Rorate Caeli

Cardinal Müller: foundations for a return to the Magisterium - and the limits of Papal power
- Guest-post by Father Pio Pace

We are very honored to post this new guest-post by a very wise, knowledgeable, and highly influential cleric, writing under the pen name of Father Pio Pace.


Cardinal Müller: laying the foundations for a return to the Magisterium

Don Pio Pace

God only allows evil so as greater good may be accomplished. The immense disorder of the assemblies of the Synod on the Family prompts beautiful professions of faith by high-placed prelates of the Church, who are signs of hope for the future of the Church.

The extreme-progressive French magazine Golias moreover notes with disquiet the "danger" that men such as Cañizares, Burke, Müller, Ranjith, Ouellet, Sarah, and other "young" Cardinals  (around 65 years old) represent to their viewpoint, that is, in the perspective of a further liberalization of the Church's constitution, adding to them some over seventy-year-olds, such as Scola, Caffarra, Pell, among others.

Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the Cardinals who took part in the authorship of the book "Remaining in the Truth of Christ", along with his brothers Brandmüller, Burke, Caffara and De Paolis, has, for example, just made public a conference that he presented on the past January 13, in Esztergom, Hungary, on the "Theological nature of the Doctrinal Commissions [of the Episcopal Conferences] and the role of Bishops as Doctors of the Faith". 

In a very Ratzingerian way (reference is made to the motu proprio Apostolos Suos of John Paul II), he puts each thing in its place: one thing is the supplementary power of the Conferences of Bishops and their organs, such as Doctrinal Commissions, charged with the harmonization of pastoral orientations; one very different thing is the power of Divine Right of the Successors of the Apostles, Doctors of the Faith and guardians of their Particular Churches, at the same time in which they take part at the solicitude for the whole Church, in communion with the Supreme Shepherd.

The following passage, concerning the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff, was particularly noticed in Rome:

In his 1998 "Considerations" on the primacy of the Successor of Peter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirms that the primacy of the Successor of Peter is — as all the faithful — submitted to the Word of God, to the Catholic Faith, and is the guarantor of the obedience of the Church and is, in this sense, servus servorum. He [the Pope] does not decide according to his own will [arbitrio], but voiced the will of the Lord, who speaks to man in Scripture as lived and interpreted by Tradition; in other words, the episkopè of the Primacy has limits that proceed from Divine Law and the inviolable Divine Constitution of the Church contained in Revelation. The Successor of Peter is the rock that, against arbitrariness and conformism, guarantees rigorous faithfulness to the Word of God.

At the same time, Cardinal Robert Sarah, new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, plays from a similar score in his interview book that has come out in France in the past few days, Either God or Nothing, Dieu ou rien (Fayard). The work has the subtitle "Conversation on the Faith", which is by itself a whole program... The organization of the Cardinal's words on the liturgy, done under the care of a writer called Nicolas Diat, is absolutely remarkable: Robert Sarah presents a very detailed and very moving account of his life, displays his (solid) theology and his high spiritual aspirations for the priesthood and for the pastors of the Church. The tone of the African bishop, who risked his own life more than once, reaches a solemn level when he speaks of the relativistic Western ideology upon which some wish to sacrifice the message of Christ, especially concerning marriage and family. All of it, according to current usage, sprinkled with beautiful quotes by Pope Francis.

On February 8, also Cardinal Müller had published an article in L'Osservatore Romano entitled "Cleansing the Temple" (on the Vatican website: "Theological Criteria for a Reform of the Church and of the Roman Curia"). In it, he shows that the traditional reforms of the Church are spiritual, and not political. The reform of the Curia must be exemplary in this regard: its organizational structure and its functioning must be understood submitted to the specific mission of the Successor of Peter, "the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity" (Lumen Gentium, 23). The Curia is not, "an intermediate level between Pope and bishops," but it is intimately linked to his mission of universal pastoral government of flocks and lambs. Based on this, the Cardinal dismisses as something opposed to its essence the integration into the Curia of the Synod of Bishops: "The Synod of Bishops, the Conferences of Bishops, and the various aggregations of particular Churches belong to a different theological category of that of the Roman Curia." Which is a head-on criticism of the idea, made up within the cardinalatial Commission in charge of propositions to reform the Curia, that considers the integration into the traditional dicasteries of a sort of permanent delegation of the Synod of Bishops.

In definitive words, Cardinals Müller and Sarah express their distinctness from, let us say, the Baldisseris, the Marxes, the Tagles, the Kaspers...