Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, the new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, recently talked with EWTN News about his new post and related matters. He spoke very highly of one of my favorite works of theology, written a few years ago by a certain German theologian:
Archbishop Muller still recalls the intellectual impact of Father Joseph Ratzinger’s “Introduction to Christianity,” published in 1968 at the height of the campus rebellions across the western world. “He re-vindicated our faith and convinced us of the reasonableness of Catholic belief; he re-established our confidence in the Church,” the archbishop remarked.
He is now in charge of editing the writings or “Omnia Opera” of Pope Benedict XVI, a grand project that will stretch to 16 volumes.
He described Pope Benedict as “a great intellectual and an important thinker for today,” particularly when it comes to “explaining the depth and richness of our Christian faith” to contemporary society.
“It’s too early to speak about the legacy of this papacy, but in a certain sense we can compare our present Holy Father with the great intellectual pontiffs of history, such as Pope Leo the Great in 5th century and Benedict XIV in the 18th century.”
He also addressed some of the criticisms that have been leveled against his own theological works and views:
Archbishop Muller’s latest appointment, however, has been met with a degree of criticism from some who allege he holds unorthodox views on a range of issues – from the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, to the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to the relationship of non-Catholic Christians to the Church.
“These are not criticisms, they are provocations. And not very intelligent provocations at that,” he said. “Either they have not read what I have written or they have not understood it.”
“Our Catholic faith is very clear,” he explained,“that at the consecration during Mass a change occurs so that the whole substance of the bread and wine is changed into the whole substance body and blood of Jesus Christ, and that this change is rightly called transubstantiation. And we have refused to accept all the other interpretations, consubstantiation, transignification, transfinalisation and so on.”
The Church is also equally clear on the “virginity of Mary, mother of Jesus, mother of God, before, during and after the birth of Christ,” Archbishop Muller stated.
As for inter-Christian relations, the archbishop noted that in his 4-5th century debates with the Donatists, St. Augustine underscored that the Church recognizes“everybody who is validly baptized is incorporated into Christ,” even if they are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.
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