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Cardinal Müller calls on Pope Francis to intervene with the Church in Germany

“For the sake of the truth of the gospel and the unity of the Church, Rome must not watch in silence, hoping that things won’t turn out too badly, or that the Germans can be pacified with tactical finesse and small concessions.”

Cardinal Gerhard Muller arrives for Mass at the annual Student Leadership Summit of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students at the Phoenix Convention Center Jan. 1, 2020. (CNS photo/Jesus Valencia, Catholic Sun)

Vatican City, May 27, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

Gerhard Cardinal Müller on Monday called upon the Holy Father to intervene in the German situation to correct clerics who have attempted to bless same-sex unions, or encouraged such attempts.

“For the sake of the truth of the gospel and the unity of the Church, Rome must not watch in silence, hoping that things won’t turn out too badly, or that the Germans can be pacified with tactical finesse and small concessions. We need a clear statement of principle with practical consequences,” Cardinal Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and himself a German, wrote in “Blessing and Blasphemy”, a May 24 essay for First Things.

“This is necessary so that after five hundred years of division, the remnant of the Catholic Church in Germany does not disintegrate, with devastating consequences for the universal Church,” he stated.

Cardinal Müller recalled that the Church of Rome has primacy not so much “because of the prerogatives of the Chair of Peter”, and certainly not as if its “occupant could do as he pleases,” but primarily “because of the pope’s grave duty, assigned to him by Christ, to guard the unity of the universal church in the revealed faith.”

Speaking of the protests orchestrated by priests and bishops in Germany May 10 to bless same-sex couples and the theological impetus behind it, he said that “what we are witnessing is the heretical denial of the Catholic faith in the sacrament of marriage and the denial of the anthropological truth that the difference between men and women expresses God’s will in creation.”

The former prefect of the CDF called the “staging of pseudo-blessings of homosexually active male or female couples … theologically speaking, blasphemy”, citing Pauline and Johannine epistles, Genesis, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Lumen gentium, Vatican II’s dogmatic constitution on the Church.

The nuptial blessing “cannot be separated from its specific connection to the sacrament of marriage and applied to unmarried partnerships or, worse, misused to justify sinful unions,” Cardinal Müller wrote.

“The statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on February 22 simply expressed what every Catholic Christian who has been instructed in the basics of our faith knows: The Church has no authority to bless unions of people of the same sex,” he said.

Cardinal Müller also argued that a human-centered view of the Church and the sacraments has become a form of elite gnosticism: “These German bishops and theologians treat the people as fools; they claim to have secret exegetical knowledge that allows them to interpret verses of Holy Scripture that condemn something contrary to nature as somehow compatible with the affirmation of same-sex unions,” he said.

That bishops and theologians are insisting on the urgency of blessing same-sex couples “beggars belief”, he commented, when “for many months believers were deprived of the consolation and the grace of the sacraments during the coronavirus.”

“This fact shows how low the dogmatic, moral, and liturgical water table has sunken.”

The attempted blessing of same-sex couples does not “signal concern for their temporal and eternal salvation,” but is rather a denial of the sacrament of marriage, he said.

Cardinal Müller suggested that German culture’s antagonism to Catholicism lies behind such attempts, and that “many believe being ‘against Rome’ is a sign of truth.”

He added that the German spirit’s tendency to idealism, by which it believes “it is spiritually and morally above the limits of what is sacramental and visible,” is a pride that “leads back into a captivity of the body and its unredeemed instincts.”

An appeal to “lived experience” as against revelation is not new to Germany, he said: “This false dichotomy drives the Christian spirit toward a new paganization that is only thinly disguised under Christian liturgical clothing.”

He noted that in the 1930s, Nazi theorist Alfred Rosenberg considered the Confessing Church at fault for holding “law, revelation, church, and creed today as dogmatically higher than the vital necessities of the German people struggling for internal and external freedom.”

The attempt to bless same-sex unions calls into question both the Petrine primacy and “the authority of God’s revelation itself,” he said.

“What is new in this theology that returns to paganism is its impertinent insistence on calling itself Catholic, as if one can dismiss the Word of God in Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition as mere pious opinion and time-bound expressions of religious feelings and ideals that need to evolve and develop in accord with new experiences, needs, and mentalities. Today we are told that reducing CO2 emissions is more important than avoiding the deadly sins that separate us from God forever.”

Cardinal Müller closed his essay with a quote from Leo I, one of Francis’ predecessors as Bishop of Rome.

“And yet the Lord is particularly concerned about Peter and prays especially for Peter’s faith (Luke 22:32), just as if the others would be more steadfast if the leader’s courage remained undaunted. In Peter’s strength all are strengthened, for the assistance of divine grace is so regarded that the strength given to Peter passes through him to the apostles,” the earlier pope had preached on the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul in 443.

The cardinal’s warning came shortly before Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver penned an open letter to the bishops of the world on the “untenable” views of the Catholic Church put forward by the German bishops.

Archbishop Aquila warned that the first text of the Church in Germany’s synodal path downplays the Church as God’s instrument of salvation and ignores the tensions between the Church’s mission and worldly attitudes.

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  1. Good luck to Cardinal Müller if he expects to get a response from the Vatican. A one-word reminder – dubia.

  2. God bless Cardinal Mueller! His words, “We need a clear statement of principle with practical consequences,” is exactly correct and is, I believe, the attitudes of ALL good, practicing Catholics. “What is new in this theology that returns to paganism is its impertinent insistence on calling itself Catholic, as if one can dismiss the Word of God in Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition as mere pious opinion and time-bound expressions of religious feelings and ideals that need to evolve and develop in accord with new experiences, needs, and mentalities. These words in Cardinal Mueller’s essay are especially telling! The German church is NOT Catholic and Francis must carry out his obligations as the Vicar of Christ. Period! If not, this will spread throughout the world! The German church is NOT the pope, Francis is! Period. The very fact that such actions are even considered is mind-boggling to me as a child of God trying hard to following the teachings of the Church! Francis needs to LEAD AND LEAD NOW! There are grave consequences for inaction! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for the German Church!

  3. Gerhard Cardinal Müller Le Vieille Garde of the Catholic faith goes directly to the source of authority required to resolve this intolerable masquerade of Christianity. Archbishop Aquila’s letter is having dividends. Müller excoriated German bishops, theologians, declaring them false prophets who claim secret knowledge that contradicts what Christ revealed. This is where our bishops must take their Eucharistic coherence case in following a true captain’s lead. What Cardinal Ladaria offers the USCCB is designed to inhibit any positive outcome between the two factions, adding nothing that offers incentive to resolve the issue with preposterous requirements that ‘a true consensus must be reached’ [after endless consultation], and even if it were that implementation remain with the local ordinary. That of course is not a resolution rather a handing of the trophy to the dissenters from the faith. Indications are that Pope Francis’ insouciance on the German issue is consistent with a pattern of intended change toward a global Church more worldly, more embracing of the sinner as he is than revelatory in Christ. Amazonia synodality and the German model were both lauded, implemented in the latter. If this were a chess game Cardinal Müller is the knight that threatens the king’s foray.

    • Prudential judgment of local ordinaries as alleged [we know McCarrick edited it] in the 2002 Ratzinger Doctrinal Note, is the focus of Cardinals Ladaria, Tobin, Gregory, Cupich these are excerpts from the 2004 more definitive Instruction issued to McCarrick, which he never disclosed to the bishops.
      2004 instruction to McCarrick, “Be worthy to receive Holy Communion. General principles of Joseph Ratzinger. 5. With regard to the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (meaning, in the case of a Catholic politician, his systematic campaigning and voting for permissive abortion laws and euthanasia), his pastor should meet him, instruct him on the teaching of the Church, inform him that he must not present himself for Holy Communion until he has put an end to the objective situation of sin, and warn him that otherwise he will be denied the Eucharist. [NB A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and therefore unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he deliberately voted for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive positions on abortion and / or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s position in favor of abortion and / or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, this is considered remote material cooperation, which may be allowed for proportionate reasons.]”.
      We couldn’t be instructed more clearly than with this crystalline 2004 Instruction. Cardinal Ladaria and others in favor of prudential judgment by local ordinaries must be aware of this document.

    • Additionally the 2004 Instruction is intended to supplement the 2002 doctrinal note to instruct the local ordinary how he must form his prudential judgment.

      • Johannes I read the grave of the guardian. Mzee Askari was an Arab soldier enlisted by a colonial power. I can guess, fill in the blanks if you would [Like Tolkien I’m intrigued by riddles].

  4. In the early Church, Catholics endured martyrdom rather than toss a pinch of ashes toward an image of the divinized emperor. Five hundred years ago the flash point was to toss a couple of coins into Tetzel’s tin cup of indulgences. Today the flash point is to indulge, or not, same-sex couplings with a bogus blessing and couple drops of holy water.

    Today, also, the mature and universal (distinct from global) Church still awaits at least a few decisive lines on letterhead to be tossed across the pre-adolescent and schismatic “synodal path.” Or is the papacy now replaced by Amazonia’s Pachamama and Germania’s Wodan?

  5. I praise the noble words of Cardinal Muller. But as we all know that when Francis has a plan for destruction no words like Cardinal Muller’s will change his mind. The Pope could have already addressed and corrected the German Bishops but he hasn’t and won’t be doing it. Francis must be demanded to resign or legally removed from office. Enough of Francis, he has proven to be deliberately ineffective time and again!

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