Rorate Caeli

For the record: the Pope's praise for Bishop Gerhard Müller in 2007

From the Sancrucensis blog:




The following is a full translation of the salutation written by Pope Benedict XVI for a Festschrift [book of articles in honor of] the 60th birthday of [then] Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

Dear Bishop Gerhard Ludwig,

I wanted to contribute at least a salutation to the Festschrift for your 60th birthday. I well remember our first meeting when you gave me your dissertation on the Sacraments in the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. That was an ecumenical work of a unusual kind; everyone thinks that they know at least the main theses of that great Protestant thinker, but you showed surprising aspects of his thought, thereby inviting an encounter of a special kind. In the year 1995 you sent me your Dogmatic Theology. As far as I can see it is the only handbook of our field on the market written by a single author. It is thus able to reveal the whole structure of the world of the Catholic Faith in its inner unity. It also has the particular advantage of being limited to a size which makes it suitable as a text book for students. You thereby sent an important signal; theology, and even the field of dogmatic theology, is in danger of dissolving into specializations which obscure the greater whole, but every part of our Faith is only really intelligible in the light of the whole.

These encounters were primarily literary, but we became personally close in the years in which you were a member of the International Theological Commission, of which I (as prefect of the CDF) was president. We were all deeply impressed by your comprehensive knowledge of the whole history of dogma and theology, which your interventions always showed, and which was the foundation of your ever-reliable judgment. In everything we sensed that your theology was not just academic learning, but that it was and is – as the essence of theology demands – a thinking-with the word of the Faith, thinking-with the “we” of the Church as the communal subject of the Faith. You took care to make the work of the International Theological Commission better known in Germany, and in all those years you continually published important contributions on the pressing theological questions of the day. You made great efforts to explain the true meaning of the document “Dominus Jesus” which had so often been distorted in the reduction to a few slogans. As bishop of Regensburg you took the foundational biblical expression “Dominus Jesus: Jesus is the Lord” (Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3) as your motto, and by so doing you determined your agenda: Christ stands at the center of the episcopal ministry; He is the center of our Christian existence. At the time of your episcopal ordination, when the debate about the document beginning with those words was raging, your motto was a reminder that the Magisterium wanted thereby to call us back to the center of our Faith.

Now it has already been five years since the See of St Wolfgang was entrusted to you. You have had to endure many storms and more will surely come. But during this time no one could doubt that you wanted only the one thing: to give witness to Jesus Christ, in whom God has turned His Face toward us and opened His Heart for us. And so on your 60th birthday I hope pray that the Lord might help you to always remain His faithful witness and thus to be a “co-worker of our joy” (cf. 2 Cor 1:24)

Given at Rome on the Feast of St Hilary, 2007
Benedictus PP. XVI

49 comments:

P.K.T.P. said...

Question: Does this reflect well on Archbishop Müller or does it reflect poorly on the Pope. I'd say the latter. Let's just pray that Benedict XVI is also not a disciple of Gastavo Gutiérrez or Leonardo Boff.

P.K.T.P.

sam said...

Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God, the Father in heaven. Have mercy on us. God, the Son, Redeemer of the world. Have mercy on us. God, the Holy Spirit. Have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God. Have mercy us. That you restore to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth, and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel, we beg you to hear us. That you graciously hear us, we beg you to hear us. Son of God, we beg you to hear us.

JB said...

I haven't heard Guttierez's name in 25 years. I really thought the Church had moved past that LT fad. This is sad to me.

Bob F. said...

Has anyone yet pointed to anything in Muller's writings that indicate that he has adopted heretical liberation theology positions? Or, is Muller guilty of heresy by association? i.e. he must be a heretic because he occasionally he goes to Peru to visit one occasionally?

I am asking this in earnest. Please point to something besides his statements on the perpetual virginity, the nature of the Eucharist, etc. issues that have already been thoroughly fleshed out. I have not seen anything that actually suggests Muller has accepted heretical LT positions.

Prof. Basto said...

I pray to God that our Holy Father, happily reigning, will no longer create any additional cardinal of Holy Roman Church during what remains of His pontificate.

Otherwise, it will be a huge win for the Enemy.

Allison said...

Of all the worthy bishops in the world, why this man who is so controversial and who has spoken dozens of times so harshly against the SSPX? Why him? Why now?

MJ said...

When St. Dominic encountered wealthy Papal Legates traveling through France in 1208, he administered this famous rebuke concerning the conversion of the Albigensians:

"It is not the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-houseled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth."

St. Dominic won proselytes by embracing the Cathar's asceticism and poverty in an orthodox spirit.
The same strategy could be applied to modern heresies. Liberation theology has caused a crisis in the Latin American Church, but it won't be overcome through anathemas and censures. At its core, it is motivated by a misdirected Christian zeal for justice. Perhaps Pope Benedict's strategy is to purify liberation theology of its more problematic elements by embracing the truth it contains, just like he's done with the historical-critical method of interpreting scripture. If this is his plan, Mueller's appointment may go a long way in reevangelizing Latin America.

In the end, it's the Pope who's in a position to know what the real problems are in the Church, which automatically makes him more qualified than any of us to propose solutions. I think the most Catholic response to this appointment is to give His Holiness the benefit of the doubt and assume that as head of the Church, he knows what he's doing.

Dan said...

Bob F. said...

"Has anyone yet pointed to anything in Muller's writings that indicate that he has adopted heretical liberation theology positions?"

No. Conservative Catholics are right in that Traditionalists have gone overboard in their attacks on Archbishop Müller's "heresy."

Traditionalists need to get a grip.

Wilton's watermelons said...

At least he owns a biretta..

MJ said...

Allison,
It could be that Benedict desires the conversion of the SSPX even more than their reconciliation. Rome can't simply rubber stamp their proposals if they contain assertions inconsistent with Catholic dogma. To argue that the documents of an ecumenical council teach heresy (i.e. V2 on religious liberty) is a direct challenge to the doctrine of infallibility. Mueller's role might be to extract an honest and sincere submission to Petrine authority as a condition for reconciliation, a true conversion of spirit.

KSW said...

@MJ: Hear hear on St. Dominic and the purification of liberation theology! What a beautiful suggestion! God grant that it be so!

Barbara said...

I spoke to a priest professor of philosphy and theology about Archbishop Mueller's theological propostions - and he said indeed that they were inclined to heresy - if not completely so- I will talk to him more in-depth about it soon - when he will explain more fully point by point to me - I hope I understand!
Well, all I can say from what I've read about Archnishop Mueller
- he is not clear and he is "careless" about analysing sacred things - and that is troublsome to me - and I don't think traditionalists need to get a grip on things anymore than any oher members of the Church - for different reasons - though! While we should not be presumptious - we cannot switch off our brains - which might be the area the modernists and conservatives need to get a better grip on things? Just saying...

Tradical said...

Dan, Bob,

"... Traditionalists have gone overboard in their attacks ..."

Frankly, you haven't even seen a real "attack" yet.

What you have seen from the SSPX is legitimate questions.

These questions deserve answers since the writings of ++Muller appear to deviate significantly on a number of points of DOGMA.

Has it ever occurred to you that what the Church actually teaches is just a wee bit important as opposed to what people 'think' the Church Teaches?

JabbaPapa said...

I see this as a sign of hope -- anyone who is any good at theology will be orthodox, notwithstanding whether they are more traditional, more Roman, or more liberal minded in their personal views -- and what is needed from a Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the abnegation of personal opinion in favour of the Orthodoxy.

That the Holy Father was impressed enough with Müller's ability to do this to both write this letter and appoint him as Prefect is something that I would tend to put my trust in, despite one or two dodgy Müller quotes currently floating about the interspace.

Matt said...

P.K.T.P. said, "Does this reflect well on Archbishop Müller or does it reflect poorly on the Pope. I'd say the latter. Let's just pray that Benedict XVI is also not a disciple of Gastavo Gutiérrez or Leonardo Boff."

Thanks, PKTP. You asked the question for me. :-)

Really, though. What does one make of such a laud as this other than the Holy Father likes Müller's thinking. Pity the rest of us, I guess.

Matt said...

Dan said, "No. Conservative Catholics are right in that Traditionalists have gone overboard in their attacks on Archbishop Müller's 'heresy.' Traditionalists need to get a grip."

Müller's works speak for themselves as Traditionalists have pointed out. As far "Conversative Catholics," they're just to the right of a liberal along with their bigotry and condescension, evidently.

Louis said...

To put thing in context, Gutierrez has been teaching at the Angelicum, and holds a chair of theology at Notre Dame, IN.

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0701160.htm

New Catholic said...

I really do not know who these "Conservative Catholics" are. Are they Catholics who are willing to preserve Tradition less than Catholics are expected to? Because in that event they are not "Conservative" at all. Perhaps we can find a better name for them. Like "Progressives".

P.K.T.P. said...

I have it on good authority that Archbishop Müller goes to hear lectures every year from Gustavo Gutiérrez because he likes Peruvian coffee and can't get it fresh enough in Germany. He threatened to re-excommunicate S.S.P.X clerics in 2009 as a joke. He just wanted to see how the Pope would react. And he mentioned the sexual minutiæ of virginity in relation to our Lady owing to his deep Marian piety.

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P. said...

N.C.:

No, they are slow moving and slow-witted liberals: they are liberals in slow motion. But they do have certain special characteristics, like papalotry and especial love for the showman Pope, John Paul the Small. Santo Subito!

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P. said...

Jabba Papa:

You're kidding, right? You've never heard of the New Theology? it is better known by its French name.

Theology is not a unified system. There are differing theologies, and not all of them are orthodox.

P.K.T.P.

David, Glasgow said...

To argue that the documents of an ecumenical council teach heresy (i.e. V2 on religious liberty) is a direct challenge to the doctrine of infallibility.

This is to misunderstand the nature of infallibility, which is guaranteed only to two categories of teaching: (1) solemnly defined dogma (Extraordinary Magisterium) and (2) those teachings which have been taught "always, everywhere, and by all" (Ordinary and Universal Magisterium).

Any other teachings have no such guarantee of inerrancy. As Fr Shannon Collins pointed out regarding the statements of Archbishop DiNoia:

No council has ever claimed to have a universal infallibility regarding every word of every text. In most every council, it is those canons with anathema sits that are binding. Councils can have errors in them which can be corrected by the magisterium over time. Vatican II has a lot of problems and yes it has some real errors.

This seems to me most pressing question: can the documents of an ecumenical council contain errors? Theologically (i.e. many teachings are at the level of the authentic - non-infallible - magisterium) and historically (e.g the error concerning the form and matter of Ordination in the documents of the Council of Florence which was corrected by Pius XII) we can say "yes".

Socorro said...

No, you need to learn THE CATHOLIC FAiITH.

Socorro said...

My reply was directed to Dan. He needs to learn The Catholic Faith. The Catechism "My catholic Faith" would be very helpful to him.

John Fisher said...

Could some one tell me what the VatII teaching on religious liberty is? According to the actual document? According to the popular implementation? Surely a document can only be applied or interpreted in continuity! I wonder if anyone has examined the schema and various dubium asked by bishops with replies during the voting! So what is the teaching of vat II or religious liberty?

Steve said...

"Perhaps Pope Benedict's strategy is to purify liberation theology of its more problematic elements by embracing the truth it contains, just like he's done with the historical-critical method of interpreting scripture."

Yes, VCII's embrace of anti-Christian philosophies, trying to "purify" them has gone so well! Why not try to "purify" another rabid Communist anti-Christian ideology also.

What was that definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

Steve said...

P.K.T.P. said...

"I have it on good authority that Archbishop Müller goes to hear lectures every year from Gustavo Gutiérrez because he likes Peruvian coffee and can't get it fresh enough in Germany. He threatened to re-excommunicate S.S.P.X clerics in 2009 as a joke. He just wanted to see how the Pope would react. And he mentioned the sexual minutiæ of virginity in relation to our Lady owing to his deep Marian piety."

LOL! Good one PKTP!

Steve said...

"John Fisher said...
Could some one tell me what the VatII teaching on religious liberty is? According to the actual document? According to the popular implementation? Surely a document can only be applied or interpreted in continuity!"

It can't be done. DH teaches man has a right to public false worship that can only be curtailed by the state for reasons of public order. Tradition teaches error has no rights and public false worship can only be tolerated if a worse evil were to result from its suppression. Good luck trying to reconcile opposites. The principle of non-contradiction prevents it.

Tu es Petrus said...

John Fisher, here is Pope Leo XIII on true and false liberty. True liberty is the "right to fulfil one's obligations freely" whereas false liberty pretends that man has no such duties and even a "right to error" which is erroneous.

Libertas Praestantissimum said,

"Another liberty is widely advocated, namely, liberty of conscience. If by this is meant that everyone may, as he chooses, worship God or not, it is sufficiently refuted by the arguments already adduced. But it may also be taken to mean that every man in the State may follow the will of God and, from a consciousness of duty and free from every obstacle, obey His commands. This, indeed, is true liberty, a liberty worthy of the sons of God, which nobly maintains the dignity of man and is stronger than all violence or wrong -- a liberty which the Church has always desired and held most dear."

And Dignitatis Humanae said,

"It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom."

Steve said...

Bob F. said...
"Has anyone yet pointed to anything in Muller's writings that indicate that he has adopted heretical liberation theology positions? Or, is Muller guilty of heresy by association? i.e. he must be a heretic because he occasionally he goes to Peru to visit one occasionally?"

Here you go Bob...

http://www.cfnews.org/page10/page47/mull_stupidity.html

Did your commitment to the liberation theology endangers your appointment?

Muller: I do not know. If you know the Catholic faith, we know that to her essentially belong the social obligation, the responsibility for the world, the love of the poor. Liberation theology is a big word - but every Christian theology has something to do with the freedom of man. Also in South America in this context, it is about theological questions: Given the misery and indignity that many people around us can not imagine, given this glaring injustice, we can not simply go away with a pious raising of eyebrows about it. Faith and doing good go together. These are the two sides of a coin.

I am not Spartacus said...

The Pope wrote some praise in honor of his friend?

Is there no end to what that fiend will do?

David, Glasgow said...

That is a good quote, Tracy.

Here's one from Cardinal Siri:

It is necessary to realize that there is not only a solemn Magisterium and a simply Authentic Magisterium; between these two there is also the Ordinary Magisterium which is endowed with the charism of infallibility.(Renovatio, Oct-Dec, 1968)

This means that what we (unhelpfully) call "ordinary magisterium" can refer to both the infallibility of the Magisterium when it reiterates perennial Church teaching and to the authority of the members of the magisterium to teach. This is something that urgently needs to be recalled since there are 'conservative' Catholics who accuse those traditionally-minded Catholics who withhold assent to conciliar and post-conciliar novelties of "schism", "dissent", and "protestantism". As if there were no substantial difference between rejecting an infallible teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and withholding assent to a novelty taught by the authentic magisterium (which term refers to the authority of the ecclesia docens and not to the infallibility of what has been taught "always, everywhere, and by all") which gives every appearance of contradicting previous magisterial teaching.

Let us make this quite clear:

Insofar as the members of the magisterium (i.e. the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him) teach something that has not been previously defined as infallible (Extraordinary Magisterium) or something that has been repeatedly and unanimously taught by the magisterium since the end of public revelation (Ordinary and Universal Magisterium) then they can be in error.

It matters not whether this teaching be contained in a Papal allocution, Apostolic Exhortation, Wednesday Audience, or in a document of an ecumenical council. If a teaching neither contains its own guarantees of truth (i.e. the marks of a declaration of the Extraordinary Magsiterium) or does not belong to a series of acts over the history of the Church affirming the truth of that teaching (i.e. the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium) then that teaching is mere authenticum for which is there no guarantee of infallibility. The Ordinary Magisterium is only infallible insofar as it is traditional.

And - can we please get this straight? - even if a document is given the description "dogmatic constitution" this appellation does not automatically upgrade teachings of the authentic magisterium to infallible teachings. All that is not infallible is by necessity fallible, despite what some may doggedly - against the principle of non-contradiction - insist.

This is why the much-vaunted "hermeneutic of continuity" can only demand assent inasmuch as it can be demonstrated that the teachings of Vatican II are in continuity with previous magisterial teaching. It cannot demand assent on the basis that the documents of Vatican II cannot ipso facto contain error.

A Mom said...

Can someone please help me understand why some of our Bishops and Priests seem to be so fascinated with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his theology?

I am not implying criticism, but truly trying to understand it.

Mike said...

I am almost finished with Muller's book on the priesthood.

So far, it appears to me quite good...he quotes Lumen Gentium in places the SSPX would approve of,
slams a sociological approach to the Faith, etc.

Has anyone here who is very opposed to his appointment actually read one of his books?

Even one work?

Belgian Catholic said...

I always have the impression that theologians are living in ivory towers, while the world around them is falling apart and they don't even notice it!

JMR said...

Thank you David of Glasgow for clarifying the issue for me.

anabel said...

Friends, as painful as it is, we must face the fact that we've been had.

This was never about reconciliation with SSPX, rather it was about their destruction. Just look at what's happened to them since the "we've got a deal, we don't have a deal, we've got a deal, we don't!"

But they are strong enough to survive this and will be around long after this pope.

On the other hand, why are we so surprised? Was this not ALL forewarned? The apostasy will begin at the top. Right?

Our Lord will decide when He's had enough. Until then, pray, fast, do pennance, and hold to the TRUE faith.

Thorin said...

Very interesting. I trust the judgment of the Holy Father.

Also interesting was the prior entry at the Sancrucensis blog, which describes how its author heard Muller deliver a rousing homily on the sacrificial nature of the Mass.

I also wonder why no one has yet translated the portion of Muller's dogmatic treatise dealing with the Mass and Christ's presence in the Eucharist. I would be surprised if he did not cover those topics in that treatise.

Bob F. said...

No one has shown me anything heretical statements from Muller related to LT, unless sone how it can be explained to me how this statement is some how heterodox:

"If you know the Catholic faith, we know that to her essentially belong the social obligation, the responsibility for the world, the love of the poor. Liberation theology is a big word - but every Christian theology has something to do with the freedom of man. Also in South America in this context, it is about theological questions: Given the misery and indignity that many people around us can not imagine, given this glaring injustice, we can not simply go away with a pious raising of eyebrows about it. Faith and doing good go together. These are the two sides of a coin."

Steve said...

Bob, you missed the key part.

"Did your commitment to the liberation theology endangers your appointment?

Muller: I do not know..."

The question assumes he is committed to liberation theology. He then agrees with this premise (he is committed to liberation theology) and then answers the second part as to whether it endagers his appointment.

Excuse the poor translation, but it is all we have for now.

It seems the liberal tactic here is.

1.) Lib: Muller doesn't really believe that. Prove to me that he does.

2.) Traditionalist: Proves that he does.

3.) Lib: Well, that belief is actually not that bad.

Sound familiar? We heard it in the 90's.

1.) Lib: Clinton did not lie under oath about Lewinski. Prove he did.

2.) Conservative: Proves he did.

3.) Lib: So? It's not a big deal.

Jason C. said...

I fear a lot of the liberation theology knee-jerking that goes on here at RC is the result of conditioning to oppose anything and anyone to do with LT as just a commie with a collar. Just as liberation theology is not per se heretical ("liberation theology is a big word"), Muller's quote isn't per se heretical. If you're worried about the liberation theology links, read Gerard Ludwig Müller: Another Faulty Traditionialist Condemnation, by Dr. Jeff Mirus (be careful though, you might need to go to confession afterward, he's a "conservative").

Tradical said...

Hi Mike,

"...Even one work?..."

It would be helpful if you could provide some light on the controversial passages.

Does the full context alter their meaning or not?

Craig S said...

Bob F. Honest question but what in the statement you quoted is remotely hetrodox?

Red said...

Thorin, Bob, et. al.,

No one is questioning the orthodox statements made by the Abp - only the unorthodox ones. Nor is anyone calling him a heretic at this point. As is typical of things Post V-2 we get a mixed bag of statements. Let the Abp clarify himself instead of calling the SSPX, who asked for the clarification, stupid.

Mike said...

I have not read the works from which these controversial passages are taken, nor have I claimed to, by the way.

I have on my desk Muller's work in English translation on the priesthood and why being a baptized male is an integral qualification for the sacrament of Orders, and how this is "the intentional will of Christ" and constant Tradition of the Church that it is so.

I'm just wondering if we can give the man a fair hearing before we hang him!

New Catholic said...

I am all for respect, Mike, but please let us stop with this victimism regarding the Archbishop. Nobody is hanging anyone, he is the Prefect of the Holy Office, perfectly capable of defending himself, even with the harshest and most irascible of words.

David, Glasgow said...

Phillepus,

I'm not sure what distinction you are trying to draw out here and where you think I have erred in what I wrote. For a teaching to belong to the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium it must be by that very fact traditional. Do we disagree?

The fact is that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium cannot contain anything "untraditional", as you put it. The Pope and the Bishops in the exercise of their authentic magisterium can teach things that are contrary to tradition since their authority does not equate with infallibility.

Athanasius said...

For a teaching to belong to the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium it must be by that very fact traditional. Do we disagree?

Actually in a strict sense of Divine Tradition this is not the case, only the Extraordinary Magisterium becomes Tradition just for the sake of it. What determines Ordinary Universal Magisterial teaching is that it is always in the Tradition, has always been believed by consensus, not that at some point some consensus comes along. (cf. Franzelin, De Divina Traditione Thesis IX; XVI).
So the fact that something is taught in an encyclical, while it confers a certain authority, does not make it automatic tradition if it is a novelty.

Felipe Coelho said...

Dear David and Athanasius,

Here is the Catholic doctrine on this subject, as taught by Cardinal Franzelin:

“If we look for the meaning of this Rule [of St. Vincent of Lerin] in the context of the Commonitorium itself, it reveals two marks, each of them sufficient in order to discern the absolute antiquity or apostolicity of a given doctrine: the current consensus of the Church, on the one hand; the consensus of relative antiquity, existing before the controversy had begun, on the other hand.”
(Cardinal FRANZELIN, De Divina Traditione et Scriptura, 2nd edition, Rome, 1875, Thesis XXIV, pages 294-299).

And further in the same treatise:

“Two attributes are proposed are marks that manifest the Apostolic origin of a doctrine: the universality, that is, the present consensus of the Church; and the consensus of relative antiquity, that is, the consensus that demonstrably existed before the controversy begun. Any one of these two marks, no matter which, allows one to infer and know absolute antiquity. Indeed, when the present consensus of universality is clear and manifest, it is sufficient in itself; we have it either by a solemn judgment of the authentic magisterium (Ecumenical Council or Pope), or by the unanimous ecclesiastical preaching. On the other hand, should the controversy have already erupted, should this consensus be less perceptible, or should it not be recognized by the adversaries to be refuted, then St. Vincent says that one must appeal to the consensus of antiquity, manifested either in solemn judgments, or in the converging sentences of the Fathers of the Church.”

In Domino et Domina,
Felipe