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‘Catholics ought to avoid extremes’

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, speaks exclusively to Mary O’Regan

By on Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Archbishop Gerhard Müller (CNS)

Archbishop Gerhard Müller (CNS)

The scariest thing about visiting the office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was getting past the Swiss Guard. It was a wet December day in Rome as I ambled across the cobbled streets, polished with rain, towards the guard who manned the side of the CDF offices, near St Peter’s. The thought of interviewing one of the top members of the Church hierarchy, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, was making my nerves tingle.

Just as I was about to speak to the Swiss Guard, a lady stepped in front of me and started asking him if there was any chance she could meet the Pope. Some minutes passed and, eventually, I had to interrupt: “I have an appointment with Archbishop Müller, may I pass through?” The guard looked at me sceptically. I told him my name and offered him my passport. He nodded and said that I would have to go through security. Going into a little cabin, I met two jolly security officers who gave me less trouble than one receives at an airport. The Swiss Guard was satisfied that I was trustworthy, and let me pass into the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio.

There was an aura of absolute calm and stillness about the hallowed marble halls of the former Holy Office. Archbishop Müller’s secretary, a young, energetic Polish priest, welcomed me into a majestically decorated meeting room with gold-patterned walls. The secretary lit the Advent wreath, which he then placed in the centre of the table. A door opened and in strode the tall figure of Archbishop Müller. He had a poker-straight posture, a shock of white hair, lively brown eyes and a warm smile. His handshake was firm, gentle and not at all harsh. Most disarmingly, he was evidently keen to do an interview with a journalist who had just flown in from London.

Archbishop Müller said he was happy to answer “all the questions” and didn’t make any specifications of the “you can’t ask me that” variety. His openness was so refreshing that my nervousness disappeared. If it were possible, he would spend half an hour answering each question, but because we didn’t have days at our disposal he answered quickly and didn’t mince his words.

I asked him about the first time he showed signs of wanting to be a priest. “When I was four, the Bishop of Mainz came to our local village of Finthen to administer the sacrament of Confirmations,” he said. “When I saw the bishop with his staff and mitre, apparently I said to my mother: ‘That’s what I’d like to be! A bishop!’”

The 65-year-old, whom Pope Benedict appointed as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in July, said his parents were “very surprised” to learn that he had a vocation, because “they were humble people and couldn’t imagine that their son would become a priest”. His father was “a simple worker” at the German car manufacturer Opel. The youngest of four children, he grew up in a close-knit, working-class family in a village that had been a Roman settlement. He emphasised that his parents were very diligent in their practice of faith and “always, always practised every detail of the faith, not leaving anything out”. Initially, his mother was the biggest influence on his faith, and as a family they recited the rosary every day. With a tinge of sorrow in his voice, he said that his parents did not live to see him consecrated Bishop of Regensburg in 2002.

Getting into a deeper discussion about how he realised his priestly vocation, I asked if there was any conflict of interest between his life in the world and his religious calling, to which he answered plainly: “No. It was a very harmonious transition. Growing up, I had been an altar server and always involved in Catholic youth groups. Before seminary I was taught by priests in secondary school, and so going to live with them in the seminary in order to train as a priest was not so different.” But he did stress that he put himself through much rigorous self-examination to make sure that he had “a true vocation, which only comes from Jesus, and not just mental imaginings of a vocation. I asked myself if I was willing to make a sacrifice of my life for God.” 

The archbishop developed this, in a way that showed he was ever mindful of the essential foundations of Catholicity. “Of course you must ask yourself if you can live without wife and family,” he said. “You must find out if you are willing to sacrifice your life, in the Christological sense of sacrifice.  Every mother or father gives their life for their children and their family. The priest, as father of the family of God, has to give his life and must not remain self-centred or egoistic. We must live as Jesus did, to give our life for the other.”

Ordained in 1978, Fr Müller was an assistant priest in three parishes and taught catechism in surrounding secondary schools. In 1977, he submitted a dissertation on the Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s sacramental theology. In 1985, so that he would be eligible to be a professor of theology, he wrote a second doctoral thesis on Catholic devotion to the saints. The “Karl Rahner connection” is that Archbishop Müller’s doctoral supervisor for both his theses was Professor Karl Lehmann, who received his doctorate under Karl Rahner. In 1986, Fr Müller was made professor of Catholic dogmatic theology in Munich, a position he held until John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Regensburg.

Pope Benedict appointed him the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith 10 years after he became a bishop. At the same time, he was elevated to archbishop. One thing in particular from his priestly formation guides him to present day: he recalls that he read Joseph Ratzinger’s book Introduction to Christianity when he was a seminarian. “It was a new book at the time, and the concentrated theological insights are ever present in my mind to this day,” he said.

I invited him to comment on what he enjoyed most about his prestigious post. He said with deep seriousness: “Being in the service of the Holy Father. And trying to make unity possible for all believers.” 

He added: “This Congregation is also a very enjoyable place to work. There is a high level of professionalism and a real spirit of collaboration among the officials here.”

As Prefect of the CDF, Archbishop Müller is responsible for the implementation of the apostolic constitution  Anglicanorum Coetibus. He was keen to talk about the great benefits which have come to the Church through the inclusion of these communities of Anglicans, with their pastors, into Catholic life. Commenting on the ecumenical dimension of the personal ordinariates, he said: “It’s not only the will of the Holy Father, but it is the will of Jesus Christ that all the baptised are drawn together into full visible communion. In this way Anglicanorum Coetibus is both a fruit of the ecumenical dialogues of the last 40 years and an expression of the ultimate goal of the ecumenical movement. 

“What we notice particularly from the clergy who are applying for ordination in the various ordinariates is that there has been a rediscovery in some Anglican and Protestant circles of the importance and the necessity of the papacy in order to maintain the authentic link with biblical Christianity against the pressures of secularism and liberalism. Many of those who have entered into full communion through the ordinariates have sacrificed a great deal in order to be true to their consciences. They should be welcomed wholeheartedly by the Catholic community – not as prodigals but as brothers and sisters in Christ who bring with them into the Church a worthy patrimony of worship and spirituality.”

One of Archbishop Müller’s trickier tasks is overseeing the reconciliation process with the Society of St Pius X. When I probed to get an idea of the current situation between Rome
and the SSPX, Archbishop Müller answered pithily: “There remain misunderstandings about Vatican II, and these must be agreed upon. The SSPX must accept the fullness of the Catholic faith, and its practice.

“Disunity always damages the proclamation of the Gospel by darkening the testimony of Jesus Christ.

“The SSPX need to distinguish between the true teaching of the Second Vatican Council and specific abuses that occurred after the Council, but which are not founded in the Council’s documents.”

Archbishop Müller stressed that he is in no way “against” traditionalist Catholics and does not have a personal dislike of the SSPX. “But we need to address the practical issues that cannot be ignored. Many in the SSPX have learned theological errors, and they must learn the true sense of the tradition of the Catholic Church. It’s not about conserving a certain time stage in history, it’s a living tradition.”

Our discussion then touched on the invalidity of ordaining women to the priesthood and why same-sex marriage could only ever be marriage in name and not reality. Archbishop Müller is
by profession and nature a theology professor and that love of teaching has never left him.

Focusing on a difficulty experienced by ordinary Catholics in parishes, I asked his advice on what to do when one is stuck in the middle between traditionalists and progressives. I told him that it was something that I was grappling with and that often I found myself caught in the crossfire between warring traditionalists and progressives, both in social media and in real life. Archbishop Müller responded: “Catholics must avoid these extremes, because such extremes are against the mission of the Church. In the world of politics, you have extremes of Right and Left. But the Church is united in Jesus Christ and in our common faith. We must avoid the politicisation of the Church.”

Did he have a message for people on the extreme fringes? “Everyone who is Catholic must ask themselves if they are cherry-picking points from the Church’s teachings for the sake of supporting an ideology. Which is more important, an ideology or the faith? I want to say to people in extreme groups to put their ideology to one side and come to Jesus Christ.”

The interview was running over time, so he asked me if I had any other questions. I piped up: “Will you be going on Twitter?”

He chuckled and replied: “No, I won’t ever go on Twitter! But the Pope will reach many more people by his Twitter account.”

Archbishop Müller has been an ardent admirer of the Holy Father since his seminary years and now they work side by side. They are also good friends. Talking about his working relationship with the Pope since he took over from Cardinal William Levada as Prefect of the CDF, Archbishop Müller said: “Every week, we meet for one hour. In private, we speak in our mother tongue, German, but in an official context we must speak Italian.”

Before leaving, I asked Archbishop Müller for his blessing, which he gave very reverently in Latin. He smiled brightly at me and we wished each other a happy Christmas.

After the interview I reflected that meeting the Prefect in the flesh was an altogether different experience from what I had expected when reading about him. The kindly archbishop is very friendly and good-humoured, and not the figure who is painted as hard and indifferent by progressives whose agenda he criticises. Nor is he the woolly liberal he is painted as by ultra-traditionalists, who have taken brief lines out of context from his huge collection of theological writings. Instead, he has a steadfast, steely determination to heals divisions in the Church.  

If Benedict XVI is “the Pope of Christian unity”, then it is to his eternal credit that he has appointed as Prefect of the most important Congregation in Rome a man so totally dedicated to the unity of the Church.

  • Charles

    Progressive Marxists have hijacked Vatican II points that are not sufficiently precise for their own ends. Many conservatives have erroneously believed the Left’s propaganda and understandably react against it.
    1. Religious freedom means that the Church supports political freedom of religion. It does not mean that the church considers all religions equal.
    2. Ecumenism means the gradual returning of lost sheep back to the Church. It does not mean watering down Catholicism to make it just another protestant denomination.
    3. Social justice means freedom of opportunity for all. It does not mean Communistic centralized government and redistribution of wealth.
    Clarity and precision is key to solving VII misunderstandings.

  • Robert Nugent, SDS

    A rather timid interview with lots of soft balls being lobed the Archbishop’s way.
    Too bad she missed a valuable opportunity to ask some of the hard questions facing the universal Church today and engage in a real dialogue, rather than a well-orchestrated “puff  piece.”

  • paulpriest

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fK2Rss-nwI

  • WBC

    While I certainly agree with you on points 1 and 2, I am afraid that there is much in Caritas in Veritate that suggests the Holy Father does indeed favor wealth distribution by a powerful central government.  The encyclical is economically incoherent.

  • Scholar

    Another good choice who could be the next Poe. Its a relationship between two Germans almost like teacher (Ratzinger/Benedict XVI) and student (Muller) With this appointment Benedict remains in the driving seat

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5GFNFELZB3FWLXJ7P55OSA3UN4 Sylvester

     Dear Friends,

    Archbishop Muller,as a theologian and a progressive advocates for religious freedom and Christian unity,but it should not be at the cost of traditionalists!Catholic Tradition itself is Christian Unity by and large.It all started with the liberalization which was not given proper thought!Europe was once a united Empire of Christ!Now,catholicism has been dying at the hands of progressives at large.Ninety percent and over catholic children do not know the catholic heritage and its real values and they do not know what Christ means to their day to day life both personal and social in a smaller context even.Catholicism in Europe seems to be an empty coffin!We talk and talk big and big much about Christ and we become more and more unchristian in the absence of true catholicism.Its time to act not to talk just for the sake of holding high offices.Come down to earth,be practical and prove ourselves true christian and catholics in our daily life.Let us stop mud slinging at traditionalists who concentrate on catholic spirituality.What we have done to bring back Christ into the lives of gentle and humble Europeans?What efforts have we taken to stop the disintegration catholicism in Europe?Do we know that Arabs are buying Europe and Islam is spreading so fast to wipe out Christianity from the continent?Shortage of true priests,nuns,catechists in the land of great missionaries.Why?Have we taken any step to import atleast lay missionaries from other countries like India into Europe to re-evangelize christians?I weep for the great Empire of Christ!Is Pope Ratzinger or Archbishop Muller listening to my lamentation?Let them respond to the call.If not to me to their conscious minds and the vibrating hearts!Let us change ourselves.

    Professor & Head
    Department of Basic Studies
    DMI-St.John The Baptist University
    P.O.Box.406
    Mangochi
    Malawi.

    fsylvester1956@yahoo.in      +265 994654613

     

  • Sweetjae

    I agree.

  • Sweetjae

    I totally agree with the Archbishop that we true Tradition is not about conserving a certain time frame of history rather it is a LIVING Tradition!

    If we go just paraphrasing certain teachings back in some point in time of history, we will end up with no Tradition at all.

  • Charles Martel

     Heaven forbid!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter
  • Charles Martel

    Archbishop Müller falls straight into the Hegelian trap of always assuming there is a right and a left and a reasonable centre. To say to a Catholic that he must avoid extremes is utterly void of any real meaning. The world calls Catholics extreme because we oppose the killing of innocent unborn life. Protestants call us extreme because we say the bread at Mass truly becomes the body of Christ. Extreme is a useless concept in theology and it’s shocking that this man casually injects such a shoddy secular and liberal concept into the debate.
    Also, needless to say, His Grace’s concept of ‘living tradition’ is utterly meaningless. Tradition is Catholic theology means what is handed down to us from the Apostles. The inventors of ‘living tradition’ are simple trying to hoodwink us into accepting a Telhardian evolutionary theory of doctrine, where by whatever the leaders of the Church tell us is automatically endowed with the weight of tradition, and perhaps even more important than dead tradition, because ‘living’ always sounds so much more appealing than ‘dead’. Beware! None of this has anything to do with Catholicism.

  • Claudia

     The Islamofascists are winning because they strongly believe they are right; the spineless cowards that are the modern European men don’t even believe there is a right (other than politically correct liberalism). The psychological castration of men in Europe is the beginning of its demise.

  • Sweetjae

    First paragraph the archbishop was right. There are extremes and extremes could be used in any interpretive theological debates. The diametrically opposing positions of Feeneyites from Universalists on the same Traditional Texts, the position of the Old Catholics from the position of Papolatry on the same Scriptural and Traditional texts. Both were extreme in their interpretion and both were wrong.

    Second paragraph, Tradition also importantly refers to the organic, active and living Tradition. What Pope Boniface VIII had written (Bull of Unam Sanctam) is part of the Deposit of Tradition today. He was the Magisterial authority during his time in charge of properly interpreting past written Tradition before him and so on and so forth. However, we can not ask Pope Boniface VIII of what his Bull really meant for us as it applies today because he is dead. The only right authority Commisioned by Christ-God Himself is not me nor Bishop Fellay nor the SSPX. This was exactly the reason why the Council of Trent clarified and taught that non-catholics can also be saved provided some conditions.

    If you lived during the Apostolic age particularly before the Council of Jerusalem, would you consider circumcision as requirement to be Christian? If no, then why consider this “non-requirement” as not an evolutionary theological doctrine that time?

  • Sweetjae

    No one is denying there are corruptions and sins not exempting the Catholic Church (for Pete’s sake, even the first Pope, St. Peter is a bonafide sinner, The great St. Paul was a genocidal maniac) however the arcticle you provided is just another diatribe and impression that is no different from the one put by Sedevacantist and Old Catholics.

  • Fr Malcolm Dyer FDP

    The new prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith seems a wonderfully balanced successor of the apostles dedicated to a proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council and Christian Unity.

  • paulpriest

    Sorry – it’s your understanding of Catholic social teaching which is incoherent if you think it’s Neo-Con Ayn Randian libertarianism…

  • WBC

    In the encyclical the Holy Father twice (35 and 37) refers to free market exchanges as exchanges of “equivalent value.” He calls for government intervention to achieve “distributive justice” (35) and four times calls for direct government intervention for the purposes of wealth “redistribution” (32, 36, 37, 39, 42, 49).

    First, there is no competent economist in the world that believes free market exchanges are exchanges of “equivalent value.” If the value of goods exchanged were “equivalent” there would be no exchange. Value is subjective and an exchange takes place precisely because the parties to the exchange value the goods differently. Both sides of the exchange believe that they are better off than before the exchange. The encyclical simply ignores that basic economic fact and is incoherent for that reason alone.

    Secondly, it makes no sense to talk of “redistributing” something that was never “distributed” in the first place. Markets do not distribute – they simply allow people to make economic decisions without coercion. There is no empirical evidence for the proposition that government can achieve distributive justice in the sense of making people better off and there is unlimited evidence that government attempts result in a universal tyranny. I’ve never read Ayn Rand and don’t have any interest in doing so. But I have read Von Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” and it might do some good if Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, who most probably wrote the Caritas in Veritate, would read it before he opines on subjects about which he knows little.

    And finally, what is it with your homoerotic avatar? Are you some gay seminarian from the Pink Palace in Baltimore harassing orthodox Catholics?

  • paulpriest

     Try reading a little Rerum Novarum, Quadragesima Anno, Pacem in Terris, Solicitudio Rei Socialis etc…

    Then try Matthew 25, maybe a little Nichomachean and Summa too…

    I think you’ll also find GK Chesterton’s ‘Outline of Sanity’ invaluable to answering your questions [of course you might think him some irrelevant limey commie pinko fag?]

    The avatar was actually chosen by my daughter

  • WBC

    Sigh…

    The Social Doctrine of the Church is not de fide. Economics is a real science, it exists in the real world, and all the wishing in the world does not change the way that economic exchange (free or otherwise) works. Moreover, Jesus told us to be charitable, but he never asked for Rome to redistribute wealth. Government schemes for social levelization have nothing to do with charity because one simply cannot be charitable with someone else’s money.

    Rerum Novarum is particularly interesting because it condemned the abuses of capitalism at the very time that capitalism was, in fact, improving the economic lives of workers. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries nutrition, life expectancies and infant mortality rates were all markedly improving for the very people that Pope Leo insisted were being victimized. What he (and a great many “progressives” of the era) observed was social dislocation – which is not at all the same thing as impoverishment. Popes do make mistakes, and the Holy Spirit does not protect the Magisterium from saying dumb things on occasion. I don’t believe any of the social encyclicals properly address the problems posed by social engineering by central governments. And since the Hierarchy in most instances opposes government intrusion into matters best left to individuals (e.g., the education of their children), it is difficult to conceive of how the Church can expect a government to recognize some freedoms while having the power to destroy others. Again, the doctrine (small “d”) is incoherent.

    I love G.K. Chesterton. But he was a Fabian Socialist and shared many of the economic views of his nemesis, G.B. Shaw. He never claimed to be impeccable, and you shouldn’t try to make the claim for him.

    Your daughter must be going through a Justin Bieber phase.

  • teigitur

    lol …..how wrong can one be!!!

  • WBC

    I’m not sure who you are saying is wrong. Either way, let me say that I have the greatest love and respect for the Holy Father and believe that he has simply been misled by some of his collaborators on issues in which he has no practical or academic experience. Although he is the foremost theologian of the present time, many of the matters he addresses in his encyclical are simply not amenable to theological analysis.

  • paulpriest

    Hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa………..
    Merry Christmas :)

  • WBC

    How erudite. May I point out that you’ve not actually made arguments but merely recited the titles of encyclicals that you most probably have not read? The fact remains that the Church has no special competence in the area of economic policy and Catholics are free to question the wisdom and efficacy of even the Holy Father’s writings on the subject.

    Yes, may you and yours have a Blessed Christmas.

  • paulpriest

     read them, learned them, excelled in exams in them, lectured in them, catechise[d] them, written on them, argued them in the debating chamber…

    I repeat: Matthew 25.

    You’re wrong.
    End of story…equivocate all you wish.

  • WBC

    Sigh …

    1. In Matthew 25, and elsewhere in the Gospels, we are told to be charitable. Forced redistribution of wealth by government is not charity by any possible definition of the term. Giving away other people’s property under threat of prison is not charity.
    2. Name a single historical example of redistributionist policy working. The current debt crises in Europe and the United States amply demonstrate that government is inherently incapable of producing “social justice” by coercion. Lord Acton was right about power and Margaret Thatcher was right about socialism.
    3. The strange thing about Caritas in Veritate is that it begins by acknowledging that the Church has no special competence in economic policy and cannot proscribe policy – and then proceeds to do just that. Cardinal Turkson clearly overreached.
    4. You still have not made a single argument – “debating chamber” my aunt fanny.
    5. You’re wrong. End of story. And you appear not to know what “equivocate” means.

  • paulpriest

     It’s Christmas – I’m recovering from an accident and working full-time – I CHOOSE not to argue with you – especially as you have repeatedly implied I’m a fool, a liar a scoundrel a liar and a sexual reprobate….your positions are not merely ideologically repulsive your extrapolations are grounded upon that which is factually incorrect – justify your intellectual pornography to those who care to listen…I wipe from my feet the dust of your contumacious pig-ignorant blindness to reality – the Church tells you you’re wrong; your Lord and Saviour repeatedly repudiates your Lucrative Leviathan that despoils and lays waste everything in its wake…even in the US one can always drive through the desolation of ghost town after ghost town in the post-industrial north-east where people live in places that resemble the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse [with fewer prospects]
    There is no such thing as a free profit..somebody pays…even if their existence or their forced impoverishment is equivocated – YES EQUIVOCATED away – somebody is denied their human dignity….but none more than those who worship that ludicrous idol and dismiss the teaching of the Beatitudes that the only happiness will be found by being poor in spirit….

  • WBC

    1. Yes it it Christmas, and I’m working as well.
    2. Intellectual pornography? You are delirious. I have made none of the accusations you claim.
    3. The Church tells me that government has a duty to take from the few to give to the many. Experience tells me that in practice the power of redistribution is exercised by taking from the many and giving to the few. The Church provides no historical example of such policies ever having provided “social justice” despite a century of experimentation by socialist governments. I repeat, this teaching is not de fide and faithful Catholics are free to question its wisdom.
    4. On the other hand, by Lord tells me to practice charity until it hurts. I pay taxes until it hurts and I give of my substance until it hurts. I get a great deal more satisfaction from the latter and have great misgivings about the practical effects of the former.
    5. To equivocate is to hide dishonest argument by use of ambiguity. I have done no such thing.
    6. Rapid improvement in living standards by every available metric (nutrition, life expectancy, infant mortality) during the very time that Pope Leo wrote Rerum Novarum is historical fact. It is not honest to condemn capitalist abuses while ignoring capitalism’s successes.
    7. Your reference to the post-industrial ghost towns of the rust belt is naive at best. You cannot accuse capitalism of having destroyed those once-prosperous towns without acknowledging that capitalism built them in the first place. And if you really wish to see a “zombie apocalypse” try a kleptocracy such as Greece or Venezuela where redistributionist policies were implemented without ever having tried free markets in the first instance. Blaming markets for economic decline without argument and without factual basis is not productive.
    8. I often work with people who are welfare dependent. Human dignity is not something that immediately comes to mind when seeing the results of such policy.
    9. I congratulate you on the strength and literacy of your denouncement – however misguided. It was a pleasure to read.
    10. I am sorry for your accident and wish you a speedy recovery.

  • 12Maria34

    I agree …

  • An_Piobaire

    Note Bp Fellay’s own comment on the ‘Talks’ … [Fellay Sermon 11 Nov 2012]

    http://www.sspx.org/superior_generals_news/bishop_fellay_sermon_extracts_paris_11-11-2012.htm

    “… we are asked to accept that “the Council is an integral part of this Tradition.” That means that the Council would be “Tradition”, would be traditional. For forty years now we have been saying the contrary, not just for fun but: … “We are obliged to note”—the facts demonstrate it to us—that this council is an agreed-upon decision to do something new. And this is not a matter of just any innovation, a superficial novelty, but rather a profound innovation that is in opposition to, in contradiction with what the Church had taught; indeed, the Church had even condemned it. It was not just for fun that we have been in this battle for so many, many years, against these innovations, these conciliar reforms that are demolishing the Church and making it a ruin. And here’s what they tell us: the condition is to agree that “the council is an integral part of Tradition”….

    It doesn’t take a doctorate.  Reading some of the Council’s documents one will encounter statements that previously had been formally condemned, virtually word for word.  It’s not my opinion, or anybody else’s; just read it.

  • An_Piobaire

    Agreed. It is a terribly dangerous trap, fully exploited by the Marxists, to change the meanings of words and then to go on using the same words.  Astonishingly, the leaders of the Church have fallen into it.  This is the crux of the issue with the SSPX.  I have believed for many years that the problem is a theological blindness inflicted on the church as a Body in punishment for our failure to obey Our Lady of Fatima.  Sr Lucy herself spoke of the ‘diabolical disorientation’  afflicting the Church.  [this does not mean that individual members are diabolists!  It means that the devil has been allowed dislodge the ability to think clearly.  This is why prayer for these well-meaning prelates is an urgent necessity.  I recommend http://www.fatima.org

  • An_Piobaire

    Sorry, Charles Martel, I’m trying to ‘reply’ to your comment below: the trap of defining as ‘tradition’ the novelties of the past 50 years. But the software is sending my reply away from your own comment. New readers, please see his comment below.

  • Inquisator

    That final caustic comment in reply to Paulpriet says much more about you than you could possibly imagine. Not only was it an unChristian comment – it could be regarded as very revealing. Are you married by any chance?

  • Inquisator

    ……. And there we have it again!!!

  • Inquisator

    More delusional nonsense

  • WBC

    It was a straightforward question. Given the influence of the Lavender Mafia on institutions of priestly formation, it’s even a prudential question. In any event, you’re being a prig.

  • WBC

    My, you really are a prig, aren’t you?

  • Robin Leslie

    Yes we certainly need to avoid bourgeois Christianity! Since the Council in 1965 the Church in the UK has been increasingly populated by the middle class leading to a huge exodus of the working class
    (see ARCHER OP (Antony): THE TWO CATHOLIC CHURCHES: A STUDY IN OPPRESSION
     SCM Press 1986)
    The entire period since the end of the Council has been dominated by the middle class, and the
    three decades since 1980 embedded the Church as all other institutions in a vicious practical materialism that evacuated the human spirit from all our institutions and our collective life.
    I welcome Cardinal Mueller, especially his abandonment of didacticism and his adoption of  a
    hermeneutical or interpretive approach to the Church’s teaching. I think we are looking at a very different period for Catholics now, and all Catholics have to face Gethsemane, but they have to face it joyfully while living the faith!