When a Cardinal Corrects a Pope
Fatima Perspectives #1276
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, sacked by Pope Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2017, has clearly had enough of the man from Argentina and his willy-nilly trashing of Catholic doctrine in favor of his personal opinions.
The triggering event for Müller’s publication of a Manifesto of Faith appears to have been Francis’ joint declaration with Ahmed el-Tayeb, “Grand Imam of al-Azhar,” in which Francis declares: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”
The desperate claim that Francis was merely referring to the permissive will of God — that is, His toleration of evil in the world — is utterly demolished by John Lamont in this article. Lamont’s principal and quite answerable points are these:
- The objects of God’s “permissive” will are precisely the things that He does not will but merely allows to occur.
- It cannot reasonably be denied that Francis intended to say that God positively wills the existence of false religions because “religious pluralism is classed together with other differences such as colour, sex, race, and language that are not evil in themselves, and that are positively willed by God.”
- Since Pope Francis uttered this facially heretical statement in a document signed jointly with el-Tayeb, it can reasonably be viewed only as a statement of their mutual belief that God positively wills the existence of Islam, for it can hardly be supposed that el-Tayeb believes that God merely tolerates Islam’s existence as a false religion.
The Müller Manifesto can only be seen as a correction of the errors that Francis himself is propagating, even if Francis is not identified by name: namely, religious indifferentism, the obscuration of Christ’s divinity and peremptory authority over men and nations so as not to offend people like el-Tayeb, the watering down of Catholic teaching on morality and the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion, the consequent practical abandonment of the concept of mortal sin, ominous hints that priestly celibacy may be abandoned in certain places such as the Amazon — leading, of course, to another exception that becomes the rule — and intimations that women may be ordained as “deacons” even though they are ontologically incapable of receiving any degree of Holy Orders.
Thus, Müller affirms the following truths of the Faith in the midst of the unprecedented confusion this pontificate has engendered:
- Christ is God Incarnate, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and “one who denies His divinity [is] an antichrist…”
- Christ founded the Catholic Church as the “instrument of salvation” through which “Christ becomes present in time and space via the celebration of the Holy Sacraments,” and the Church “conveys with the authority of Christ the divine revelation, which extends to all the elements of doctrine, ‘including the moral teaching, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, and observed’…”
- “The moral law is the work of divine wisdom and leads man to the promised blessedness (CCC 1950). Consequently, the ‘knowledge of the divine and natural law is necessary’ to do good and reach this goal (CCC 1955). Accepting this truth is essential for all people of good will. For he who dies in mortal sin without repentance will be forever separated from God.”
- Accordingly, “civilly remarried divorcees, whose sacramental marriage exists before God… cannot receive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully (CCC 1457) because it does not bring them to salvation. To point this out corresponds to the spiritual works of mercy.”
- “The ordination of the priest ‘gives him a sacred power’ (CCC 1592), which is irreplaceable, because through it Jesus becomes sacramentally present in His saving action. Therefore, priests voluntarily opt for celibacy as ‘a sign of new life’…”
- “With a view to receiving the ordination in the three stages of this ministry [NOTE: including ordination to the diaconate] the Church is ‘bound by the choice made by the Lord Himself. That is why it is not possible to ordain women.’(CCC 1577). To imply that this impossibility is somehow a form of discrimination against women shows only the lack of understanding for this sacrament, which is not about earthly power but the representation of Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church.”
Müller, quoting Saint Paul, concludes on an apocalyptic note with an appeal to the Blessed Virgin:
“To keep silent about these and the other truths of the Faith and to teach people accordingly is the greatest deception against which the Catechism vigorously warns. It represents the last trial of the Church and leads man to a religious delusion, ‘the price of their apostasy’ (CCC 675); it is the fraud of Antichrist. ‘He will deceive those who are lost by all means of injustice; for they have closed themselves to the love of the truth by which they should be saved’ (2 Thess 2:10)….
“Let us ask the Lord to let us know how great the gift of the Catholic Faith is, through which opens the door to eternal life. ‘For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables’… (2 Tim 4:1-5)…
“May Mary, the Mother of God, implore for us the grace to remain faithful without wavering to the confession of the truth about Jesus Christ.”
The Manifesto is, tellingly, signed “Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 2012-2017” — a reference to the office from which Francis sacked him in order to remove an impediment to his designs. Those designs involve, as everyone knows, the Modernist theology of Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom Francis has been extolling and elevating into prominence almost from the moment of his election. And, with dreary predictability, it was Kasper who sallied forth to denounce Müller on the ludicrous ground that Müller is another Luther, when it is precisely Kasper and his fellow German prelates who are installing a Lutheran version of the Faith in Germany, including the condonation of divorce and “remarriage.”
Quoth Kasper with unabashed hypocrisy:
“[I am] reminded, and nearly verbatim, of Martin Luther’s argumentation. Also Luther at the time rightly criticized much in the Church. But the Antichrist-accusation was even then inappropriate – as today also our Lutheran partners of dialogue say. Is there behind the manifesto a Luther redivivus [reborn], one who rightly works for reforms in the Church, but then wishes to impose them while bypassing the Pope and working against him?”
And so it goes in the midst of this increasingly chaotic pontificate: the defenders of Catholic doctrine against the errors of Francis are denounced as if they were rebellious Protestant “reformers” undermining the Pope, while at the same time Catholic churchmen prostrate themselves before all manner of degenerate Protestantism in the name of “ecumenism,” heaping praise on Luther himself!
The Müller Manifesto is a welcome development. But it is not even the beginning of what must be done to impede the papal steamroller whose path of destruction has finally forced Müller to stand in its way. Only when a sufficient number of cardinals and bishops stand with him, can there be any hope, humanly speaking, of an effective correction of what has to be seen as the most wayward papacy in Church history.