send him [each of them] back into his diocese of origin or to the Religious Family to which he belongs. He [the Prefect of the Congregation] was very perplexed because it was about three excellent priests who are among the most capable professionally. He first avoided obeying and several times asked for an audience with the pope. He had to wait because that meeting was postponed several times. Finally, he was received in an audience. And he said: “Your Holiness, I have received these letters, but I did not do anything because these persons are among the best of my dicastery… what did they do?” The answer was, as follows: “And I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.” He got up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate that the audience was at an end. On 31 December, two of the three [men] will leave the dicastery in which they have worked for years, and without knowing the why. For the third, there seems to be a certain delay. But then, there is another implication which, if true, would be even more unpleasant. One of the two had freely spoken about certain decisions of the pope – perhaps a little bit too much. A certain person – a friend of a close collaborator of the pope – heard this disclosure and passed it on. The victim received then a very harsh telephone call from Number One [i.e., the pope]. And then soon came the dismissal.” [emphasis added]

In this passage, Tosatti piercingly speaks about an “autocratic fever that seems to have broken out in the Vatican.” [my emphasis] And he concludes his report with the following words:

“Thus it is not so astonishing when the atmosphere behind the walls and in the palaces is not really serene. And one may now ask oneself what kind of credit this fact gives altogether to all the elaborate and sustained fanfare about mercy.” [my emphasis]

Thus Tosatti adds another piece of the puzzle concerning Pope Francis’ manner and methods of governance through which he seemingly aims at removing – or marginalizing – orthodox prelates, priests, and laymen from positions of formative influence in the Vatican.

Moreover, with specific regard of the Congregation for Doctrine, another source had told me the following, more than a month ago:

“One source in Rome says that all those who work for the Holy See are afraid to talk about anything for fear of being chopped because of the presence of informants everywhere. He compared it to Stalinist Russia. He said two priest friends of his, good men, have been fired from the CDF because they were accused of being critical of Pope Francis.”

This same Rome source, who is personally very honest and well informed, reports that these two priests here mentioned (who do not seem to be the same ones who are involved in the recent three personnel cases) fear that they will not be the only ones to be removed. They see their own removal to be just the beginning of a “massive overhaul” [my emphasis] within the Doctrine Congregation, “not unlike what happened recently to Cardinal Sarah’s Divine Worship Congregation.” (Here we might be reminded of the fact that it was Marco Tosatti himself who had earlier called these recent changes at the Congregation for Divine Worship a “Purge.”)

We have also recently reported about the pope’s earlier decision to remove the members of the Pontifical Academy of Life, which is widely known for its strong stance in defense of human life. Here is what one well-informed source had reported to me then about this incident:

“At the end of 2016 the Pontifical Academy for Life was closed and all its members dismissed. The Academy will be reconstituted in 2017 with new statutes and the Academy will be repopulated. The process for naming new members of the Academy is not known.”

We also have repeatedly reported on the atmosphere of fear that now increasingly permeates the Vatican, as did a recent report from the co-founder of LifeSiteNews.

During this forthcoming year of 2017 – the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima – may the Blessed Mother increasingly be our help and our trustworthy refuge. May she help us with those graces we shall need to defend the truth more fully and to manifest Christ’s love, as well, even in the face of fear.  Source

Comments invited… 

A Troubling Week In Vatican Politics…

The article below is taken from the blog, One Peter Fve (1P5)…

Müller, Küng, Marx, and St. Joan of Arc

 

The Catholic Church, therefore, faces a very serious situation, where many vulnerable souls are at stake and where there seems to be a growing atmosphere of intolerance toward those who try to defend the Catholic Truth...

The Catholic Church, therefore, faces a very serious situation, where many vulnerable souls are at stake and where there seems to be a growing atmosphere of intolerance toward those who try to defend the Catholic Truth – IP5

 

On this Feast of St. Athanasius [2nd May], and inspired by the story of Saint Joan of Arc, I was encouraged to write this article.

At the end of last week, three major events happened that are very troubling for faithful Catholics. One event relates to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, one to Father Hans Küng, and the third relates to Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

First of all, reports came to us that Carlos Osoro, the archbishop of Madrid, Spain, forbade Cardinal Gerhard Müller from presenting his new book   on hope  at the Catholic University San Dámaso, because this book is — Osoro alleges — “against the pope”. Guiseppe Nardi, who first reported this story in German on Katholisches.info, refers to the original Spanish source, Infovaticana.com. I report here on this story since, from other sources as well, I know it to be the truth.

Infovaticana also surprisingly reports that Archbishop Osoro has been incorrectly reporting, in his official Curriculum Vitae (which he had once sent to the Vatican), that he has four licentiates, namely in philosophy, theology, natural science, and pedagogy. As has now been confirmed, Osoro, in fact, does not have those licentiates. After Infovaticana had also reported on his scandalous treatment of the head of Doctrine in Rome, Osoro has now said that he himself will participate at the presentation of Cardinal Müller’s book, but it still will not take place at his own university. Rather, the presentation will happen at the private University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid. It is unlikely that the archbishop would have given such a prohibition to a senior cardinal of the Church, had he not felt a sense of assured protection from above. In fact this incident seems only possible due to the fact that, indeed, there is an objective disagreement between Pope Francis’ reforms and Cardinal Müller’s doctrinal position which affirms and preserves the traditional teaching of the Church… The Catholic Church, therefore, faces a very serious situation, where many vulnerable souls are at stake and where there seems to be a growing atmosphere of intolerance toward those who try to defend the Catholic Truth…

Before commentingRead entire article here