Rorate Caeli

Fr. Gaudron responds to Msgr. Bux on Abp. Müller

For the background to this exchange: Mgr. Bux on Müller: these complainers are just being "Capernaists"! SSPX German District on Müller

Interview with Fr Gaudron, FSSPX

(Published at on the 13th of July 2012)

The discussion about the controversial statements of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller concerning the Virginity (of Our Lady) is increasingly attracting attention. A multitude of internet portals host contributions that are either in favour or against these statements.

The exchange was started by the press release of the SSPX at the news agency DAPD concerning the nomination of Bishop Müller. has checked with Dogmatic Theologian Fr. Gaudron if he still upholds his critique on the statements of Bishop Müller. Fr. Gaudron, several reactions to your comments defend Bp. Müller by stating that the criticized statements (of Bp. Müller) were taken out of context. This is, for example, the opinion of Msgr. Bux, who is a member of the CDF. What do you have to say about this?

Fr. Gaudron: We are dealing here with a simple pretext, as anyone can prove who reads the statements in their context. I have quoted all the statements so that they can be verified easily. The defenders of Bp. Müller are apparently unable to quote him outlining the issues correctly. Some have also answered you that the Dogmatics of Ludwig Ott, who is not considered a Modernist, describe that the particularities concerning the physiological aspect of the Virginity are not part of the faith of the church.

Fr. Gaudron: The Dogmatics of Ott does explain, though, that Mary has given birth to Jesus without any corporal suffering, preserving her virginal integrity. It also presents the analogies of the Church fathers like the emergence of Christ from the sealed grave and the passing of light through glass.

The only correct thing is that the Church has not stipulated the exact particularities of what was different between the birth of Christ and the birth of other human beings, like, for example, whether the birth canal was widened or not, etc. Such indiscrete penetration of the mystery is not what the church wants to do. However, the painlessness of the birth, as well as the intactness of the hymen have always been proclaimed.

A. Mitterer seems to have been one of the first to want to deny the physiological particularities in his 1952 book Dogma und Biologie der heilgen Familie [Dogma and biology of the Holy Family]. Ott at first referred to this book [in his above-mentioned Dogmatics], but in later editions the reference had disappeared. One could suggest that this is related to a Monitum of the Holy Office (of 1960) that, alas, was never published but only sent to a number of Bishops and religious superiors. This Monitum deplores the apparition of several works in recent times concerning the virginity during the birth that are in clear contradiction to the Catholic teaching, and it prohibits the future publication of such tracts. But isn't the virginity before birth, [by which is] meant the conception of Christ by the Holy Ghost, much more important? This, Bishop Müller doesn't deny.

Fr. Gaudron: Without a doubt. But, firstly, it is Bishop Müller himself who has recently said that whoever wants to be Catholic, must accept the entire doctrine of the Church and should not choose [whatever he likes]. Secondly, those that deny the virginal conception often argue just like [Bishop] Müller: the virginity does not concern biological facts, but that Mary had given herself completely to God. For example, a university lecturer once said to me that of course Mary was a virgin; but one had to wonder what this virginity in fact means! These people manage to state that Mary was a virgin, while maintaining at the same time that she received Jesus from Joseph. The denial of the virginity in the birth seems to me to be a first exercise of relaxation of the dogma that only prepares much more severe ones. What do you have to say about Msgr. Bux's declaration that the explanation of Bishop Müller concerning the Eucharist was only to avoid a certain Capharnaism?

Fr. Gaudron: Also in this reaction I can only see a pretext. Bishop Müller does, in fact, talk about transubstantiation, but his explanations stay within the theories of transfinalization and transsignification, theories that Pope Paul VI. had rejected for being insufficient in his encyclical Mysterium fidei, mentioned by Msgr. Bux, of Sep. 3rd 1965.

The same can be said about the relationship of the Protestants with the church. No one denies that a valid baptism creates a certain orientation towards the church and that one should also be friendly to Christians that are separated from the church; however, that these would be fully integrated in the church is not even something that the new Codex [of Canon Law] says. You do not, then, see your assessment refuted?

Fr. Gaudron: The whole process appears to me to be symptomatic of our relationship to the Vatican. We submit a problem and one answers us with pretexts or with appeals to obedience.

The Fraternity [of St. Pius X] says that there is a problem if the Prefect of the CDF advocates theses that contradict the doctrines of the church. We have brought forth this in a factual manner and we haven't talked about "heretic" or "heresy", like some media present it. As a reaction we get that we should have faith in the Pope, because a Bishop that is nominated by the Pope could never have taught anything wrong.

It is the same with the Council. We say that there are some problems with it, because some passages of the Council clearly contradict the prior Magisterium of the church. Here, too, we always get the reply that there can be no contradiction, so there is none. To some extend this really goes against all logic.


Felipe Coelho said...

One of the most prominent Mariologists in the Church, antimodernist Father Gabriele Maria Roschini, has written a thorough refutation of contemporary attempts to circumvent the dogma of Our Blessed Lady’s Virginity in partu by the likes of fathers Galot, Ott (yes, Ott), Rahner etc:

Fr. G.M. ROSCHINI, La Verginità di Maria, oggi, Roma: Cor Unum, 1970, 112 pp.

It is transcribed fully (with more than a few typos, however) in:

(For what it’s worth, I’ve been preparing a Portuguese translation, but it’s rather long.)

Red said...

Bravo for the courageous SSPX Priest! What part of being a virgin before, during, and after do people not understand?

It seems this whole affair is the work of satan who knows he cannot directly attack Our Lady's virginity head on because it's been defined and good Catholics know that, so instead he attacks the definition of virginity (ie. what does it mean to be a virgin?)to spread confusion and attempt to get people to think of aspects pertaining to God's Holy Daugher that are wholly inappropriate due to the sensitivity of the issue and the dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Everybody knows the definition of virginity and what the implications of perpetual virginity means. So enough already!

Please consider making the 5 first Saturdays devotion as Our Lady requested at Fatima in reparation for these offenses.

Jean Francois said...

Can anyone cite any quote where Archbishop Mueller actually denies Mary's virginity? Anyone?

JFM said...


I *can* point you to the statement where he equivocates about the surrounding doctrines held in perpetuity, which is what causes concern as outlined above. The question directly addresses your challenge. As for transubstantiation, I challenge you to explain how his statements are not an essentially Protestant expression of the communion doctrine.

Francesco Colafemmina said...

There are some people that think in the Vatican that there is "scarcity" of doctrine and theological knowledge among the members of FSSPX (maybe because they don't study on Rahner volumes). The same people that then try to defend what's hard - to not say impossible - to defend.
This is a clear demonstration that they are fully wrong.

Canisius said...

SSPX chooses not to follow the dogmatic definition of the First Vatican Council regarding the universal jurisdiction of the Pope.

Monsigor Bux is not refutated "iota unum" by this Priest.

The only conclusion of this interview is the bad theological formation of SSPX's priests.

Michael said...

All attacks on Mary are instigated by Satan.

poeta said...


What on earth does this have to do with jurisdiction?

Common Sense said...

Dear Canisius,

Having read the remarks in this comment thread, I have the impression that some of the contributing folk appear to have no grace and thus no common sense.

Not without reason Jefferson said that knowledge will always govern ignorance.

It seems that when it comes to knowledge, you might be a little lacking.

erik said...

Canisius has a point: Is it Catholic to choose to operate independently from the Holy See? To refuse actual submission to the Holy Father in anything on a daily basis for about 40 years ?

JabbaPapa said...

Sorry --- but I'm finding it extremely hard to get excited about some dubious statement made over 50 years ago, in a work where the statement was subsequently removed from its later editions.

Honestly now --- who in here has never believed a false notion about the Divinity or the Church, and perhaps even set forth such false notions to others, only to be subsequently corrected at a later date, and then proceeding to deny one's original erroneous position ?

I myself have in the past believed some entirely false ideas about these things !!!

And if anyone is to be honest in this affair, then they should first take a long hard look in the mirror of their own past opinions first !!!

In this world, only the Christ and His mother Mary have ever been born entirely free of error --- orthodoxy is a bitter-won victory over the errors of one's youth, not some sort of unrealistic expectation that anyone in their past can possibly be entirely free from error.

This is an extremely uncharitable piece of muck-raking.

don pierluigi said...

I just posted on messainlatino my opinion on Muller and transubstantiation. I think that theologically you are not enough learned to understand why archbishop Muller is fully Catholic and those who accuse of being protestant do not know what they are talking about. Sorry, it is in Italian.

El Eremita said...

This is becoming interesting. Fr. Gaudron raises some good points, but misses some others.

First of all, a distinction must be made between denying a proposition and denying that a proposition is "de fide". The quotes about the "painlessness of the birth" and "the intactness of the hymen" which are used against archbishop Müller fall without any doubt in the second category: Müller does not deny these propositions; he only affirms that they are not "de fide". Maybe he considers them to be "pious sentences", or maybe, going to the opposite side of the spectrum, he considers them "sententiae fidei proximae", we can't know this from the quotes... he just says: these propositions do not belong to the Deposit of Faith.

For this to be a problem, it must be demonstrated that any of these two propositions either (a) was object of a definitive act of the Magisterium, or (b) belongs to the universal or ordinary Magisterium.

Imho, the "virginitas in partu" definition of the Lateran Council is not enough to demonstrate (a), as the word employed ("aphthoros", i.e., "without corruption", translated as “integrity”) is ambiguous in its physiological meaning. One could make a compelling argument equating this word to the "intactness of the hymen", but no matter how compelling or sound, it would still be a theological opinion.

The same goes for (b). It would be very difficult to prove that any of these two propositions was always and everywhere held as revealed by God; and even if one could make a compelling argument in favor of this, it still wouldn't be sufficient. Only the Magisterium has the authority to clarify things like this in case of doubt.

Fr. Gaudron mentions the censure imposed on Mitterer, but in the end this can also be used against him: Mitterer's theses were not condemned as heretical, but only censured by means of an executive act of lesser authority. I understand that other theologians held similar views and that they have not been condemned for heresy neither: Kasper in 1956, Galot in 1960, etc. (I take these from fr. William Most's essay)

Regarding the Eucharist, saying that Müller's thesis are equivalent to those of transfinalization or transsignification is something that remains unproven... but I don't deny that the archbishop sayings are not as clear as they should be, so, now that this controversy is public, I agree in that the new prefect should ratify that he upholds transubstantiation in the same theological and philosophical sense that the Church does.

I also agree with fr. Gaudron in that some sort of "official" answer must be given to these concerns. The SSPX proceeded correctly in presenting them, so the Holy See owes the Fraternity an official answer... or at least something better than Müller’s arrogance or Bux’s unconditional defense.

Finally, I have one problem with this part:

It is the same with the Council. We say that there are some problems with it, because some passages of the Council clearly contradict the prior Magisterium of the church. Here, too, we always get the reply that there can be no contradiction, so there is none. To some extend this really goes against all logic.

Actually, mons. Ocariz response to ++Lefebvre’s dubia regarding religious liberty was quite good (although not perfect), and I guess that the doctrinal discussions had a higher level than just “there can be no contradiction, so there is none”. The problem here is that this debate is taking place publicly, using websites and news agencies as medium… does the SSPX expect to have a serious theological debate in these conditions?

John Fisher said...

Yes Fr Gaudron is correct! What we have is authority unholding authority even if authority contradicts itself. The issue as it always has been not just about doctrine but the use and misuse of authority. Laity and clergy know it when sex abuse occurs and canon law is not applied. When liturgical and doctrinal abuse starting with Bugnini and his cohort before, during and after Vat II. Authority tells us we must accept the Bugnini Missal. Yet the Council does not mandate or authorise the specific changes Bugnini made. Yet authority tells us to accept it. Yet the changes are abuses that contradicts what we read in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. I sometimes think it is like having abusive parents who don't modify or accept their behaviour but say do what I tell you. I am your father. The abuse does not stop! In the end no one listens to them. Thus it is with many in authority in the Church.

Mar said...

Or to put it another way: Is it Catholic to refuse to change one iota of the perennial Catholic faith on a daily basis for about 40 years?

New Catholic said...

Ah, grazie, Don Pierluigi! So it is just a matter of "theological sophistication", which "regular people do not possess"... Yes, indeed.

Theology is indeed a mighty endeavor that demands training. It is not, however, an esoteric endeavor for the initiated, and, when a theologian may perhaps cause scandal to the unsophisticated people because of the "sophistication" of his words, it is incumbent upon HIM to explain himself to the poor ignorant folk, especially if he is in a position of authority in the hierarchical Church.

Picard said...

Excellent answer of Rev. Fr. Gaudron - calm, thoughtful, to the point, clear.

Oh, might all the modern theologians be as excellent as this sspx-one.

Who has ears shall hear, who has eyes shall see.

Don´t all the semi- and neo-cons see now where truth and clarity evidently is?! Who is fully Catholic and also logical and clear thinking and arguing:

Müller, the prefect of the CFD -
or P. Gaudron, the sspx`er?!


Jean Francois said...

@JFM I *can* point you to the statement where he equivocates about the surrounding doctrines held in perpetuity

If you are talking about the single quote oft cited here then that is not a denial.

Red said...

Jean Francois, he's not denying but equivocating.

If I told you that the Resurrection of Christ is not so much concerned with corporal realities but with spiritual ones you would have reason to be alarmed. Now I'm sure the Abp means something entirely different but he's being given the opportunity to publicly clarify and the best he could come up with is calling the SSPX stupid.

Erik said...

I remember studying Cardinal Ratzinger's book Introduction to Christianity (Ignatius Press) which was originally in German. There is an error in the English edition: while the German affirms the corporal resurrection but studies the nature of the glorious body, which is obviously different in properties to a mere physical body, the English translation gives the impression of denying the physical body due to a mistranslation of one word. The Cardinal at the time was exploring the mystery of the "spiritual/glorious body" and what its nature is. The accusations of heresy were way over the top. If one reads the English translation in context, however, it's obvious to me what he was saying anyway. Similarly, he does not deny the physicality of the Holy Eucharist: remember it's the Glorious Body of Christ, not the dead Christ. What I find more disturbing is when people decide to become their own private Magisterium, a kind of 'blog' Council, condemning people of heresy as if they have the authority to make that judgement. While I commend Fr. Gaudron for presenting his concerns, I still maintain that to operate independently of the Holy See eventually leads to a form of Protestantism: in this case, Orthodoxy without submission to St. Peter. Western Orthodoxy? Perhaps.

Red said...

Erik, I haven't heard anyone call him a heretic - I'm sure some have but I have not experienced that here on Rorate. What is wanted is clarity. We live in a time where clarity is needed now probably more than ever yet we continue to get ambiguity at best. The faithful have a right to voice their concerns and the SSPX has taken the initiative. It means more when a Priest asks for clarity from a Bishop than if you or I wrote a letter to the Bishop requesting the same.

Jean Francois said...

@ RED Now I'm sure the Abp means something entirely different

Then people shouldn't be calling him a heretic should they?

To use your analogy I see the Archbishops comments as saying nothing different then were he to say this concerning the Resurrection. "That the Resurrection on the third day is not so much concerned with 3 days as being 3 physical 24 hour periods but with the fact that Christ died and rose again to open for us the gates of Heaven. Many people could get hung up on how "three days" is understood but and lose sight of the fact of the importance of what the Resurrection means for our salvation.

Similarly someone may have a difficulty understanding the concept of the physical virginity of Mary as it is understood and defined by the Church. However for someone to get hung up on that point and lose sight of the spiritual importance of Mary's perpetual virginity would be unfortunate to say the least.

I don't think he needs to clarify because but he's being given the opportunity to publicly clarify and the best he could come up with is calling the SSPX stupid.

Now that is a ridiculous assertion. First off the SSPX never officially said anything unless every SSPX priest who makes a criticism speaks for the SSPX. Furthermore he said the statement made that he was a heretic was stupid. To make the leap that you do that he is therefore calling the SSPX "stupid" is wrong and unfair. Lastly since the interview was in German it would be interesting to see if the Archbishop actually even used the word for "stupid" or was it loosely translated.

Kumquat said...

I do not know exactly what Bp. Mueller supposedly said that denies the perpetual virginity of the Most Holy Theotokos.

However, if Pope Benedict saw fit to make him head of CDF, charity demands that we not interpret Bp. Mueller's remarks in a heretical sense, especially since such remarks were omitted in later editions of his work.