The Pending “Reform” of the Roman Curia: Another Looming Disaster
Fatima Perspectives #1300
As reported by LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sacked by Pope Francis, is now sounding the alarm about the Pope’s impending “reform” of the Roman Curia, as revealed by a draft document set to be published at the end of June.
The document, an apostolic exhortation, is entitled “The Roman Curia and her service to the Church in the world today.” Here we go again with “the world today,” as if it were radically different from the world of yesterday merely because of the passage of time. When one sees “the world today” in any Vatican document of the post-conciliar epoch, one knows that another ruinous novelty is coming down the chute.
In this case, as Müller warns, the imminent overhaul of the Curia will require “‘doctrine’ … to take a backseat to ‘evangelization’” as the entire curia is levelled into a collection of co-equal dicasteries (mere departments), with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), once the chief curial office, now to be no more important than any of these other dicasteries, indeed no longer in existence at all.
Quoting the German daily Passauer Neue Presse, LifeSite’s Maike Hickson notes the Cardinal’s dire assessment that under this impending reform the Roman Curia “finds itself in a state of suspension [“ortlosen Schwebezustand”], because it is not anymore clearly oriented toward serving the Pope for the Universal Church.” The draft of the Apostolic Constitution, she says, “is a conglomeration of subjective individual ideas, pious wishes, and moral pleas along with individual quotations from Council texts and statements of the current Pope.”
What most concerns Müller is what preoccupied Father Gruner as well: the exaltation of the Vatican’s secular and diplomatic activities over those of the Faith as such. The draft document blurs the distinction “between the secular institutions of the Vatican as a sovereign state, the Holy See as a subject of International Law, and the ecclesiologically founded primacy of the Pope” who is, “as bishop of Rome, in the succession of the Apostle Peter, the visible principle and foundation of the unity.”
Just as Father Gruner did thematically in issue-after-issue of The Fatima Crusader and in this apostolate’s books and pamphlets, Cardinal Müller now laments (as Hickson reports) “the ‘fatal mistake’ [of] Pope Paul VI’s own earlier curial reform,” which under the impending “reform” is “now being worsened.” And, just as Father Gruner did, Müller now admits that “sometimes the Secretary of State has even ‘darkened’ the Pope’s ‘essential mission’” — as we see with the Vatican Secretary of State’s secretly negotiated betrayal of the Underground Church in China.
Overall, says Müller, “To now give today priority to the secular tasks over the spiritual mission is a mistake that urgently needs to be avoided” lest there be a “secularization of the concept of the Church” as “an international company” with national subsidiaries. And once the CDF is reduced to just another in a jumble of dicasteries — corporate departments, as it were — “What, then, is the difference between the Dicastery for Evangelization and the Dicastery for the … Is there on the one side an evangelization without content and on the other side the proclamation of the ‘Faith in Christ, the Son of the Living God’”?
Hickson notes a report by Crux that “Once the text is approved – which will be on a 25-year ‘trial period’ – the Vatican dicasteries will no longer be instruments for the pope to supervise local churches, but will actually be there to serve bishops from around the world. They will no longer be a ‘body’ in between the pontiff and the college of bishops, but an institution that serves both.”
To me it seems that something more sinister is afoot. This reform will only formalize the situation Francis has already created: the decommissioning of the CDF, to which he no longer pays any heed in promulgating his various novel opinions on such matters as Holy Communion for public adulterers and the declaration that capital punishment is now, according to him alone among all the Roman Pontiffs, immoral in every case.
This suspicion is confirmed by the news that under the reform there will be “a sort of ‘super dicastery’ for evangelization… which is to be more important than the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).” So, it seems that one co-equal dicastery will be more equal than the others.
But, as Fr. Thomas Weinandy, a courageous critic of this calamitous pontificate, has observed: “How can one preach the Gospel without telling others of the marvelous mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, or the great gift of the Sacraments, etc? Doctrine and the Church’s moral teaching is what evangelization is all about. It is the Good News!” Otherwise, he says, “What may be proclaimed would simply be empty words that do not bring life…”
Empty words that do not bring life. Is there a better description of the plethora of all-but-meaningless verbal novelties that have bedeviled the Church since Vatican II? What are the fruits of “ecumenism,” “dialogue,” “interreligious dialogue” and Francis’ “culture of encounter”? Nothing but confusion and a kind of fatal boredom with the current activities of the Church’s human element. And who, after all, would be attracted to a Church whose primary concerns these days appear to be “climate change,” wealth redistribution, and the promotion of mass Muslim migration into once Christian nations? No wonder vocations and Church membership have declined under this Pope despite his immense popularity with the worldly powers that be — indeed, because of it!
But let Francis do as he wishes and what God permits him to do. For it is God, not Francis or indeed any Pope, Who will have the final say about the current parlous state of ecclesial affairs. And it is His Blessed Mother who will be the instrument for undoing all the harm this pontificate and the previous half-century of foolhardy “reforms” have visited upon Holy Church.