Rorate Caeli

Müller speaks: The Church, a house of many rooms

The new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Abp. Gerhard Müller, granted his first interview, after his appointment, to KNA, the German bishops's news agency (in German). Dutch Catholic blog In Caelo et in Terra has provided a translation, to which we made minor adaptations:

KNA: Archbishop, what is your feeling regarding your appointment?
Müller: Gratitude for the confidence that the pope has in me. It is not an easy task, considering the whole universal Church; but it is a beautiful assignment to be able to serve the pope in his teaching office. The position has a universal ecclesiastic dimension – and has nothing to do with centralisation.
KNA: When did you learn that you would be going to Rome?
Müller: Some time ago. But the change of office needs to run its ordered course.
KNA: Do you know why the pope has appointed you? Did he want a German, a theologian, someone he trusted?
Müller: It certainly wasn’t about nationality, and as Catholics we all belong to the universal Church. But the Holy Father knows me, and my theological work, not only as an author, but also as an expert of the Synod of Bishops in Rome and in the committees of Ecumenism and Faith of the German Bishops’ Conference.
KNA: When do you start in your office?
Müller: I have already started, on July 2.
KNA: You are now one of the most important people in the Vatican, and one of the closest collaborators of the pope. What will be your first steps?
Müller: I have already met with the superiors of the Congregation, in order to get an overview of the daily procedures and duties. The scope is very broad: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith consists of three departments: the doctrinal, disciplinary, and marriage departments. The prefect is at also president of the Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission. We have about fifty immediate employees. Then there are the “Feria quarta”, the meetings of cardinals, which take place every four weeks.
KNA: What are your major priorities?
Müller: The Congregation is responsible for the promotion of the doctrine of the faith, and not only for its protection. The 1965 reorganisation of the dicastery placed this positive aspect in its heart. It is about the promotion of theology and its basis in Revelation, to ensure its quality, and to consider the relevant intellectual developments on a global scale. We cannot simply and mechanically repeat the doctrine of the faith. It must always be associated with the intellectual developments of the time, the sociological changes, the thinking of people.
KNA: What do you want to emphasize especially? What do you want to especially deal with in the near future?
Müller: The Congregation has the task of supporting the pope in his Magisterium. We must guide ourselves based on the emphases he makes in his pronouncements. During his visit to Germany, Benedict XVI put the question of God at the centre. He also spoke of the ‘worldliness’ of the Church – a topic not only intended for Germany. It is about a right understanding of the nature and mission of the Church; about finding the right balance between isolating onself from the world and adapting to it – so that we can truly serve the world in the name of Jesus Christ. In particular, we have to counter a widespread apathy in matters of faith. The ‘Year of Faith’, with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Council and twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, will be an essential contribution to this.
KNA: You begin your service in a turbulent time for the Vatican. Or is the Vatican currently back on its feet again?
Müller: I don’t know much about this concretely. It remains to be seen what the investigations will reveal. What seems important to me is that the good works of the many hundreds of employees in the Curia are not overlooked. They are unfairly associated with these individual actions; the impression is created that everyone is involved. That is totally out of the question.
KNA: Another major topic in Rome is the anniversary of the Council. What do you expect from looking back to it?
Müller: We do not need a hermeneutic that is imposed upon the Council from the outside. It is important to explore the hermeneutic that is included in the Council itself: the hermeneutic of reform in continuity, as the Holy Father has repeatedly underlined. A Council is an expression of the highest Magisterium of the Church in communion of bishops and the Pope.
In this sense, the Second Vatican Council was a wonderful event, albeit from a somewhat different type than some previous councils. It was its legitimate intention to respond not only to certain errors and correct them, but to provide an overall view of the Catholic faith. It was not so much concerned with individual elements, but with the big picture, the vast architecture of the Church represented by large rooms where you can feel at home and dwell joyfully.
KNA: The Council, however, also created problems, for example, for the Society of Saint Pius X.
Müller: Everyone who calls oneself Catholic will also have to keep the principles of the Catholic faith. These are not pre-formulated by the CDF or by anyone else, but given to us in the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ, which has been entrusted to the Church. Therefore, one cannot simply pick from it what fits in a given structure.
Rather, one must be open oneself to the whole of the Christian faith, the whole profession of faith, the Church’s history and development of her teaching. One must be open to the living Tradition which does not end somewhere – say, in 1950 – but goes on. Inasmuch as we appreciate history with its great achievements, we must also see that every era is also directly related to God. Every era has its own challenges. We cannot declare a [specific] historical time as the classical standard, but we move along from one summit to the next one.


Luciana Cuppo said...

"One must be open to the living Tradition which does not end somewhere - say in 1950 - but goes on."

The constitutive Tradition ended with the death of the last Apostle, a while before, say, 1950. Time to re-read Gherardini's Church-Tradition-Magisterium, .

Francesco Colafemmina said...

What does it mean????

"Inasmuch as we appreciate history with its great achievements, we must also see that every era is also directly related to God. Every era has its own challenges. We can not explain a historical era according to the classical pattern, but we walk from one summit to the next."

I don't understand. Does he mean that the interpretation of the Church must be adapted to the evolution of times, so progress is the key to read our own era and not anymore the fixed tradition?

Disappointed said...

Neither of them were ideal, it must be said, but this man does not seem to have either the brilliance nor the goodness of the last German prefect, which meant a lot.

The Postmodernist said...

The Pope may have appointed Abp. Muller as head of the CDF, wherein most of us are very disappointed. Let's keep in mind that Jesus Christ IS the Head of the Church, and has appointed Mary, on Calvary, as the Queen of the Church! The Pope and his dicateries doesn't stand a chance. The SSPX is right, to which 'Dicastery' traditional Catholics should continue appealing to! Pray, pray, pray.

Miles Dei said...

What a danger!

From the very first time this man is impossing an theoogical opinion from his charge.

Corrector said...


in general, but particularly bad is the very last line:

Wir können nicht eine geschichtliche Epoche zum klassischen Muster erklären, sondern wir wandeln von einem Gipfel zum nächsten Gipfel.

Which is:

We cannot declare one historical epoch to be a classical pattern, but we walk from one summit to the next.

I suppose, having seen him in his tracksuit, we'll next see him in his hiking gear!

Miles Dei said...

Better explained all this in The Catholic Enciclopedy at the word Revelation:

The claim of certain Modernist writers that their views on the evolution of dogma were connected with Newman's theory of development is the merest figment.

I confirm: What a danger in this man!

Miles Dei said...

"We do not need a hermeneutic that is imposed upon the Council from outside"

So he is denying himself saying that the Council text is an objetive Tradition itself in wich has not power the Living Magistery.

The Living Tradition is for everything before 1950 but not for the Council and after. All that is the New Tradition which rules the Magistry and the Revelation itself.

Oh when the hegelians go marching in...

Fr. A.M. said...

'One must be open to the living Tradition which does not end somewhere – say in 1950 – but goes on. '

One could accept this in the sense that our understanding of doctrine can develop (cf. Newman for instance), and doctrines not defined with the most solemn acts of the Magisterium, can become clearer over time. However this does not say, for instance, repplacing Transubstantiation or the bodily resurrection of Our Lord from the dead for something else. The Church must hand her teaching on (tradere - Tradition) to every generation, and be faithful to it. The liturgy is 'traditional' but those elements not divinely instituted (or of apostolic origin) are capable of 'development', 'organic development'. How we pass the Faith on, the signs, symbols and words that we use, are very important in emphasising, not only continuity of Faith, but the content of Faith. Still I think the new prefect has a lot to learn as he settles into his new position.

Orestes said...

I think the good bishop is going for Jesus, in John 14:2, but the effect he produces is more Walt Whitman:

"The Church is large, it contains multitudes..."

Let us sing the Body electric!

New Catholic said...

Corrector, we are always startled with those who complain of translations, even when (as in this case) they are NOT made by us - if anyone thinks a translation is bad, JUST DO IT AND SEND IT TO US, STOP COMPLAINING or saying horrible things such as "bad translation... in general". We deeply thank In Caelo and in Terra for his translation because at least he found it and did it.

sam said...

Yey, no one told him about "Ecclesia Dei".

to consider the important intellectual developments on a global scale. We cannot simply and mechanically repeat the doctrine of the faith. It must always be associated with the intellectual developments of the time, the sociological changes, the thinking of people.

In other words dogmas can change overtime and in some cases be suppressed depending on the whims of the time.

During my ongoing religious formation I had to change from a Marian pontifical university to another university (we'll see how with the new one goes), because they followed what the CDF prefect is espousing.

They gradually over several courses tried to break me out of my Catholic faith, to the point that one of the books they used (that received an "Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat") specifically said half way through the book that I should hold back my anger as I read on the coming pages that claimed that the events of the nativity were mythological and an invention of the early Christian community. I learned later on that the professional theologians and scholars who are the most accepted by the Church consider this to be the accepted scholarly opinion.

Here's a small breakdown of what I learned:
-Prior to VII the Church viewed Christ and the Bible via High Christology.
-Since VII and to some extant prior to VII after "Divino Afflante Spiritu" for a short while. The liberal theologians and the Biblical scholars started to understand Christ and the Church via a Low Christology.
-The scholars kept pushing the envelope of theories and the theologians accepted them under the guise of new research and under the guise of adaptation to our own times.

The common opinion amongst many including some in the Church hierarchy is:
-The Spirit of VII gave them the right to explain the dogmas and the doctrines of the Church in the same way as they do with Biblical revelation.
-The term "Living Tradition" now refers to the fact that dogmas and doctrines evolve over time, as new generations reflect on them. They must be relevant to the age they're in. They consider the previous interpretations to be correct for their own time period, but not binding on the current generation (i.e. since they see it as layer upon layer of development.)
-The common opinion of modern scholars and theologians is:
*Any miraculous event in the NT is a result of the early Christian communities' evolved post resurrection experience that is based on mythology and not facts, which best explains Jesus' meaning for a given community.
* So only the Gospel of St. Mark is reliable to a limited extent about Jesus' life, and only some of the letters of St. Paul can be recognised as reporting historical events.
* The common scholarly opinion holds that the Virgin Mary wasn't a virgin and the source of her pregnancy (I will not tell you what I learned, as it is disgusting.)
* The Church has no proof in the NT that Jesus wanted a men only priesthood.
* Feminist topics are heavily covered, along with liberation theology (under the name of Social Justice.)
* Christ didn't establish the Church on St. Peter. This was an invention of the Christian community in the 2nd Century.
* As well as other disturbing things which have made me sensitive to certain words when I read them.

It was not much concerned with individual elements, but with the big picture, the vast architecture of the Church represented by large rooms where you can feel at home and dwell joyfully.

The big picture now is that we've ended up with secular meeting halls
where supper is served on a table.

More disappointing quotes:

"Holy Father knows me, and my theological work"

Prof. Basto said...

The Church is one of many rooms, but not in the last answer, when the name of the Society of St. Pius X gets mentioned.

Then the question gets presented as if it were one related to the preservation of the integrity of the Catholic Faith:

"One can therefore not simply pick from it what fits in a given structure", as if the SSPX - and not the Novus Ordo Rupturists - were the ones who deny elements of the Catholic Faith, and who pick and choose.

And then a Prelate that has a strange view of the dogma of Perpetual Virginity has the guts to go on and talk about adherence to "the whole of the Christian faith", but in the following manner: "Rather, one must be open to the whole of the Christian faith, the whole profession of faith, the Church’s history and development of her teaching".

As for the part that reads "One must be open to the living Tradition which does not end somewhere – say in 1950 – but goes on", my question is this: Is the Catholic Faith different at every age, or from one era to the next?; I mean: Is our Catholic Faith, the one that we are supposed to confess today, different from the faith of St. Ambrose, St. Leo the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Pius X?.

If one must be open to the novelties of the "Living Tradition", then is it fair to say that, because they are dead, my Catholic Faith is not the same faith of my Catholic great-grandparents?

Also, because the saints above-mentioned are dead and never lived in the post 1950's world, is it correct to say - as per the CDF Prefect's view - that our present Catholic Faith, reformatted by the Second Vatican Council, is not the same faith of Saints above - St. Ambrose, St. Leo the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Pius X? - who died in prior historical eras?

So the problem with the SSPX is that they hold to a version of the Catholic Faith that is no longer valid, an expired ticket, that was good to bl. Pius IX and to Ven. Pius XII, and to my grandfathers, but that is not good for me?

Luciana Cuppo said...

@ New Catholic:

I could not resist your invitation and tried my hand at translating that gem:

We cannot explain any age of history according to the classical pattern, but we roam from peak to peak

Francesco Colafemmina said...

I've just read this interview to Mons. Bux. This is a typical way to stand with two feet in one shoe.

And what about this "cafarnaism"?

Peter M said...

Well, it's not strange that the Faith doesn't get transmitted, if it constantly changes. How could I pretend to transmit the Faith to my children as I learnt it, if it is an ever changing reality that I should have re-invented and my children should then modiy?

Belgian Catholic said...

The appointment of Meuller is a mockery of the Catholic Faith!

They are trying to impose their unbelief upon us!

Anonymous said...

P. M. Gaudron FSSPX on the errors fo Müller:

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

Two comments will follow. First, he says this:

"It was [the Second Vatican Council's] legitimate intention to respond not only to certain errors and correct them, but to provide an overall view of the Catholic faith."

To what errors does he refer? Were these doctrinal errors? Who committed them? The Church? Prelates in the Church? What corrections of errors did Vatican II provide? I cannot recall any document which asserts that a common error among faithful, named A is hereby corrected by the following new teaching, B. What I see, on the contrary is a contradiction between what was taught before and what is new. For instance, it was taught before that the Covenant with the Jews was closed when Christ fulfilled it in the New Covenant in His Blood; and it was taught by our Lord Himself that "Anyone who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent me". Now, what we seem to have 'developing' out of conciliar texts is the assertion that those who rejected Him still have a living Covenant with the Father.

Before, we were taught that the god of the Jews and the Muslims is a false god because he is specifically a non-Trinitarian god after revelation of the Trinitarian nature of God by God Himself. According to St. Thomas's principle of divine continency, all of God's properties are necessary properties, as His perfection is proper to Him and to all His apparent parts. So once He reveals a divine property, one can still worship Him truly in ignorance of that revelation but not by direct repudiation of it. Since the Jews and Muslims do repudiate it as direct articles of faith, they do not worship the One True God.

We are now taught that they worship the same God as we do but merely understand Him differently.

Before, we were taught that the due limit to the religious rights of heretics is public order; we are now taught that it is the common good, which can mean *more* that public order. Which is it?

So, I wonder, are these some of the 'corrections' he refers to? I can't see why a council is needed, for instance, to correct abuses rather than false teachings. For example, hatred of the Muslims or the Jews or any other infidels is a sin. Therefore, if it is common among supposed Catholics, the Church can correct it sternly but without needing to call a council.

Second comment:

He was asked about his portfolios. Notice that he mentioned three of the four. Guess which one slipped his capacious mind? Answer: he was also appointed President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. Maybe he didn't forget this. Maybe the Pope plans to separate that position from him. Hope springs eternal!

On the whole, I found his answers to be pacific and polite, but there is a veiled insistence there that the S.S.P.X will need to bend to adapt to modern conditions in some unspecific way.


Parker said...

Bp. Muller's responses remind me of Sec'y. Sebillius responding to questions concerning the HSS mandate. My BS Meter is registering red which means once again something unLawful is about to be shoved down our throats.

NIANTIC said...

Prof.Basto, Yours are excellent questions. A "living" tradition can eleminate, or change, anything at will according to the dictates of the current times. This would include; "God is dead". Faithful Catholics just will have to hunker down till the Vll generation has passed on to their rewards. I am now afraid that the Rome/SSPX movement has halted and will not be ressurrected for a long time.Lord have mercy.

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

Dear Professor Basto:

I think that ++Müller would respond to your question by asserting that the Faith is the same in every age but less understood in previous times than in later times, for much understanding of the Faith is only implicit in earlier teaching. Compare his statement to that of ++Di Noia. They are saying, I think, that just as previous Sacred Tradition is the rule of interpretation for Vatican II, it is also the case that new teachings in Vatican II inform or reveal Sacred Tradition; hence there is a hermeneutic of continuity.

This may be so but one problem with the assertion is that, according to the Theological Commission at Vatican II, absolutely nothing new in the Council is infallible. This makes matters turbid, for how, then are we to know what in Vatican II informs the overall Tradition and what does not? I suppose that he would answer by saying that we must wait in 'joyful hope' for Rome to clarify any problems or apparent contradictions and that, in the mean time, we are bound to observe a relative submission of mind and will in accordance with the criteria of theological interpretation.

This explains why His Holiness has insisted on an agreement with the Society on what those principles and criteria are.

All of this is very interesting--and all of it is very abstruse. If Vatican II illumines eternal teaching, I ask, then why is it that the average six year-old in 1960 knew far more about the Catholic doctrines than do the usual lay busybodies who run our churches?, not to mention the 82% of Americans who, right now, do not believe in transubstantiation (many of whom had no idea what the word even means and some of whom had never heard it uttered before). In my Parish, the N.O. busybodies do not even know what colour of flowers should adorn the Altar in due season.

These liberals' ideas are plausible. The problem is that they are contradicted by the evidence. Fifty years after Vatican II, the Church is in collapse and most faithful don't even know what they are supposed to believe. What we received immediately following the Council is not an enlightenment but an endarkenment. So let us judge the tree by the fruit. Every tree that beareth bad fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire.


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

Ninantic and Prof. Basto have shown themselves to be very perceptive in my view. Note how Archbishop M. goes immediately to John Paul II's "living tradition". This is at the heart of the dispute. Both parties agree that Tradition is the rule of interpretation for conciliar texts. John Paul II even went so far, in 1982, of saying that the meaning of a Vatican II text which is consonant with Tradition is the correct one even when the words themselves suggest a different meaning. Put another way, the Holy Ghost is not necessarily meaning what the periti or even the conciliar fathers intended in a given conciliar statement.

But then there is qualification of tradition as "living". This is at the crux of the problem. Tradition means that which is handed down. The Deposit of Faith is perfect in itself because its origin is God, Who is perfect and Who never changes: He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. However, much of this Deposit is not completely understood; it is revealed more precisely over time. What is transmitted cannot change, but the Deposit is "living" in the sense that our understanding of it can change.

Please note that change is an essential property of life; therefore, when John Paul II and Benedict XVI assert not that our understanding changes but that Tradition itself changes, they must mean that the context in which truth is regarded affects truth itself. Well, I cannot see how the limited temporal contexts of this world can alter eternal truth, for God is also omniscient: He governs those contexts--all of them--perpetually and eternally and He does so in every particle in the matrix of the universe. So they can only mean that temporal contexts affect us and how we understand the Deposit of Faith. Just as the act of seeing can alter the nature of the thing seen, so also the act of ratiocination can perhaps alter the Deposit of Faith, and that human act is preconditioned by changing cultural and other temporal contexts.

This seems to me to be plausible but I cannot believe that it is true. Truth, in a 'living tradition', becomes something altered by imperfect man rather than something conferred by a Perfect God. This amounts to subjectivism. It replaces the Cult of God with the Cult of Man. Man, indirectly here, becomes a god, since his act of understanding alters the divine gift of Truth. Sorry, but this seems to me to be the dream of the adversary, also known as the chief fallen angel. The traditional view is that God leads us to His truth, not to our own.


Caecos said...

"It was [the Second Vatican Council's] legitimate intention to respond not only to certain errors and correct them, but to provide an overall view of the Catholic faith."

How come the pope and his appointees can talk about "the errors" of previous popes/councils, but no-one can talk about "the errors" of VCII?

Mar said...

Can someone please explain what exactly is the hermeneutic of reform in continuity? Does it mean that continuity has to be reformed? Or that reform has to be continuous?

I already had enough trouble with the hermeneutic of continuity. Now this.

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

Archbishop Müller asserts that there are many rooms in the Church, referring to the Biblical assertion that there are many rooms in Heaven. Yes, in Heaven, everyone has his own room, for everyone is perfectly in accord on all that is essential. But down here below, there is only one room. It's called the Catholic Church. Now there is the œcumenical message which needs to be conveyed to every synagogue and every mosque.


Anonymous said...

Muller saying living tradition sounds like Obama saying living constitution.

Carol said...

It seems that Archbishop Müller is suffering from a chronic form of chronolatry – an absurd veneration of the time we are living in. He is confusing historical eras which have always evolved over time with the solid rock of the Faith which is unchanging.

He has also given evidence of his neo-Modernist mindset in suggesting that it is an indignity to expect people to stick to fixed formulas of the Faith which, in his opinion, “must always be associated with the intellectual developments of the time, the sociological changes, the thinking of people.” In other words, the Faith must conform to the pattern of our age.

He seems to have forgotten the words of St Paul in his letter to the Romans (12:2): “Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed in the renewal of your mind.” It is interesting that the word “renewal” (anakainosis) implies a turning away from this world (aion) and that the latter also means century or age. Archbishop Müller, if the zucchetto fits, wear it!

rodrigo said...

I imagine Abp Müller's process of moving from peak to peak as something like this.

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

Again, on all the rooms in Archbishop Müller's Church, I worry that he may think that there is a room for liberation theology, even in the radical form as advanced by such 'darkenaries' as Gastavo Gutiérrez. We have other rooms of dubious value, such as the one for the charismatic crazies, who are nothing but Pentecostal Protestants in little disguise, and the one for the Neo-catatonics, one for Focolare whatever, one for We be Church, one for the Jews, huddling in their covenant corner and having found their own radiator so that they don't need the Sun of Justice. And we musn't leave out the Musselmen, who founded the Religion of the Sword. Frankly, if we must include non-Christians, I'd much sooner have the Jains than these others. Theirs is a much better religion than that of the Jews or the Muslims, the Buddhists or the Hindoos. Better a Jain, with his commitment to Ahimsa, complete non-violence, even to animals. They, at least, are civilised.

But there is one group for which no room has been given in Müller's Inn. We mean traditionalists. I don't mean these ignorant 'conservatives' but real traditionalists. A conservative just loves John Paul the Small; a traditionalist finds him to be a saccharine showman but venerates Pope St. Pius X, a shining example of orthodoxy leavened by himility and charity. There is the true guide for every prefect of doctrine: by far the most outstanding Pope of modern times: Pope St. Pius X.


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


Well put. I get the frightening feeling that 'living' is code for 'making it up as we go along'.


Steve said...

Muller: "One must be open to the living Tradition which does not end somewhere – say, in 1950 – but goes on."

Interesting when coupled with Abp. Di Noia's words from his recent interview...

Di Noia: "I’ve tried to find an analogy for this. Let’s say the American Constitution can be read in at least two ways: Historians read it, and they are interested in historical context: in the framers, intentions of the framers, the backgrounds of framers and all of that historical work about the Constitution. So, you have a Constitution you can study historically and shed a great deal of light on the meaning of it.

However, when the Supreme Court uses the Constitution, when it’s read as an institutional living document upon which institutions of a country are based, it’s a different reading. So what the framers thought, including not only experts upon whom they’re dependent — they are parallel to the bishops, and the experts are parallel to the periti [theologians who serve participants at an ecumenical council].

Those documents have an independence from all of them. I often say that what Council Fathers intended doesn’t matter because it’s how you apply it today that matters. It’s a living document."

...and we see where this "living document" idea has brought America. The Constitution text and framers, not in their wildest imagination, meant to create a Federal right to abortion. Yet 7 Supreme Court Justices in 1972 "interpreted" the "living Constitution" to stand for this "right to privacy"

Fast forward 40 years and the Chief Justice of this same Supreme Court now says that the "living Constitution" apparently contains in it a power for the Federal Government to tax people if they don't buy a service the government wants them to.

Can the Cardinal and Abp. not see where the "living document" business leads? It leads straight to the authority "reinterpreting" the document into whatever it likes and then enforcing that view with the apparent authority of said document.

In reality the Constitution and Tradition analogy, if we look at history, should lead us PRECISELY to that interpretational view of a Scalia or Thomas who say that we must look to the creation of the document and the intention of those who wrote it to best establish the true meaning.

In the realm of the Church, Her teaching must be examined and interpreted always in light of
the very Tradition it developed from. We cannot simply lift text and words from ancient Papa; documents, strip them of all intention of their authors and historical context and then craft a new 21st century "interpretation" to these words that fits our 21st century sensitivities.

In reality these "interpretations" are not "interpretations" at all, but NEW legislation that contradicts the very letter and intent of the previous Tradition! It is impossible to "interpret" language to mean the opposite of what it states. Or to "interpret" language into existance that nowhere appears in the original text. Yet that is the Orwellian world we are living in.

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

Rodrigo sends us to a wonderful little video of what is called in Canadian English a 'merry-go-round'. (It's called a carousel in Americanese, just as they call candyfloss 'cotton candy' down there, and they call chesterfields sofas). This is just excellent, the constant movement up and down peaks, closer to something Swiss than something German, does not enable the rider to focus clearly on anything around the merry-go-round. Not only that, but the riders move in a self-referential circle (just like Milton's Satan), only getting back constantly to where they began, which is to themselves: they are the references for themselves. Truth might be situated at the immovable centre of the merry-go-round, as it does not move or change but everything moves around it. But Müller, on his wooden horse, is not even looking in the right direction.

Thank you, Rodrigo. That was delightful. I love it. I can tell also from Carol's excellent comment here that we traditionalists shall be giving this new man our own ride, so he'll have to hold on tight to his fake wooden horse.


JWDT said...

Like P.K.T.P. I found this a very interesting comment, maybe it is due to translation issues I don't know but to my knowledge John XXIII didn't convene VII to condemn anything or did he?
"It was its legitimate intention to respond not only to certain errors and correct them, but to provide an overall view of the Catholic faith."

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

You know, Rodrigo, a merry-go-round also makes the riders dizzy and confused. Interesting parallels here. In the analogy, traditionalists are standing on firm ground and are not taking this useless ride down Vatican Two Lane.


P.S. I also like the relation between merry-go-rounds, funfairs, cheap entertainment, simplistic music and CLOWNS. It does remind one of the New Mass, eh?

Picard said...

Adfero: yes.

And it was DiNoia that made the comparison/analogy to/with the Constitution in his interview.
(See also the very good remarks of Deborah Gyapong re that at

And DiNoia also admitted that the attitude re the Jews is a totaly new one since Vat., a "major shift", "fundamental change".

Picard said...

should be: Deborah Gyapong at

Please see there also the debate in the comments and my remarks there.

Joseph the sacristan said...

Every one should be afraid.
Be very afraid!

Keep praying for the Church!

Joseph the sacristan

John McFarland said...

Dear Mar,

"Can someone please explain what exactly is the hermeneutic of reform in continuity?"

Signor Colafemmina has already done it: it's an exercise in putting both feet into the same shoe.

If you prefer a more hifalutin explanation, it is the elevation of contradiction to the principle that makes dogma go. Hegel created the game, and his epigone just play it with greater or lesser skill.

Pointer said...

When reading the likes of Müller, one must distinguish between modernism and neo-modernism.

I'd therefore like to point all readers to an excellent post on Ite ad Thomam called "Modernism V. Neo-Modernism: What is the Difference?"

Here it is:

John McFarland said...

Dear P.K.T.P.,

Americans do say "carousel," but generally they say "merry-go-round."

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

Yes, the Church is a house full of many rooms. In Müller's Brave New Church, there are even rooms for heretics and infidels. I figure that the Protestants must be occupying the water closet in this house, as their founder apparently concocted his most turgid theology there. But it was found that it became more a place of ex-pression than of in-spiration, all the winds involved coming not therein from therefrom.


Belgian Catholic said...

It is very sad to see that only the supporters of Pius X and Hans Küng are interested in the appointment of Mueller.

99% of the faithful do not seem to bother or do not know what this is all about!

Picard said...

Prof. Basto:

Bravo, as always! And also P.K.T.P.:

yes, of course there is a Catholic concept of reforming and even developing. They doctrine can be enhanced, developed - no SSPXer would denie this.

And Müller, DiNoia, Ocariz etc. want to make us believe that this is the problem that trads do not get that.

But then, if you analyse their concept of reform and developement carefully it becomes clear that it is not the traditional Catholic notion of it - but a modernistical one.

As I discussed on theanglocatholic and also wdtprs in the Müller-threads - please see also there! - it is a problem of modern (German and French) transcendental and existentialistic philosophy of Kant-Sartres-Heidegger Rahner and of Gadamer-Dilthey´s relativistic historicism.

As also Pius X and Pius XII analysied brilliantly the problem: it is exactly this mad modern thinking, language and philosophy, tending to immanentism-subjectivism-relativism.

So Müller, Ratzinger et al. were all more or less contaminated by the poison of this German (and French) brain-washing and - maddening, confusing philosophy.

Btw., the phrase of Müller:
"that every era is also directly related to God"
is a quote of the German historism-historian Leopold Ranke and would better be translated as
"every time/era is immediate
to God ("unmittlebar zu Gott").

Well, if every time is immediate to God, of course there can be totaly novelties in one time, unrelated to or even contradicting some "truths" of an other time.

And if you consider the own behaviour of Müller or DiNoia etc. then you get the evidence that it is really this modernistical concept of development, of "living" tradition:

They teach things contrary to the past (f.e. re Jews or re the Virginity of Mary) but label that as "developments" of the time - time that is always immediate to God and so no absolute, unchangeable truth can be conceived.

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

Belgian Catholic:

You are exactly right. However, 99% of nominal Catholics have also never heard of transubstantiation or sanctifying grace, and do not know what they are all about either. That is why this appointment has become possible.


Stephen said...

PKTP, as holy as Pope Pius X may have been, he helped lay the foundation for the ease and speed with which the liturgical changes of Vatican II were imposed upon the faithful. The road to Kumbaya My Lord was paved by Ultramontanism.

David said...

I feel betrayed by the Pope. While he prepares an attractive guest room for Traditionalists, he abandons the Church at large to the wiles of such ecclesiastical wolves as this.

Tom said...

"I am now afraid that the Rome/SSPX movement has halted and will not be ressurrected for a long time."

Then that is on the Society.

I don't understand the following:

You, I, the FSSP and millions of Catholics accept and live under the full authority of Pope Benedict and our bishops.

The Society of Saint Pius X is incapable of following suit?

Are SSPX bishops, for example, somehow "better than" Bishop Rifan, who accepts and abides by Church authority?

Is the Society better than us in that they demand and require special treatment in regard to acceptance of Church authority?

Once regularized, the Society would be free to preach Church Tradition as nobody can contradict Holy Tradition.

For example, the Society each day could shout that non-Catholics are called by God to convert to the True Religion as that is what Holy Mother Church teaches.

Nobody within the Church could possibly prevent the Society from doing so.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider attacks the practice of the distribution of Holy Communion in the hand.

The Society is, of course free do do and folowing regularization.

Nobody within the Church could possibly prevent the Society from preaching the Church's Traditional teachings on said issue.

On and on it goes...the Society would be free to preach Truth to the Church and world.

Refusal on the Society's part to fail to accept Pope Benedict XVI's plan for regularization is on the Society.

The Holy Father cannot be blamed should Rome/SSPX discussions cease.


That is what the Catholic

Mary Jane said...

I really don't understand why everyone is so upset about the appointment. It's the Pope who ultimately makes the final decisions about the SSPX reconciliation. Isn't it?

Thorin said...

Archbishop Muller confirms what is obvious. He was appointed because the Pope has confidence in him and he sees his primary role as serving the Pope. Indeed, Benedict XVI's confidence in Muller is obvious:

For those of us who have confidence in the Holy Father, that is sufficient.

Picard said...

Thanks "pointer"

The piece at iteadthomam is excellent! All should read that, I agree!

Anonymous said...

Mr Perkins, it used to be that the hierarchy simply worked to pass along what they inherited. Sadly, that isn't possible when they see everything as living and breathing, meaning changeable to suit modern "needs."

joan said...

Remember Fr.Rodriguez video:"The Kiss of Judas: The Enemy is Within"??? Watch at JMJHFPRODUCTIONS on youtube.

Loyolakiper said...

I am getting fed up with the post Vatican II theologian who falsly claims that there are differrent Magisteriums (implicitly). For instance the interview states: "The Congregation has the task of supporting the pope in his Magisterium. We must guide ourselves based on the emphases he makes in his pronouncements." When did the Magisterium become HIS (Benedicts)? I have seen this kind of language being used even in Pope John Paul II's and Pope Benedict's encyclicals and other writings. If we can say that it was "HIS" Magisterium, then I can have a difference of opinion with "MY" Magisterium... I thought that there was ONE MAGISTERIUM, just as there is ONE FAITH? Am I totally off here?

John McFarland said...

Disappointed says:

"[Abp. Mueller] man does not seem to have either the brilliance nor the goodness of the last German prefect, which meant a lot."

I can't speak to ++M's relative brilliance or goodness, but his convictions as expressed in the interview are substantially identical to those of the last German prefect.

There have been any number of accurate observations in this string; but they are just exercises in belaboring the obvious.

It is still 1965 between the ears of ++M, and between the ears of the man who appointed him, and between the ears of virtually every member of the Teaching Church.

There is not only no will to face up to the relation between the Council and the current decadence of the Church; there is a grim determination not to face up to it. The miserable intellectual fast shuffle that is the hermeneutic of reform and continuity is evidence of the strength of that determination. The Holy Father, a very intelligent man, would sooner embrace the clumsy sophistry of the hermeneutic than face up to the fact that V2 was a revolution, and everybody (including the Holy Father) knows it, and knows that its results were uniformly disastrous.

Barring a miracle of grace that would eclipse the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, that's where we stand, and that's where we'll stand on the day that the Holy Father breathes his last.

So what those traditionalists not allied with the SSPX need to ask themselves is: where do we go from here?

P.S. Speaking of translations, it would be good to have an English translation of the examination of ++Mueller's theology by Fr. Gaudron of the SSPX mentioned by Anonymous above. He is the author of The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, an excellent popular examination of the conciliar novelties.

P.P.S. Some of you need to understand that John Henry Newman was an early modernist. The ink was hardly dry on his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine when Orestes Brownson, himself a very recent convert, analyzed its un-Catholic nature at some length. Others (myself included) have not been so quick on the uptake.

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


I know what you are referring to: the Office, especially. But your claim is too large. There really is not a liturgical continuuum from 1910 to 1960, only a disruption in liturgical propriety before the First World War. A causal chain normally must have more than two links. What informs liturgy is theology, and the problem was, rather, that Benedict XV did not continue the policies of his predecessor firmly enough.


David said...

Müller: "The Congregation is responsible for the promotion of the doctrine of the faith, and not only for its protection. The 1965 reorganisation of the dicastery placed this positive aspect in its heart."

That says it all. The protection of the faith is the raison d'être of the CDF. Diabolical disorientation.

Malta said...

Listen, the Church is a house with "many rooms".

I'm a dye-in-the-wool Traditionalist. But the Church has always had many divergent liturgies.

The Irish had some strange ones, and I have multiple volumes to show it.

I'm a TLM man myself. I have been to Ireland, and stood in churches used a thousand years ago, which almost no one knew about but my Gaelic guides. The Church does have many rooms!

I don't like the new mass because it desacralized the sacrificial aspect of the mass, and Paul VI (with his masonic hench-man bugnini) neutered all of the traditional rites.

But, in theory, I'm open to many liturgies.

I have been to a Catholic-Orthodox liturgy where they spoon-feed you the Eucharist mixed with wine, and it was beautiful!

My main beef is with taking the sacrificial aspect out of mass, which bugnini did, with his masonic, Americanist, fascinations.

The first Christians, of course, were Jews, and as Michael Davies points out in his excellent, short book The Eternal Sacrifice, they naturally viewed mass as sacrifice.

And mass is sacrifice; but not to proto-protestant novus ordo catholic-lites!

Jason C. said...

It is very sad to see that only the supporters of [the Society of Saint] Pius X and Hans Küng are interested in the appointment of Mueller.
99% of the faithful do not seem to bother or do not know what this is all about!

Well that should tell you something--if the CDF takes notice of you, you're probably Doing It Wrong.

Doc said...


Magisterium merely means teaching and the Church teaches through various organs, one of which is the Pope. The CDF is primarily tasked with supporting papal teaching--that's all it means. In this case, I think you are seeing evil where there is none.

Carl said...

PKTP - I think I can give you a few examples of the errors to which ++Müller would refer.

1) The ultramontanist notion that bishops are basically no different from Papal Legates. This is corrected by Lumen Gentium and Christus Dominus with a robust (perhaps too robust?) affirmation of the personal authority and responsibility of bishops, especially those who are ordinaries, and the importance of their collaboration at various levels.

2) The notion that one must only only pay attention and submit to infallible, ex cathedra dogmas. This error - which gained great traction after Vatican I and still exists today - is corrected by Lumen Gentium 25.

3) The exaggerated clericalism whereby only priests and religious are considered agents of the Church's mission. This is corrected in the chapter on the laity in Lumen Gentium and by Apostolicam Actuositatem.

4) The notion that the Catholic Church sees nothing good in separated Christian churches and communities as well as in other religions. This error was over-corrected by directly identifying nothing bad in these groups. There are affirmations in Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio and Nostra Aetate that INDIRECTLY demonstrate what's wrong with these groups, but nothing specifically tied to the groups themselves. On this point, the Council compromised clarity and gained praise from the world.

I could come up with many more examples of the sorts of errors that ++Müller would give, but I think this is enough for now. Also, I think in expressing our problems with Vatican II, we will be more convincing if we are specific about what's bad and also specific in affirming anything in it that's good.

Picard said...

Let me provide an example of Müller, that I provided also at theanglocatholic, and see also wdtprs (

- perhaps the most horrible but as well illustrative one - illustrating the confusing transcendental philosophical and theological concept - , but not yet mentioned here before:

He writes in his Dogmatic re the RESURRECTION:

[Kath. Dogmatik, Freiburg: Herder 1995 (²1996), 300f. (translation, emphases and remarks [!] mine)]:

“A shooting film camera could neither have hold/shooted in picture and sound the resurrection-ongoing/occurrence (“Auferstehungsereignis”), that is in essence the carrying out/actualisation of the personal relation of the father with the Son in the Holy Ghost [!!], nor the easter-apparitions of Jesus in front of his disciples. Technical apparatuses or also animals lack – in contrast to the human intellect – the possibility of transcendental experience and therefore of beeing adressed by the Word of God via sensuously perceptible phenomena and signs.

Only the human intellect in its inner unity of categoriality and transcendentality is determinable by the spirit of God, in order to perceive the person-reality (“Personwirklichkeit”) of Jesus as the cause of the sensible-mental (perceptional) notion/image in the sensible perceptional image, that is caused by the revelation-ongoing/occurrence (“Offenbarungsereignis”) [!].”

Well, Müller goes on and affirms that the resurrection and the apparitions were not pure subjective things, some hallucination, pure imagination or sth. like that.

But they are events only for the minds of beeings that are able of “transcendent(al) experiences” resp. perceptions – and perhaps only for believers, because later he states (301) that the resurged Jesus “could not be seen or recognized in a natural manner / by natural means (“auf natürliche Weise”). A medicinal-empirical verification of the occurrence/event is neither possible nor were it an adequate criterion…"

(or shortly before (300, bottom): “The occurrence/event of the resurrection of Jesus is therefore transcendent re the possibilities of beeing and of knowledge/cognition [!] by the created world…")

Carl said...

Loyolakiper - I think the problem disappears if we realize Magisterium just means "official teaching authority." With this in mind, we can speak both of THE Magisterium (of the Church) and yet also speak of the teaching authority of this or that pope (or even bishop, but obviously in a much more limited sense), the latter being an espression of the former, with peculiar emphases but an overall unity. Thus I agree it would not be right to speak of "Magisteriums."

El Eremita said...

To say the truth, Bux's defense of Müller convinced me. It has to be said that most of the accusations against the new prefect of the CDF follow a similar pattern (which unfortunately is very common in certain circles): take a poorly-worded phrase, remove it from its context, and interpret it in the worst possible way. It is not a conclusion deducted from evidence, but evidence tailored to suit a preconceived conclusion (which almost always is: the guy is a modernist heretic).

Prof. Basto, you say "So the problem with the SSPX is that they hold to a version of the Catholic Faith that is no longer valid, an expired ticket, that was good to bl. Pius IX and to Ven. Pius XII, and to my grandfathers, but that is not good for me?"

No, the problem with the SSPX (actually not the whole SSPX but people like Williamson) is that they incorporate to their "version of the Catholic Faith" elements which doesn't belong to it. An example (based on the issue CCLIV of Williamson's Eleyson Comments): one is allowed to hold as a theological opinion that the state has an inherent right to exercise coertion in religious matters. Such opinion would be contrary to Dignitatis Humanae, but as the doctrine contained in this document is not 'de fide', one can be in a respectful and informed disagreement (just as the feeneyites, see also Donum Veritatis). But this alleged inherent right of the state to exercise coertion in religious matters, some people consider it to belong to the Depositum Fidei, so, they consider anybody who doesn't believe it with an assent of faith (such as myself and 99% percent of the militant church, including the Pope and the vast majority of the episcopate) as a (hopefully material) heretic.

As ++Di Noia said in his recent interview, the term 'error' has some degree of theological ambiguousness... Fellay speaks of 'the errors of the council'. Ok, but are these errors heresies? Do I lose the Faith if I adhere to this alleged errors? Do their contrary propositions belong to the Deposit of Faith or not?

Not every "traditional doctrine" is 'de fide' nor irreformable... therein lies the questio (disputata).

Barbara said...

I must say that I am not reassured in reading these words from the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith. This is troubling to me:

"We cannot simply and mechanically repeat the doctrine of the faith. It must always be associated with the intellectual developments of the time, the sociological changes, the thinking of people."

Since when did the thinking of the people affect the revealed truth of the Faith? It would seem to me that this opens the door to that relativism which the Holy Father has denounced so much. Shouldn't it be the light of faith (transmitted correctly)that enlightens the intellect? I am confused.

And this: "... we have to counter a widespread apathy in matters of faith.." well, with the rather ambiguous and anxiety-producing introduction to the new Prefect and what we know of his theological ideas - I cannot imagine how this apathy will be shaken off in the near future.

Too often, modern churchleaders seem to reduce the faith to a low human common denominator - emptying it of its inherent beauty and supernatural otherworldliness.

I am hoping - and I will continue praying for Archbishop Muller and everyone else involved in the rather unsettling ecclesial developments of this week. I am also still hoping for the SSPX fully regularised (surely there is A ROOM for them to operate as they always have, seeing that they hold to the faith intact)- but now, sorry to say, I will understand more if they should refuse the offer from Rome.

Why is Pre-Vatican II Tradition and the Traditional Latin Mass so despised in this modern Church? I am still missing comprehension despite all I've learned in the past few years. I must be thick or - frozen!


Woody said...

With respect to the analogy to the US Constitution, I have heard Justice Scalia say that the "living Constitution" approach simply means "we make it up as we go along" [meaning, I guess, that Justice Breyer et al. take the best of modern thinking, as it appears to them, to help them form opinions that seem reasonable based on a general understanding of the structure of the national polity and the nation's needs, but nonetheless, subject to no real parameters, and thus, at bottom, not really law, as we would understand it,but simply politics].

So this analogy is deeply troubling to those of us who want to believe in and adhere to unchanging truth, and not, as I have heard it said the Jesuits used to say (my apologies to anyone offended, if I am wrong), that the Faith is whatever the current Pontiff says it is. Come to think of it, doesn't that sound a lot like Msgr Ocariz's view?

Or, put another way, Msgr Ocariz seems to be saying, "yes, the Council was intended to put to rest the old pray, pay and obey mentality, but now that we are in charge, and do not feel like, or cannot, explain the Conciliar difficulties, just carry on praying, paying and obeying."

Woody said...

My feeble elderly brain may have fooled me again on the "amke it up" part. It may well have been said by Justice Thomas instead (although I think Scalia agrees). Here is a quote froma recent article in "National Affairs":

"Over the past 25 years, judicial conservatives have sorted themselves by how they have approached these questions. In the ideal form of one approach, "originalism," a judge places highest priority on following the Constitution's original public meaning. Justice Thomas in particular aspires to this approach. In a 2008 lecture, he said: "[T]here are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution — try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores." "

Anonymous said...

Thank you, John McFarland: "So what those traditionalists not allied with the SSPX need to ask themselves is: where do we go from here?"

Although Mr. Perkins' data are little analyzed here, it bears noting that the real numbers for several years running demonstrate the stagnation of SSPX growth. Not mentioned in the data (as I recall), either, are the closings of several schools, and unknown except to insiders the probable closing of at least one other, soon. Uncommitted traditionalists could bear in mind that the recent conflicts within the Society have wounded it anew, numbers-wise. If you go to an SSPX chapel, you will see the empty pews. Do we value, or not, what SSPX has brought to the table? If we do, this might be the time to take the data and the recent developments seriously and put one's own shoulder to the wheel. Thank you for bringing it up, John.

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Woody. Well, we do belong to a living breathing Body of Christ which has a living Magisterium and which living reality is derived from Jesus' authority and so if we do not hear the living magisterium and do not give to it our allegiance, the Pillar and Ground of Truth, then to whose corpse do we owe allegiance?

We Christian Catholics believe in the promises of Christ re His Church and we believe His Holy Church is guided and protected by The Holy Ghost who will not let Jesus' Church teach error.

To accept the error that His Church teaches error is to throw-in with all the opponents of His Church - living and dead- whose beliefs, were they to be true, would necessarily mean that Jesus was either a liar of Satanic proportions whose promises were not trustworthy or who was one so weak that He was overcome by The Devil.

That His universal Church teaches error and that we must therefore not be in communion with it is the creed of the Protestant, the creed of the Mormon, the creed of the Jehovah's Witness.

Such a creed has never been part of any Catholic Tradition.

JFM said...

El Ermita:

NO ONE here is defending Willliamson, so that is a straw man. The reason people suspect Modernism is because these modern clerics SOUND like Modernists. They speak theology in terms that only academics could begin to hope to understand. The seem to race to the edge of belief without ever touching on the heart. They talk of what it does not entail versus what it does entail. But they are not academics, they are clerics. Their job is to feed the sheep, not write dissertations. In this regard the failure rate is woefully high. As a teacher, I am careful to try to couch my lessons in words that are not easily taken out of context. But in this case, it seems it is very hard to discern any context. It is similar to the talk of the Bible. "Well, we certainly do not believe as to the Fundamentalists!" "Well, then just what do you believe?" You'll never get a discernible answer, certainly not as specific as the actual text of Vatican II. Instead we get strange new terms that seem almost like oxymorons. I don't see many people calling the new prefect a heretic. I just lots of them saying he does not sound especially like a friend of what we typically recognize as tradition. And in a faith based on tradition, that is a disconcerting thing.

Barbara said...

"So what those traditionalists not allied with the SSPX need to ask themselves is: where do we go from here?"

In fact. Good question, Mr. McFarland. What would you suggest?

New Catholic said...


Stagnation is real. And not only in the SSPX.

Picard said...

@El Eremita:

No, it is not out of context - I provided the most crucial texts here, you can read them and will see that they are really bad.

And again, I have read them in the original language and also the context - they are not getting better anyway.

If you take more context it is only getting clearer that you have here the totally evil language and thinking of the German transcendental-philosophy and idealism.

Read the texts of Müller above!

A. M. D. G. said...

Adfero said...
Mr Perkins, it used to be that the hierarchy simply worked to pass along what they inherited. Sadly, that isn't possible when they see everything as living and breathing, meaning changeable to suit modern "needs."

Well as things go as to solving the problems of the Church Adfero, we don't agree on too much, but this time my fellow Catholic you said a mouth full! Hats off to you!

A. M. D. G. said...

Belgian Catholic said...
It is very sad to see that only the supporters of Pius X and Hans Küng are interested in the appointment of Mueller.

99% of the faithful do not seem to bother or do not know what this is all about!

And that's how and why the Church is in such a deplorable state today!

Picard said...

El Eremita.

But that´s exactly the problem.

The right of the state to use coercive power is against DH.

But to deny this right is against Mirari Vos, Libertas Praestantissimum, Quanta Cura, the Syllabus etc. etc.

So it´s is against some teaching of the Church (and not just some opinion - read the enzyclicals and you wil see).

But here you see, IANS, the confusion:

What shall a simple man like Eremita hold now - which one of the both - allegedly - Church-doctrines?

He chose to stick to DH - and therefore he rejected the right of the state that is a clear doctrine of many Popes of our Holy Mother Church.

Seeing the problem?

El Eremita said...


++Müller is a theologian AND a bishop. Most of the quotations used to accuse him of being a modernist are taken from his theological works, not homilies or pastoral letters. Those were not directed at the faithful but at theologians and academics.

By the way, my mention of Williamson was only directed at prof. Basto's suggestion that the current hierarchy considers the 'pre-conciliar Faith' as no longer valid. But now that you mention it, Müller's opinion is another good example.

People accuse him of being an heretic because he says that the Depositum Fidei does not include any affirmation regarding the precise physiological meaning of the virginitas in partu. We know that we are bound to believe that Our Lord was brought forth by Mary 'without loss of (her) integrity', but, to my knowledge, this doesn't include things like the absence of pains or believing that Our Lord came forth 'as light through glass', etc... I don't know the degree of theological certainty of such propositions, but even if they were sententiae fidei proximae, theological speculation would still be allowed, because they are not 'de fide'.

It must also be noticed that this is not only Müller's opinion, but it is also present in Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma... my copy (Spanish translation of the German edition of 1965) says:

To specify the meaning of the virginal integrity "in partu" in its physiological aspect does not belong to the Faith of the Church. (spanish original: "puntualizar en qué consiste la integridad virginal en el parto en el aspecto fisiológico, no corresponde a la Fe de la Iglesia")

The manual gives this reference: J.B. Alfaro "Adnotationes in tractatum de Beata Virgine Maria, Roma, Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, 1958, 53ss."

So, those who accuse Müller of being a heretic are adding things to their "version of the Catholic Faith" which, according to at least two important dogmatic theologians and those who censored and gave imprimatur to their works, do not belong to the Deposit of Faith.

Toni said...

I don't know where you go, White Lily but the two Society chapels I regularly attend are absolutely jam packed every week.

Carl said...

I'm not quite sure what to make of Archbishop Müller's omission of his presumed duties in Ecclesia Dei or his dancing-around-the-issue whenever SSPX or traditionalism comes up.

On the one hand, it seems like a bad sign, perhaps that discussions and reconciliation have been permanently postponed. This would be a cause for deep sadness. On the other hand, perhaps it suggests that Ecclesia Dei will be only under his titular direction, but for all practical intents and purposes, the whole matter will be the responsibility of Archbishop Di Noia. This would be a cause for hope.

This latter interpretation seems reinforced by the connection between ++Müller's "many room" comment and ++Di Noia's comments about the possibility of theological disagreements and the pope not wanting the division to continue.

I am starting to think that for precisely the reasons people here don't like ++Müller, he will be perfectly positioned to allay the concerns of (mostly European) bishops who strongly oppose recognizing the Society. He will talk about "many rooms" while making fairly strong statements criticizing the Society. He will be able to make the circuits saying, in effect, "You all know perfectly well that I don't like the Society any more than any of you do, but..."

If it allows the Society to continue as it is while mitigating the damage done by the enemies of the Society in the European hierarchy and in the international media, this appointment might actually prove a stroke of genius. This might seem overly hopeful, but I think it's a hope firmly based on things actually said by the newly appointed Archbishops. It is not empty speculation: These two archbishops are giving fairly clear indications that the Church has "room" for SSPX despite "theological disagreements."

Bartholomew said...

Adfero said:

"Sadly, that isn't possible when they see everything as living and breathing, meaning changeable to suit modern 'needs.'"

To your point, Adfero:

The Archbishop Of Berlin is quoted today in "The Tablet" as saying:

"We must find a way of allowing people to live without going against church teaching."

He's supposed to be one of the "conservative" bishops in Germany.

Does one receive the impression that there has been lately a fundamental shift in the articulated attitudes? Almost like some kind of signal has been given?

rodrigo said...

We cannot simply and mechanically repeat the doctrine of the faith. It must always be associated with the intellectual developments of the time, the sociological changes, the thinking of people.

German Cardinal calls for rethink on concubinage, sodomy.

David said...

Never do we hear these subtle theologians like the Holy Father and his conferees speak about the one thing that really matters: the salvation of souls. That's why the new head of the CDF admits, proudly, that protecting the doctrine of the faith is no longer job #1 for his Congregation. He sees no connection between doctrine and salvation. Neither, I fear, does the Pope. If I am wrong, please show me from the Pope's own words.

Woody said...

Dear Non-Spartacus,

I am not breaking communion with anyone. As an elaboration of the theme, however, here is Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross [you know who that means]:

“In my view, the audacity, the pastoral sincerity and intellectual honesty of Pope Benedict have led him to identify, and at the same time to neutralize dogmatically in a theologically correct way, the point that the progressives use as a pretext to affirm a "rupture," and that for the traditionalists constitutes instead the stumbling block. It is therefore a matter of recognizing that there exists a level, not essential for the Church's understanding of itself and dogmatic identity, on which there can be, and in fact is, a discontinuity and incompatibility between the magisterium of the popes of the nineteenth century and that of Vatican II. At the same time, however, the pope has clarified that there does not exist that which both the progressives and the traditionalists, with opposite assessments, affirm: a rupture in what is constitutive for the Church, that is, its dogma and its identity as "one, holy, catholic and apostolic."

Nonetheless, in what the Council affirms about religious freedom there is no development of dogma, because this is not in any way a question that touches on dogma. HERE THE DEVELOPMENT CONCERNS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THAT WHICH, IN THE PAST, WAS THOUGHT TO BELONG TO DOGMA BECAUSE IT WAS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL FOR RESISTING MODERN RELIGIOUS RELATIVISM AND INDIFFERENTISM; WHILE IN REALITY IT WAS NOT PART OF DOGMA – that is, it was not necessary to guarantee the rejection of religious relativism and indifferentism – and therefore it could be abandoned.” [capitalization added for emphasis]

So OK, the Church cannot and does not change dogma, but what we poor mortals THINK is dogma may not really be such, as later Church authority will inform us.

What is next, then, in this progression, one wonders.

All the best, as always.

Matt said...

Müller aid, "The Church, a house of many rooms."

Yes, many rooms as long as one's a liberal or has weird ideas about religion. For Tradtionalists: NO VACANCY!!

Matt said...

Francesco Colafemmina said, "What does it mean????

'Inasmuch as we appreciate history with its great achievements, we must also see that every era is also directly related to God. Every era has its own challenges. We can not explain a historical era according to the classical pattern, but we walk from one summit to the next.'

I don't understand. Does he mean that the interpretation of the Church must be adapted to the evolution of times, so progress is the key to read our own era and not anymore the fixed tradition?

Francesco, it what means what all liberals do. Rewrite hsitory. Revisionist mentality. They take everything from the past and demean it, create falsehoods and distortions of the past by spinning things in ways to make their ideologies and agendas infused into the thinking of the people so as to capture the unaware. Whatever one can argue about what the Second Vatican Council was really about, the result is revisionist religion.

When one rewrites history, there are no references available for one to check facts and argue against the liberal agenda. This is to keep the masses ignorant and dependent on their body politic. This is why iberalitas/modernistas hate Tradition. You find this in politics as well as religion, and also why the SSPX and the Tridentine Mass are so hated by them and why they want to change the Tridentine Missal.

The mindset of a liberal is not just making known what they think or believe, but everyone else has to believe it also. If not, then the opposition has to be silenced, eliminated, characterized as bad. This is why liberals can't argue intellectually. It's always Ad Hominem attacks against those who disagree. If one really assesses a liberal, how often does it turn out he really doesn't believe in God in the strictest sense (hence Muller's comment above) or has beliefs which are disconnected from any classical lines of thought, therefore, falsehood, or irrationality at least.

Louis said...

(sigh...) So much confusion caused by ambiguous use of "Magisterium"! As has been pointed out, it means teaching authority. Unfortunately, in V-II-speak it usually is intended to mean "doctrine" (the object of the teaching authority.) Does it not seem to be one of the main magic words in V-II-speak?


El Eremita said...


I am not going to turn this thread into a discussion about religious liberty, but let me tell you that this issue is much more complicated than you think... just a few thoughts:

Dignitatis Humanae (as interpreted in the catechism) affirms that the limit of religious liberty is the common good. On the other hand, none of the documents you mention says that the state has an inherent and absolute right to exercise coertion in religious matters... the right (and duty) of the Catholic State (which, according to Ottaviani, is a state where the majority of the citizens are not only baptised but also profess the catholic faith) is the defense of the religious patrimony of the people against every assault aimed at depriving them of the treasure of their faith and of religious peace. (cf. Ottaviani, Duties of the Catholic State In Regard to Religion).

Does Dignitatis Humanae deny this right to a (theoretical) Catholic State? Is there any Catholic State protesting against the Pope because they can't exercise their right to defend the Faith of their people because of DH? I admit that we could discuss a few years about the concordats signed under Paul VI, but that was a matter of practical application and prudential (mis)judgement... not a few spanish theologians (Eustaquio Guerrero SJ, Victorino Rodriguez OP) concluded back then that, at least theoretically, Dignitatis Humanae was not contrary to the spanish law of that time (public worship of false religions was forbidden), precisely because the common religious patrimony of the people was part of the common good, which is the limit of religious liberty according to DH. I don't say that their conclusion was right (I personally think that there has to be a certain degree of certainty that a public act of worship of a false religion will harm the Faith of the citizens of a Catholic society for the State to have a right to impede it), but here you have two excellent theologians who considered that there is no contradiction between the traditional teaching and Dignitatis Humanae (if it is correctly interpreted).

But above all we must ask ourselves: is this a matter "of Faith"? Do the answers to these questions belong to the Fidei Depositum? Which would be the precise propositions regarding the right of the state to use coertion in religious matters that were revealed by God and that we are bound to believe with an assent of Faith? Is is perfectly clear and evident that such propositions were promulgated as infallible or definitive? (cf. canon 749) Is there a strict logical contradiction between them and those contained in Dignitatis Humanae?

As I said before, this is much more complex than just saying "Dignitatis Humanae contradicts Quanta Cura because one espouses religious liberty while the other condemns it".


Philippe said...

The only way I have managed to come closer to anticipating the actions of Benedict XVI, since his elevation, is to liken him to the circus rider having his feet on separate horses, one named Trad, the other Mod, and going round and round. Given he "made his bones" as periti and acolyte to Rahner at VAT II, such performance is probably the best to be expected, while thanking our Merciful God for having enlightended him to free the Mass and somewhat liberate the Society of Saint Pius X.

Benedict Carter said...

"It was its legitimate intention to respond not only to certain errors and correct them ...".

Yeah, right!

Where was the condemnation of Communism, which at the point the Council opened had killed around 380 million people, with around another 25 million to go?

God help us.

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


These problems you refer to were not reasons for calling a council, were not mentioned in the original schema drawn up by command of John XXIII and could more easily and more accurately be corrected without a council. Councils are normally called to address some pressing crisis in the Church. This one was not. The reason is that John XXIII sensed a need to accommodate the Church to the modern world, although I don't think that he had any idea where it would lead.


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

Mr. McFarland:

I agree with everything in your last post except for this:

"Barring a miracle of grace that would eclipse the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, that's where we stand, and that's where we'll stand on the day that the Holy Father breathes his last."

I beg to differ. I think that the Pope will indeed take us one important step closer to a reconciliation by a unilateral act. We needn't argue about it. We shall know the answer soon enough. Still I would agree with any here who might say that there is little point in doing this unless he do it very soon.


traditionalist said...

Tradidi quod et inveni.

Tradidi quod et creavi.

Oh, no: its Tradidi quod et accepi .

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


Your example is excellent and not surprising. Mülller's ruminations are typical of liberal uberintellectuals who pride themselves in justifying to others why they find God's acts to be too hard to believe. This is pure nonsense. God knows us better than we know ourselves, since He made us. The miracles were what miracles are: exceptions to the laws of nature granted in order to impress on us the reality of God's grandeur or His message to us. So, yes, had a cameraman been at the Resurrection, he would have captured on film a Body of Jesus walking about. Yes, I am fully aware about the distinction between the initial revelation to the women in the garden and the later revelations. Perhaps the cameraman would not have caught on film the first revelation, which was insubstantial in Christ's own words: do not touch Me, as I have not yet risen to My Father. But He tells St. Thomas later on to reach into His wounds. Only a twisted Hegelian like Müller would need to search diligently to explain why that Jesus could not be captured on film. The easier explanation is the more likely one: He was present in a physical form, even if a different one than the unressurected Body; therefore, one would see Him as a Man and He would interact as such in this world. Is that so hard to believe? God is omnipotent. A miracle like this is as easy for Him as it is for you or me to sip a cup of tea.

Back in the day, when people simply believed in the miracles as marvellous exceptions willed by God, faith was strong. The result was some insigificant effect known as Western civilisation, later to transcend the place of its origin. Now we have these uberintellectuals trying to rationalise everything they find hard to believe, and the result is general disbelief and a fall. Why does he find it hard to believe that a miracle is simply a divine gift in a special sign given by God, one made potent by making exception to nature? Nature is God's law; therefore, God it is especially His prerogative to make exceptions to if for our sakes, for the universe was made for us as the site of our redemption. Let him theologise; and let us believe. And, by the way, there is nothing legitimately intellectual in these speculations of his. When an intellectual has nothing important to add, as in the case of miracles, he prefers to be responsible. This is done by acting responsibly and simply not writing a word. The old view was that one should not write unless one has something valuable to add. But then the number of universities and intellectuals mushroomed (thanks to socialism) and endless speculation became a self-generating end in itself, its real purpose being to support the intellectual financially.


I am not Spartacus said...

But here you see, IANS, the confusion:

What shall a simple man like Eremita hold now - which one of the both - allegedly - Church-doctrines?

He chose to stick to DH - and therefore he rejected the right of the state that is a clear doctrine of many Popes of our Holy Mother Church.

Seeing the problem?

I think the solution is simple for a simple man like my own self; "Do what he (the Pope) tells you."

The State has no right to coerce non-Cathoics if it is not a Catholic State and right in the beginning of D.H. (this is from memory but I think it is the 3rd or 4th paragraph) it is taught there is no change in Church Tradition and so why would I think you are right and all of those Catholics Bishops wrong; including one who was declared a Blessed?

Lake Erie said...

Lake Erie said:

This passage from St. Timothy's epistle seems to fit the present circumstances (emphasis mine).

"Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God: having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid....Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the TRUTH...Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the TRUTH, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the Faith....But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse: erring and driving into error."

2 Timothy 3, 1-5, 7-9

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

A.M.D.G. and El Ermita:

On intellectualism, in the good old days of classical thought, ended in the 1960s, the attitude was that the primary work of the intellectual was to pass on to others what he had learned from the great minds of the past. The scale of this task was, by modern standards, very small, because only a small élite from the ruling classes even attended universities. In that old culture, it used to be said that the responsible scholar did not look for excuses to write on 'something'. If he found that he had nothing valuable to add, he didn't add much but concentrated on transmitting others' work. So it was a humble profession.

Then came socialism and the false claim that every man has a right to an advanced university education. The result was a proliferation of students, universities, and professors. In the humanities, at least, too many professors would be simply repeating one another. But owing to a change in philosophy or, rather, an abandonment of true philosophy, professors began to create intellectual worlds of their own through which they could re-interpret the data of study, and then they moved into their own constructs with their allies and began endless conversations among, ironically, new élites. It becomes a self-perpetuating boondoggle. The focus becomes the useless intellectual constructs of men instead of the one inescapable Creation of God. It is yet another attempt by the devil to escape the inevitability of God's will and replace it with our own; it is all about deifying man. This is the culture out of which are modern theologians have emerged. As the fruits of their labours have blossomed into rank weeds, faith has declined almost to a zero and all the beauty and grace of the liturgy has been expunged. What we have left is not worth the having.


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

I think that if one should take a picture of a Novus Ordo Mass, one would find that there was nothing on the film--nothing subsantial, that is.


I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Picard. I found this explanation about D.H. to be quite helpful.

Look, I am just a knight arrogant siting on my high hypocritical horse because i just recently surrendered my private judgment coat of arms and so who am I to oppose those who are doing what I was doing until just recently ?

But ,the plain and simple truth is that an Ecumenical Council can not contradict Catholic Doctrine and so any time that we think it does the problem is with us and our understanding and the problem is not the teachings of an Ecumenical Council.

Timothy Mulligan said...

Archbishop Muller, have you heard of the Shroud of Turin?

It condemns you.

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

Someone here has quite rightly pointed to the fact that the growth of the S.S.P.X is very slow right now. I have reason to believe that the S.S.P.X will continue to grow indefinitely into the future, but not at an impessive rate.

While all this is true, it should be added that the growth in 'approved' Masses has been even slower since late in 2008 (after an initial one-year increase from July of 2007, following S.P.). Even worse, that rate of growth has slowed almost to zero in the last year; in fact, in the U.S.A., we've actually had 'negative growth' over the last year. This could all change, of course, once the Pope realises that he can go no further in reconciliation talks. Then the P.C.E.D. will be instructed yet again to assure an increase in Masses so as to limit the reach of the S.S.P.X.

No matter how one analyses the numbers, all traditionalists combined amount to only a tiny remnant. No matter: we trust in God, not in man.


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

I can't believe my error in writing 'are' for 'our' in my second-last post, esp. since I don't pronounce these words at all alike. I must be getting old. Apologies.


I am not Spartacus said...

The Old Baltimore Catechism:

126. Q. What do you mean by the indefectibility of the Church?

A. By the indefectibility of the Church I mean that the Church, as Christ founded it, will last till the end of time.

Therefore indefectibility means that the Church can never change any of the doctrines that Our Lord taught, nor ever cease to exist. When we say it is infallible, we mean that it cannot teach error while it lasts; but when we say it is indefectible, we mean that it will last forever and be infallible forever, and also that it will always remain the same as Our Lord founded it. There are two things that you must clearly understand and not confound, namely, the two kinds of laws in the Church-those which Our Lord gave it and those which it made itself. The laws that Our Lord gave it can never change. For example, the Church could not abolish one of the Sacraments, leaving only six; neither could it add a new one, making eight. But when, for example, the Church declares that on a certain day we cannot eat flesh meat, it makes the law itself, and can change it when it wishes. Our Lord left His Church free to make certain laws, just as they would be needed. It has always exercised this power, and made laws to suit the circumstances of the place or times. Even now it does away with some of its old laws that are no longer useful, and makes new ones that are more necessary. But the doctrines, the truths of faith or morals, the things we must believe and do to save our souls, it never changes and never can change: it may regulate some things in the application of the divine laws, but the laws themselves can never change in substance.

++++++++++ end quotes ++++++++++

Holy Mother Church has never changed one Doctrine given to it by Our Lord and Saviour and I do not think any Catholic critic of the "Conciliar Church" claims that it has.

It has changed various versions of its Liturgy, laws, rules, disciplines etc but in doing so it has merely actualised the authority given it by Our Lord and Saviour and so while one can register his disagreement and seek redress for one's concern, how can one charge His Church with error without undermining the very authority one putatively seeks to vindicate by his opposition or disobedience?

As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger said in, "The Ratzinger Report:" ...Over against both tendencies, before all else, it must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican i and the Council of Trent, namely the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him....Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation...Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can only exist as an indivisible unity" (p 28-29)

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

Benedict Carter:

Thank you for your excellent observation. It was perfect. Of course, they could not condemn communism because most of the periti were communists themselves. They even imported its sick principles into theology in a new system of 'liberation'. Gastave Gutiérrez is one of its chief exponents, and Müller is only his epigone. There is a proper place for communists but I had better curb my fingers at this point.

Still, we cannot simply blame the 1960s for communism and liberation theology. The church fathers, unfortunately, fell under the Marxist spell as early as the 1870s.


I am not Spartacus said...

One last thing re D.H.

Long before V2, Pope Pius XII was talking about religious tolerance and not suppressing religious errors;

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

I am not Spartacus said:

An œcumenical council cannot contradict Church Doctrine.

Where do you get this idea? Non-infallible doctrines formulated at œcumenical councils *might* be declared infallible later on, or they might not be. In the latter case, they might be true even if never declared to be infallible, but they also might not be. Where is the guarantee that all new doctrines formulated at œcumenical councils must be true? If they must be true, then there is no need for the distnction between an infallible teaching and an authentic non-infallible teaching.

No, the indefectibility of the Church does NOT guarantee that an œcumenical council cannot err. The question is not this at all. The question is what degree of submission is required by us to non-infallble teachings. Rome has made it clear that this degree of submission comes in various different flavours. To know our duty in any individual case, of course, we must turn to the See of Blessed Peter for guidance.

The problem, as I see it, is that the S.S.P.X wants to have a freedom openly to challenge those Vatican II non-infallible teachings which seem to conradict earlier teachings that are of greater (viz. infallible) or equal status. The Society 'discerns' (how I hate that word) errros in conciliar documents and wants to warn faithful of them so as to protect souls. As the salvation of souls is the hightest law, it becomes urgent to know just how far the Society may go in challenging Vatican II teachings publicly and in a polemical manner. Given the general state of collapse in the Church, I'd say that the Holy See has a urgent duty to address this problem. Instead of doing so, it merely wishes to defend everything from that Council. No demolitionist ever wants to re-construct what he tore down by mistake, for correction is not his business, but only demolition.


Salve Caput said...

Living tradition again! A notion of tradition that is fundamentally separate from outward 'traditions' such as received liturgy and defined dogma, and practically having a protean disembodied nature. Having no real outward form, it effectively the 'will of the spirit'. In other words, tradition is replaced with pure will, pure authority, to be understood and exercised by an elite core of intellectuals clerical and lay who really understand this living tradition in a way that the rank and file ordinary faithful and parish clergy do not: resulting in a ecclesiology that is far more despotic and authoritarian than could have been dreamed of by any inquisitor or medieval pope. With this in mind, it is not difficult to see why there is such a strong vested interest in neo - modernism: too many people's positions and status's depend on it.

Tired said...

I am Not Sparatcus:

I'm sorry, but you are simply wrong about Pius XII.

The allocution he delivered calling for ample amounts of religious tolerance to be exercised was as a matter of prudential judgment withing the time-honored and classical Catholic values, beliefs, morals, and teaching throughout the ages that the State had the right to repress theological error. No change of doctrine here. He upholds the traditional teaching, while elaborating upon his prudential judgment as to how classical teaching should be applied in his time.

This is in sharp distinction to DH and PiT, which break from tradition buy saying the public toleration is a natural right to religious liberty for basically all theological errors, apart from matters of public safety and the intrinsic moral order.

JFM said...

El Eremita.

OK. I'll grant your point. Muller is not technically a heretic. His unusual opinions were expressed as personal opinions and not official declarations. What a colossal relief. Now I can assume the CDF is in the most reliable human hands possible. I need two get a piñata so I can have all the LIberationistas over to celebrate.

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

I am not Spartacus:

Yes, the doctrines we "must believe" can never change, but not all doctrines require this degree of assent, of belief (see Canons 750 to 752). Thank you also for explaining what indefectibility means. It is a guarantee that what our Lord taught cannot change and that the Church will perdure to the end of time, and that her infallibility will endure forever also, but that only pertains to those doctrines she declares to be infallible.

The Church has never changed one doctrine given by Christ or declared to be infallible, but she has repudiated other teachings given by bishops and even groups of bishops in unity with popes. She has even repudiated entire regional councils (such as Pistoia) and all their teachings. Even popes have fallen into and disseminated error, as did Honorious I and Liberius.

So the following observations apply:

1. There may be doctrinal error in some non-infallible new teachings in Vatican II, which means all the new teachings, since none were declared infallibly; however, we stil need to submit mind and will to these teachings, although in varying degrees as determined by the subject matter of the doctrine, the degree of authority suggested by the title of the document in which it appears, and the manifest will of the fathers who pronounced it. Rome has the authority to specify what degree of submission of mind and will is required of such doctrines. To my knowledge, she has never done so in even a single case.

2. There may be expressive errors in relaying doctrine. Since the salvation of souls is the highest law, the Church is strictly bound not only to proclaim the truth but to do so unambiguously, that souls not be led astray. John Paul II openly admitted the possibility of expressive errors when he remarked on how Vatican doctrines are to be interpreted: in accord with tradition even when the words suggest another more likely meaning.

3. There may be errors in translation, like the infamous one in the official English translation of Nostra Ætate: it does NOT say in the Latin that the Jews and Muslims worship the "same" God as we but only that, like us, they worship a god who is understood to be perfect. Of course, the contrary does not follow here: N.Æ. is not saying that they do *not* worship the same god as we. However, to discover the truth of that matter, we must look to other official teaching.

4. There are pastoral directions in Vatican II documents which do not have any new doctrinal content at all. They also require a certain degree of submission on our part but it is not a matter of intellectual assent.


Carl said...

PKTP - Why the Council was called, whether it should have been called or whether such errors might have been better answered in a different way -- these questions have nothing to do with what I wrote. I was answering your questions about what ++Müller may have meant about Vatican II correcting errors.

I am not Spartacus said...

An œcumenical council cannot contradict Church Doctrine.

Where do you get this idea?

From the fact that all Ecumenical Councils, by their nature, are infallible.

Where is the guarantee that all new doctrines formulated at œcumenical councils must be true?

Holy Mother Church will resolve any and all apparent ambiguities.

The problem, as I see it, is that the S.S.P.X wants to have a freedom openly to challenge those Vatican II non-infallible teachings which seem to conradict earlier teachings that are of greater (viz. infallible) or equal status

Dear Mr. Perkins. In the 1970s, Pope Paul VI conceded that essential right to Mons lefevbre (in his 1976 letter to him) but it had to be actualised acrcd to the expressed authority of The Pope which is the Catholic way:

....Again, you cannot appeal to the distinction between what is dogmatic and what is pastoral to accept certain texts of this Council and to refuse others. Indeed, not everything in the Council requires an assent of the same nature: only what is affirmed by definitive acts as an object of faith or as a truth related to faith requires an assent of faith. But the rest also forms part of the solemn magisterium of the church to which each member of the faithful owes a confident acceptance and a sincere application.

You say moreover that you do not always see how to reconcile certain texts of the Council, or certain dispositions which We have enacted in order to put the Council into practice, with the wholesome tradition of the church and in particular with the Council of Trent of the affirmations of Our predecessors. These are for example: the responsibility of the college of bishops united with the sovereign pontiff, the new Ordo Missae, ecumenism, religious freedom, the attitude of dialogue, evangelization in the modem world. . . . It is not the place, in this letter, to deal with each of these problems. The precise tenor of the documents, with the totality of it nuances and its context, the authorized explanations, the detailed and objective commentaries which have been made, are of such a nature to enable you to overcome these personal difficulties. Absolutely secure counsellors, theologians and spiritual directors would be able to help you even more, with God's enlightenment, and We are ready to facilitate this fraternal assistance for you.

But how can an interior personal difficulty - a spiritual drama which We respect - permit you to set yourself up publicly as a judge of what has been legitimately adopted, practically with unanimity, and knowingly to lead a portion of the faithful into your refusal? If justifications are useful in order to facilitate intellectual acceptance - and We hope that the troubled or reticent faithful will have the wisdom, honesty and humanity to accept those justifications that are widely placed at their disposal - they are not in themselves necessary for the assent of obedience that is due to the Ecumenical Council and to the decisions of the Pope. It is the ecclesial sense that is at issue...

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

I am not Spartacus:

In regard to your quotation from then-Cardinal Ratzinger, it is not a matter of denying that Vatican II is an œcumenical council, a claim apparently made by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais at the end of his recent ordination Sermon at Winona. However, if it be found that a certain council, even an œcumenical one, has misled and confused the faithful, the same authority which convoked and approved it may also repudiate it. This will not normally be a good idea: no smart agent attacks the source of his own authority, which must be the same. So Benedict XVI's point stands. However, it is not impossible that Vatican II will one day be repudiated not on the grounds that all its teaching is false but on the grounds that, overall, its effect has been deleterious and injurious to the Faith. The popes have indeed repudiated regional councils, including councils which were convoked by popes and approved by popes. It would be harder to do this in the case of an œcumenical council because such action would seem to be unprecedented (depending on how you read the status of some repudiated councils). So a likelier cutcome would be for the Church to issue a series of clarifications and then gradually allow V. II to fade into obscurity. No need to quote ambiguous texts from Vatican II when more precise texts are there from Lateran IV, Trent, Florence, Vatican I and the various special acts and encylicals of popes. Of course, as we all know, 'conservative', as well as liberal homilists quote Vatican II so often that one might think it to be only œcumenical council: there were not 22 but only one. They never ever ever mention Florence or Trent, Vatican I or Lateran IV. Never. They don't know the texts and don't want to remind anyone of settled Catholic teaching.

Benedict XVI has already issued a clarification on the infamous 'subsists in' clause. As far as I am aware, this is a first. Expect more to follow. But if you are hoping for a correction to the mistranslation into English of Nostra Ætate, you can forget it at least while this gang of political correct ideologues holds sway in Rome. Tissier is right on that: we shall have to wait thirty years at least, until all these old heretics are gone. The Council cannot be assessed reasonably until those who have a stake in defending it are all gone to their eternal rewards or punishments, in each case.


Carl said...

PKTP - Your response to He-Who-Isn't-Spartacus suggests that you didn't see what I wrote to you elsewhere. Where do you get the notion that ecumenical councils confirmed by the pope can commit doctrinal error? What's your source?

Vatican I said, "this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error." Note the words "always" and "any." This would most certainly apply to Ecumenical Councils confirmed by the Pope: Obviously we are not talking about local synods, never approbated synods like the Ephesian Latrocinium or Pisa, or elements of a legitimate Council that the pope refused approbation, such as that canon from Chalcedon that St. Leo I rejected.

We can also address it in a syllogism.
1) Documents of Ecumenical Councils confirmed by the pope are endowed with the Church's authority.
2) Doctrinal error has no authority.
3) Documents of Ecumenical Councils confirmed by the pope cannot contain doctrinal error.

What's wrong with this argument?

I want to be clear that I am NOT asserting that ecumenical councils are necessarily, always and in every respect free from expressive, prudential or other non-doctrinal "errors." Rather I am claiming - or rather VATICAN ONE is claiming - that "error" is not really the right word for such problems. Also, I am NOT denying that such non-doctrinal "errors" can sometimes be authoritative.

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

Dear Mr. Mulligan:

Your observation about the Shroud of Turin is delicious; it is like a ripe pear, and there is nothing better on this earth than a ripe pear. Thank you.

We might also mention the vernicle or sudarium, and the other cloth, the burial facecloth (does anyone know its technical name?).


Felipe Coelho said...

El Eremita,

With each new edition of Ludwig Ott's Manual, he got more and more in line with prevalent Modernism: the 1965 edition you quote even accepts polygenism, though condemned by Pope Pius XII in the Humani Generis.

His source on that unspeakable doctrine, Jesuit Juan Alfaro, is a well known Rahnerian and precursor of Liberation "Theology."

So much for your "two important dogmatic theologians"...

In Domino et Domina,
Felipe Coelho

Lady Marchmain said...

Perhaps this is not the place to ask this question, but is it not the case that the church is preserved from teaching error only until the time when Our Lord and St. Paul both indicated it would deviate into Apostasy?

Is there any authoritative document concerning the apostasy that could clarify this?

Marla said...

God bless all who post here. God bless those who make Rorate Caeli possible and may God give all of us His peace. I do not know about others but I really need it.

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


The See of Peter is always unblemished by doctrinal error only because she never guarantees freedom from error unless she defines and pronounces dogma infallibly. To be blemished by error, she would need to guarantee freedom from error and then admit to error in the same teaching. Your quotation proves nothing. Nowhere does the Church say that all authentic teachings have this guarantee. The Church teaches that only Scripture and infallible pronouncements are unable to be false, when properly interpreted by Holy Church. Other authentic teachings may or may not be free of error. Any one of them (or even all of them) could be declared to be infallible in the future, which is why we are bound to render to them a submission of mind and will. Note that, the teachings mentioned in those regards are still called "doctrine" and yet "[do not require] the assent of faith". If they were necessarily inerrant, they would require the assent of faith and there would be no useful distinction between an infallible teaching (a dogma) and a non-infallible one.

What does infallible mean? It literally means "an inability to be incorrect". So the Church does not guarantee this to all doctrines, only those which she defines and proclaims to be infallible (the subject matter of Canon 750). It is important to note that the the Church has no category of 'fallible' doctrines. That is because, in any given case (or even all cases), a lesser-ranked doctrine could be declared to be infallible in the future. However, it also remains possible in any given case that a non-infallible teaching contains doctrinal error; otherwise, all authentic teaching would be automatically infallible. So I have put it to you in a syllogism.

It is possible for a non-infallible doctrine to be misformulated (malexpressed) or misinterpreted, of course. We agree on that. The question, then, is whether or not it be possible for a non-infallible doctrine to be formulated so that its words are logically not open to an orthodox interpretation. We know that the teaching even of popes as private doctors can be erroneous, but this is a different category, as we are dealing with official teaching. However, the answer is at least theoretically affirmative; otherwise, as I have said, our Blessed Lord would have guaranteed that all official teaching is unable to be untrue, and He would have inspired the Church to know this certainly. Again, it is possible that all non-infallible teaching is inerrant, but the Church nowhere guarantees this; therefore, it is at least theoretically possible that it is not.

Again, the real issue here is not this question at all but, rather, the nature of the submission faithful owe to any particular non-infallible teaching. It matters not a whit if doctrinal error be possible in such teaching, as we lack the authority to know this. But should a faithful find that a non-infallible Vatican II teaching apparently contradicts an infallible teaching, what should he do pending a clarification from Rome? He should set aside the former and adhere with all his heart to the infallible teaching as he understands it, knowing that only an infallible teaching is unable to be untrue.


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

I am not Spartacus:

Well, yes, Paul VI and others would have been only too happy to teach Archbishop Lefebvre, lunchbox in hand, how to accept the principles of 1789 and integrate them with the Catholic Faith. I would say that the good Archbishop acted out of a sense of grave necessity when he saw how Paul VI's and his friends' commentaries on Vatican II were leading not to a maturity in the Faith but to its dissolution.