Cardinal Gerhard Müller: The Congregation for the Faith should correct Bishop Johan Bonny.
“The blessing of rainbow couples is heresy. The Belgian bishops cannot legitimize them by referring to alleged statements by the Pope. Even if he had said so, it is not within his competence to alter revelation." Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who was prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until 2017, put the coordinates in the Church in clear terms, revealing where there are serious undesirable developments, especially in Germany, but also in Rome. He also clarified: "To attack the ancient Rite is absurd."
Nico Spuntoni of La Nuova Bussola Quotidianaconducted an interview with Cardinal Gerhard Müller on the occasion of the publication of the Italian edition of his book "The Pope. Mission and Ministry”. The German edition was published in 2017.
NBQ: Your Eminence, why did you characterize the words of Pius XI, who condemned the emergence of national churches, as "truly prophetic words that retain their meaning even in today's confrontation with media-driven totalitarian claims"?
Cardinal Müller: The national church is a complete contradiction of God's will to save all mankind and to unite all people in the Holy Spirit. One cannot reduce the faith to a single nation as the Orthodox do with autocephaly. This is not a Catholic principle. We are the Catholic Church, ie universal, for all peoples.
NBQ: The thought inevitably goes to what is happening in 'your' Germany. Do you fear that the results of the German Synodal Way could infect the next synod on synodality?
Cardinal Müller: Yes, of course. The proponents and supporters of the German synodal path do not want to separate themselves from the Catholic Church, but on the contrary, want to become its engine. Their agenda has been known for more than half a century and is still that of the Central Committee of German Catholics. They are not the true representatives of the German lay faithful, but officials who have been fighting for decades against priestly celibacy, against the indissolubility of marriage and for the ordination of women.
NBQ: These proposals were presented during the synodal meetings as a solution to the problem of child abuse by clerics. Didn't the admission of guilt and resignation over their failure on this issue by German bishops who were key players in this path undermine the credibility of this narrative?
Cardinal Mueller: The truth is that in Germany these sad events committed by some priests have been used to a large extent to push through an agenda that existed before and which has nothing to do with this tragedy. On the other hand, the mainstream media in Germany do nothing but praise the changes in teaching promoted by the Synodal Path. For them, only the Frankfurt congregation is good in the church, while everything else is slandered, using labels like conservative or even fascist! The majority of the German press is for the Synodal Way, not to improve the Church but to destroy it. It is no coincidence that they have cases of pedophilia, committed by priests while remaining silent on those committed in sport, in universities or in politics [Or among other denominations and religions, like Judaism], where the percentage of crimes is even higher. Those who have always opposed priestly celibacy and the Church's sexual morality have now found in the tragedy of child abuse by priests an instrument to destroy what they have always wanted to destroy.
Cardinal Mueller: Anyone who represents heterodox positions today tries to legitimize themselves by referring to alleged statements or interviews by Francis. But in doing so, they exceed their competence. There have been many heretical bishops throughout history. This pro-rainbow blessing scheme is clear heresy. To legitimize it, they cannot cite a moment when the Pope said something to them. Even if the Pope actually said so, they can never institute the blessing of same-sex couples as if it were marriage. That's absolutely impossible. It is not within the competence of a pope to change revelation and the basis of Christian and Catholic morality. And certainly, neither can bishops' conference do this.
NBQ: Do you think that the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith should intervene to reprimand the Bishop of Antwerp?
Cardinal Müller: Yes, it must intervene.
NBQ: If you were still Prefect, would you have intervened?
Cardinal Müller: Maybe that's why they no longer wanted me as Prefect because I would have intervened (laughs, editor's note). That is the task of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. You can't just argue with political or diplomatic logic. The time has come to confess the truth.
Cardinal Mueller: As a theologian, I am not happy about this statement by Cardinal Roche. The belief is always the same. We cannot change beliefs. Theology evolves, but always on the basis of the same faith. The Second Vatican Council did not change belief in 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 from this good idea of the active participation of all believers. The external form of the liturgy has evolved, but there are no substantive changes. I think to express oneself, one should do so 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 the Second Vatican Council - teach that there has never been a single rite in the Catholic Church.
NBQ: So you see no threat to the unity of the Church in the so-called Tridentine Mass?
Cardinal Müller: No, not as such. There are some who say that this is the only orthodox form and that the form developed after Vatican II is invalid. These are extremists. But one should not react by wanting to hit a few extremists in an extremist way and punishing the great majority of these communities who love the Church, the Pope, and the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. There are extremists on both sides: on the one hand, there are those who say that orthodoxy depends only on the Rite. So the Greek Catholics don't have a true Mass? That is absurd. These public statements are made without deep thought.
Cardinal Müller: It would be better to follow the line of Benedict XVI. to hold, the greatest connoisseur of the liturgy and also the greatest theologian. The supreme authority of the Church must always seek reconciliation. It takes a dialectic to find a path to peace. In Christ, the Church is the symbol of the unity of mankind. And I'll add something else.
Cardinal Müller: These communities, linked to the so-called Latin Mass, suffer from the prejudice that they are enemies of the Second Vatican Council. But there are bishops in Germany who openly deny Vatican II! They question it or say it's just a stage in the past. They do not accept the teaching 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 promotes the blessing of homosexual couples, for example - there is practically no reaction?
NBQ: In 2022 the long-awaited reform of the Roman Curia saw the light of day, decided in the General Congregations before the Conclave in 2013. In your book, you write that "waiting for a plan from experts in politics, finance and economics to reform them misses the mark". So you don't agree with the innovation of Praedicate Evangelium that lay people can also become dicastery leaders.
Cardinal Müller: If you look at the dicastery as a kind of civil institution of the Vatican, the layman can also be a minister. But the Roman Curia is different from the Vatican City State. It is a Church institution. The congregations are now called 'dicasteries' to avoid an ecclesiological term. I am against the secularization of the Roman Curia. The head of the communication department can be a competent layman. But a clear distinction must be made between the institutions of Vatican City, which is a state and which the Church cannot govern. The Vatican has nothing to do with the Church.
NBQ: In plain language: a layman can be governor of Vatican City State but not direct the former Holy Office?
Cardinal Müller: Exactly. The basis of the Roman Curia is the College of Cardinals. There is a Roman Curia that serves the Pope in his ministry to the universal Church. I think those who designed these innovations didn't think about all of this. We've looked at the financial scandals, but haven't 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 business of our congregations and of the Pope as Pope, not as head of state.
In a dramatic appeal, well-known cardinals such as Robert Cardinal Sarah, Janis Cardinal Pujats, Gerhard Cardinal Müller and Joseph Cardinal Zen, as well as dozens of bishops, priests and intellectuals, warn to stop the establishment of totalitarian practices under the pretext of containing Covid 19 most countries have been introduced.
Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be wiped out with the excuse of a virus, to create a hideous technological tyranny in which nameless and faceless people decide the fate of the world by banishing us to a virtual reality.
The criminalization of personal and social relationships must be seen as an unacceptable part of the project of those who promote isolation in order to better manipulate and dominate them.
We demand that the restrictions on the celebration of public worship be lifted.
These statements are the key messages of the document, which is published in full here. The call by these brave cardinals can and should be supported .
CALL FOR THE CHURCH AND FOR THE WORLD to the Catholics and all people of good will
Veritas Liberabit Vos (Jn 8, 32)
At a time of great crisis, we pastors of the Catholic Church, because of our mandate, consider it our sacred duty to appeal to our confreres, the clergy, religious, the holy people of God, and all men and women of good will . This call is also signed by intellectuals, medical professionals, lawyers, journalists and other professionals who agree with the content. It can be signed by anyone who wants to make it their own.
Facts have shown that, under the guise of the Covid 19 epidemic, in many cases citizens' inalienable rights are violated and their fundamental freedoms are disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted, including the right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of movement. Public health must not and cannot be an alibi to violate the rights of millions of people around the world, let alone to relieve civil authorities of their duty to act with wisdom for the common good. This is all the more urgent, the more doubts are raised from various sides about the actual risk of infection, the danger and resistance to the virus:
We have reason to believe - based on official epidemic data on the number of deaths - that there are forces interested in causing panic among the population. In this way, they want to permanently impose forms of unacceptable restrictions on freedom, control of people and monitoring their movements. These illiberal measures of troubling precedent are a prelude to the creation of a world government that defies oversight.
We also believe that in some situations, containment measures, including the closure of businesses and establishments that have led to a crisis that has brought entire economic sectors to a standstill, have been taken to encourage interference from foreign powers, with serious social and political implications.
These forms of social engineering must be stopped by those in charge of government by taking measures to protect the citizens of whom they are representatives and in whose interests they must act, as is their serious duty. They must help and avoid the family, the cell of society, inappropriately disadvantaging the weak and the elderly and forcing them to painfully separate from their relatives. The criminalization of personal and social relationships must be condemned as an unacceptable part of a project to encourage isolation in order to better manipulate and control them.
We call upon the scientific community to ensure that the medical treatment of Covid-19 promotes a sincere concern for the common good and is therefore taken to avoid that dubious business interests influence the decisions of governments and international agencies. It is unreasonable to outlaw drugs that have proven to be effective and are often inexpensive, to give priority to treatments or vaccines that are not as effective but guarantee higher profits for pharmaceutical companies. This increases the cost of public health. As pastors, we are here to remind that it is morally unacceptable for Catholics to be treated with vaccines made from aborted fetuses.
We also urge the government to ensure that forms of control over people, be it through tracing systems or through any other form of localization, are to be strictly avoided. The fight against Covid-19, however serious it may be, must not serve as an excuse to support the opaque intentions of supranational organizations and groups that are pursuing very strong political and economic interests with this project. In particular, the citizens must be given the opportunity to reject restrictions on personal freedoms and to be punished to avoid an imminent obligation to vaccinate and not to use tracing systems or similar instruments.
Note also the obvious contradiction of those who, on the one hand, pursue a policy of drastically reducing the population and at the same time present themselves as saviors of mankind, even though they have no legitimacy, neither a political nor a social one. Ultimately, the political responsibility of those who represent the people cannot under any circumstances be delegated to "experts" who - and this is truly worrying - call for forms of criminal immunity for themselves.
We urge the media to forcefully, to actively commit to an accurate transfer of information and to allow dissent, rather than how widespread in social media, in the press and on television now, exercise, forms of censorship. Correct disclosure of information means that other voices that deviate from the prevailing opinion are also given space. This enables citizens to consciously evaluate the facts themselves and not to be influenced by strong partisan statements. A democratic and honest debate is the best antidote to the danger of subtle forms of dictatorship, probably worse than those that our society has seen and passed in the recent past.
Finally, as shepherds who are responsible for the flock of Christ, let us remember that the Church insists on claiming autonomy in leadership, worship, and preaching. This autonomy and freedom of the Church is a fundamental right that the Lord Jesus Christ gave it so that it can pursue the goals that are its own. For this reason, as shepherds, we expressly claim the right to make independent decisions about the celebration of Holy Mass and the sacraments. We also demand the recognition of our full autonomy in all matters that come under the direct responsibility of Church authority, such as: the liturgical norms and the legal requirements for the donation of Holy Communion and the administration of the Sacraments. The state has no right whatsoever to interfere in the sovereignty of the Church for whatever reason.The rights of God and believers are the supreme law of the Church, which it can neither do without nor want to do without. We therefore request that the restrictions on the celebration of public services be lifted.
We invite all people of good will not to evade their duty to contribute to the common good, everyone according to their status and opportunities, in the spirit of brotherly love for others. However, this cooperation desired by the Church cannot be separated from respect for natural law or the safeguarding of individual freedoms. The civil law obligations of citizens imply that the state recognizes their rights.
We are all called to assess the current facts in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel. This requires a decision: either with Christ or against Christ! Let us not be intimidated or even frightened by those who want to make us believe that we are only a minority: the good is much more widespread and powerful than the world wants us to believe. We are fighting an invisible enemy who wants to separate the citizens, the children from their parents, grandchildren from their grandparents, believers from their pastors, students from their teachers and customers from their sellers. Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be wiped out under the pretext of a virus, to erect a despicable technocratic tyranny, in which people, whose names and faces are unknown, can decide the fate of the world by banishing us to a virtual reality. If this is the plan by which the powerful of this world want to bow us, then they should know that Jesus Christ, King and Lord of History, has promised that "the powers of darkness" will not prevail (Mt 16:18)
Let us entrust the rulers and all those who control the fate of the nations to Almighty God so that He may enlighten and guide them in this difficult moment of crisis. You should remember that, just as the Lord will judge us shepherds for His flock that He has entrusted to us, He will also judge those who are responsible for defending and governing their people.
We want to pray to the Lord with firm faith so that He may protect the Church and the world. May the Blessed Virgin, help of Christians, crush the head of the old serpent and destroy the plans of the sons of darkness.