Rorate Caeli

Ah, those traditionalists!

Laodicea, Anatolia
Published a few hours ago on CNS: 

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as breaking with the truth both espouse a "heretical interpretation" of the council and its aims, said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

What Pope Benedict XVI has termed "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" is the "only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology," Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29.

"Outside this sole orthodox interpretation unfortunately exists a heretical interpretation, that is, a hermeneutic of rupture, (found) both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist" side, the archbishop said.

What the two camps have in common, he said, is their rejection of the council: "the progressives in their wanting to leave it behind, as if it were a season to abandon in order to get to another church, and the traditionalists in their not wanting to get there," seeing the council as a Catholic "winter."

"Louis XVI, King of the French - 1793
 Kingdom of the Law - Year 5 of Freedom"

A "council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible church" is the "highest expression" of the Magisterium, he said, to be regarded as part of "an indissoluble whole," along with Scripture and 2,000 years of tradition.

The doctrinal chief's remarks were published in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, to present the seventh volume of "The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger." The volume collects both published and unpublished notes, speeches, interviews and texts written or given by the future pope in the period shortly before, during and just after Vatican II.

Archbishop Muller specified that by "continuity" Pope Benedict meant a "permanent correspondence with the origin, not an adaption of whatever has been, which also can lead the wrong way."

Burial site of Alexander Kerensky, Putney Vale Cemetery, London

The term "aggiornamento" or updating -- one of the watchwords of the council -- "does not mean the secularization of the faith, which would lead to its dissolution," but a "making present" of the message of Jesus Christ, he said.

This "making present" is the "reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ," he said.

"The tradition of apostolic origin continues in the church with help from the Holy Spirit," he said, and leads to greater understanding through contemplation and study, intelligence garnered from a deeper experience of the spiritual, and preaching by those who through the "apostolic succession have received an assured charism of truth."

More from Vatican Insider: The custodian of faith on the “heretical interpretations” of the Council.


This comes a few days after Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, was quoted as telling traditionalists to "go back to studying Latin", "because they often want masses to be celebrated in Latin, but it is likely they do not know the language that well." (The advice to learn Latin -- a completely unprovoked quip -- is certainly not offensive to traditional Catholics, but the Cardinal's remarks seem to echo the idea that in order to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, the priests and faithful should first know Latin -- a misguided and wrongheaded notion that has been used frequently to deny Catholics access to this Mass. Traditional Catholics are not Latinolaters, otherwise they would be quite satisfied with the 1969 liturgical construct celebrated in Latin...)

Condescending prelates should simply listen to the Pope: "It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these." (Letter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum) Got it?


  1. LoyalPapist9:25 PM

    Thank God that the authentic Magisterium speaks at last.

    The supression of the errors of the DIY 'church' of the SSPX is long overdue.

  2. Brian9:40 PM

    I am outraged, but not surprised by these comments.

  3. Spero9:54 PM

    "...permanent correspondence with the origin, not an adaption of whatever has been, which also can lead the wrong way..." On the bright side, at least this line seems a step forward from that confusing language about the maintaining the same "subject-Church." Much closer to defining "continuity" as Tradition, in the sense of keeping the deposit.

  4. Having read and heard the different things coming from ol' Mueller, I'm not going to get all pushed out of shape from his latest noise.

    I look at this way. Just because one is appointed chair of the Mathematics Department doesn't mean he suddenly knows all about Quantum Theory. IMO.

  5. "This 'making present' is the "reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ," he said."

    What does this mean???!!! Each time a new statement comes out, I think maybe this one will finally make sense to me and begin to clear things up. Unfortunately, when I'm finished I'm more confused than I was before I began reading!

    The problem must be me - I must be too stupid to be a Catholic, plain and simple. I don't know how those poor illiterate peasants did it all those years navigating the "making present" and "renewal in continuity" and such.

    Is there a kind soul reading this who could please make me a stained glass window depicting the "reform of making present in fidelity to the whole Christ" so I can finally figure this out?

  6. Then explain already how the documents of Vatican II especially the one on Religious Liberty is the same content as always been taught by the Church.

    We here, AccEpt it!
    Accept it!
    Accept it!

    But they will never clearly explain it.

  7. Francis10:20 PM

    Why would any trad be surprised by this modernist and neocon rubbish published by a prelate who has personally questioned the Virgin Birth of Our Lord and Transubstantiation?! Not to mention his love for Vatican II novelties such as ecumenism, religious liberty and collegiality! These people will never get it.

  8. Hilltop10:59 PM

    So much breath spent on "aggiornamento".
    while it may have been a "watchword" was it ever part of what was promulgated by the Council? If not, why any discussion of it now and why by the CDF?
    As for the insistence that "rupture" talk is now hereTICAL, why not rather a clear Teaching on what of it is actual HERESY and exactly why it is so?
    Short of that it seems to me to be opinion in the guise of teaching, which is an intellectual / rhetorical bluff.

  9. JTLiuzza11:07 PM

    "Renewal in continuity." What in fact is His Eminence getting at? How can one stand there and proclaim "renewal in continuity" as he stands amidst that rubble that is left of the Church since said "renewal" was put in motion?

    Where is the "renewal in continuity?" What he refers to as "renewal" is really newness. It is novelty concocted simply for the sake of newness with absolutely no other value or origin. That, by it's very nature, has nothing to do with continuity.

  10. Anonymous11:10 PM

    "A 'council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible church' is the 'highest expression' of the Magisterium . . ."

    It most decidedly is NOT the highest expression of the Magisterium when the Council fathers choose to restrict their teachings to a pastoral, rather than a dogmatic or definitional, context. The Pope himself would not even agree to his statement: see his comments in the '80s about those who view the Council as a "superdogma."

    Archbishop Muller is also painting with an awfully broad "traditionalist" brush. It seems to me that traditionalists (e.g., Fr. Brian Harrison, priests from the Ecclesia Dei communities) are the only ones doing theological work that attempts to DEMONSTRATE continuity between tradition and Vatican II, rather than simply to assert it.

  11. Bravo, John! Hear hear!

    In addition, I second the comments that, if VII is to be understood in light of Tradition, when will the Vatican produce documents which show precisely how we are to understand certain statements in Dignitatis Humanae, or Guadium Et Spes, in continuity? I have seen some individual attempts recently, but they have been pretty poor.

    Like so much else in the Church today, we hear the words, but never see the action.

    It is also very valid to point out the fact that, far from experiencing a renewal, the Church is in the midst of its greatest crisis, ever. Why did the Council fail so very massively in its aims?

  12. Perhaps Archbishop Muller will be investigating Msgr. Gherardini for heresy then?

    Really, when will this nonsense stop? I am beginning to think that the best solution to the "continuity" problem and Vatican II is to stop discussing Vatican II ad nauseum. No one is still discussing Canon 12 of the Council of Chalcedon....

  13. NIANTIC11:51 PM

    They keep on trying to convince everyone that all is just peachy and creamy in the Church. Good luck.
    It is really very sad but these prelates just have no clue. They have swallowed the entire confusing modernist propaganda and there is absolutely NOTHING that will change their minds. They have eyes but do not see, they have ears but do not hear. Lord have mercy!

  14. The optimist says we need to embrace the Springtime of Vatican Two.

    The pessimist says we must confess that it is The Winter of Vatican Two.

    And the realist says, be careful where you stand during The Fall of Vatican Two.

  15. Matthew Rose12:09 AM

    Heresy? Does +Mueller even believe in heresy? Since when does he and those like him care one whit about heresy and heretics and their errors?

    Oh, right. The only heresy is Catholic Tradition. Oops, I forgot.

  16. The Scribe12:21 AM

    The Council is in the Bible, read about it (Vatican II Thessalonians ii).

  17. Francis12:31 AM

    Ravasi and Muller, and other modernists like them, exemplify what the conciliar Catholic Church stands for, and who THEY consider are heretics. While they call traditional Catholics "heretics", they have no problem having relativist, syncretist and indifferentist lovefests with REAL heretics and pagans while affirming and legitimizing their false religions and heretical sects. They truly don't believe that they have a duty to tell these misguided people the danger to their immortal souls if they don't convert to the one true Church/faith which is the Catholic Church. The only people that Ravasi and Muller think are on a pathway to Hell are traditional Catholics. I truly think these modernists are getting nervous. Their 1960's Catholicism is dying, especially in the west, and they'll do anything to prevent the NWO and its religion from becoming extinct. Yet eventually they know as we that their time and ideology is running out.

  18. I for one have to agree with his Eminence, when he says "renewal in continuity". Clearly he is describing the progressive decline of the Church since the reformation.

  19. Don M.12:46 AM

    Our Lady of Lasalette ; (pray for us) ora pro nobis

  20. Fidus et Audax12:58 AM

    Blah, blah, blah, more fiddling while the fire in Rome grows. It's not worth even listening to anymore. The conciliar Church is vaporizing. When it is done vaporizing and the smoke and dust have cleared the Church will be reborn. All discussion about the council will be a footnote in history about a lousy time in the Church

  21. Anonymous1:45 AM

    "This making present is the reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ"

    Reform necessary for every era?

    How can it be dogmatic then! How can it be heresy to disagree!!!!!

    The only thing that's dogmatic is the truth, and the truth cannot be reformed!


  22. While I get the general point isn't it true that Ratzinger's interpretation differs from that of Paul VI. Like a communist party newspaper we are told this is now the official party interpretation. I think the real view of Vatican II is what was in the mind of the good bishops and what they were told certain passges in the Vat II documents meant when they (the bishops) asked for clarifications and voted.The documents cannot have a maening other than that of the time. Let's face it the New Mass and abuses were the work of not just the liberal bishops but the papacy through various congregations in Rome. Pope Benedict's policies differ from those of Paul VI. That is the confusion. The differing policies and ideologies. Traditionalists want Vat II to be interpreted in a Catholic sense. The documents lack precision. Yet a tradionalist interpretation of the Council would not have produced the New Mass. That was Bugnini and his followers and it was Paul VI who gave them power. Bugnini was a liberal and the Papacy gave him power. The Pope nominated Weakland Archbishop and gave us many of the bad bishops we have.

  23. Happy Birthday, Archbishop Lefebvre!

  24. Joseph2:53 AM

    Every Council must be interpreted through the lense of Tradition. It's the only way of interpreting them in the end. And it is impossible for a council to be dismantled because it is an official, papally approved act of the Magisterium. For example, the Council of Florence says that the moment of priestly ordination is the deacon touching the chalice & paten presented to him by the Bishop, while Pius XII later declares it is the laying on of hands. Did the Church ever dismantle the Council of Florence? Or declare it to be in error on this important point of the matter and form of a Sacrament? Absolutely not. And it never will. The church clarifies later but does not dismantle.

  25. Gratias4:45 AM

    Augustinus, you illustrations are brilliant. Must say Laodicea needed Googling. Hot, cold or lukewarm?

  26. amicus19625:28 AM

    Mueller seems to have forgotten that his boss, then as Cardinal Ratzinger once said, “in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries and replaced it — as in a manufacturing process — with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.” How is one that is a banal, on-the-spot fabrication be in continuity with tradition?? Or is the Pope also a heretic for calling the Novus Ordo a fabrication?

  27. Bernadette O'Hanlan7:35 AM

    Finally, we are going to get the clarification that is so urgently and desperately needed. Praise God!

  28. David of Glasgow8:26 AM

    If Archbishop Muller is looking to condemn someone who has asserted that there is no continuity between at least one of the teachings of Vatican II and the earlier magisterium then I would suggest he try to track down the man who wrote the following:

    [Dignitatis Humanae] attempts to emphasize continuity in the statements of the official Church on this issue. It also says that it “leaves intact the traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and communities toward the true religion and the only Church of Christ” (n. 1). The term “duty” here has doubtful application to communities in their relation to the Church. Later on in the Declaration, the text itself corrects and modifies these earlier statements, offering something new, something that is quite different from what is found, for example, in the statements of Pius XI and Pius XII. It would have been better to omit these compromising formulas or to reformulate them in line with the later text. Thus the introduction changes nothing in the text’s content; therefore, we need not regard it as anything more than a minor flaw. (Theological Highlights of Vatican II, 1967)

    So, what does this author assert? He asserts that (1) that there is no continuity between the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and previous magisterial teaching, that (2) there was an error in that previous magisterial teaching that was "corrected and modified" by Dignitatis Humanae, and that (3) the conciliar document, therefore, contains an error - a "flaw" - in that claims to leave "intact the traditional Catholic doctrine".

    The name of this damnable 'heretic'?

    Fr Joseph Ratzinger.

  29. Rumsey9:35 AM

    Where is this man really coming from and what is his agenda? Is it to destroy the SSPX after the recent end of "discussions"?

    His words can be taken in various ways given the vague construct of his language.

    Not a friend of tradition, what is his agenda on top of whatever brief he has been given?

    If Ratzinger was "God's rottweiler" then which breed is Mueller?

    Only time will tell, but he is a Novus Ordo man.

  30. All must be well within Mother Church as ++Muller is spending his valuable time upon the narrow issue of Vatican II.

    Has ++Muller nothing better to do with his time, perhaps six months wit a 'silent order' might be appropriate.

  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  32. Picard12:32 PM

    here again: tha's a really good one (well, if I get it right, because I am not a native English-speaker. But seems to be a VERY good one!! Oh yes, the homophones....!)

    - and again I can only applaud & assent!

  33. ReasonandRevelation1:37 PM

    I agree with Abp. Muller. But what is more important, it is my Catholic obligation to defer to the magisterial authority on this matter.

  34. Fr. A.M.2:06 PM

    I think that, overall, a validly convened council, under the authority of the Vicar of Christ on earth cannot be out of line with tradition, in its dogmatic/doctrinal teaching, and neither should we regard the opinions of theologians as necessarily good guides to interpreting Vatican II. However in other matters, such as discipline and prudential judgement, a council can make mistakes, or at least they can be judged questionable by a future generation. We must be very careful, in the presentation of Vatican II, to distinguish the different levels of teaching given, and the different levels of assent required of the faithful.

  35. Christophe2:11 PM

    So anyone who see "rupture" after Vatical II is a heretic? What about Fr. Ratzinger, who wrote that Gaudium et Spes:

    plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the measure that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789. On one hand, this visualization alone clarifies the ghetto complex that we mentioned before. On the other hand, it permits us to understand the meaning of this new relationship between the Church and the Modern World. "World" is understood here, at depth, as the spirit of modern times. The consciousness of being a detached group that existed in the Church viewed this spirit as something separate from herself and, after the hot as well as cold wars were over, she sought dialogue and cooperation with it.


  36. Jack Orlando2:31 PM

    That the extremes are “both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist" is simply a fact. The Archbishop’s comments were not strictly speaking published but reported. One can hardly except precision in a short public address. The Archbishop most likely knows well that the lay of the land is more complicated and looks like this:

    1. Two kinds of Liberals:
    a. The ultra liberals of the aggiornamento/Concilium school. These are Müller’s “progressive front”, and they hate Summorum Pontificum.
    b. The “anything goes” school, which doesn’t oppose Summorum Pontificum, because it is part of “anything”

    2. Two kinds of Conservatives: ressourcement/Communio:
    a. those who support V2 and the Bugnini Mass yet who are orthodox in Dogmatic and Moral Theology, and who believe V2 must be interpreted in terms of tradition. Many of these support Summorum Pontificum; a few don’t.
    b. those who accept all of 2a except the Bugnini Mass, which they say is not what V2 called for.

    3. Three kinds of Traditionalists:
    a. those who simply want the Mass of John XXIII and otherwise are in the groups of #2.
    b. those who support the the Mass of John XXIII (the Summorum Pontificum people) and wish its general restoration in place of the Bugnini Mass, and who otherwise in the groups of #2.
    b. those who utterly reject V2, what came after V2, and any theology other than Thomist Scholasticism. These are Müller’s “traditionalist” front.

    Holy Father and the Archbishop are in 2a, and I suspect, because they can read Sacrosanctum Concilium, 2b.

  37. Tomas de Torquemada2:51 PM




    That's rich.

  38. I reject the broad-brush treatment Muller applies to traditionalists for there is another camp that simply wants doctrine presented in continuity with what has been taught and practiced before VII.

    To deny doctrinal aberrations present in the post VII landscape is to deny reality IMO. I invite anyone who denies this fact to visit my webpage at and then repeat the absurd statement that there have been no irregularities in doctrine as it has been practiced in the post VII church.

    Read irregularities in doctrine as a state of necessity and it should be clear that we are in a world of hurt with respect to continuity with what has gone before. Is that a problem for the CDF? You bet it is!

  39. CredoUtIntelligam3:59 PM

    Fr. A.M. said:

    We must be very careful, in the presentation of Vatican II, to distinguish the different levels of teaching given, and the different levels of assent required of the faithful.

    Well said, Father. This makes Archbishop Muller's sweeping references to "heretical" interpretations of Vatican all the more striking. The Church is still awaiting proper distinctions between the different levels of assent required of the faithful rather than broad assertions as to Vatican II's continuity with tradition.

  40. By the 1520s, Lutheran theology and even more its liturgical practices were widespread and popular in certain parts of Germany. In those same geographic locations Catholic practices were actively suppressed by Luther's adherents. We are faced with a similar situation today.

    For example, the theology of the NO is firmly and obvious human centered as a community meal. At best, the sacrificial offering to the Father is left ambiguous so the practical outcome is the teaching of the sacrifice of the cross is more like it is for our protestant brethren.This is how Lutherans catechesis on the Mass operated in practice.

    By the 1520s also, just as today, corrective catechesis was obstructed by parts of the magisterium and those who should have known better were negligent in reasserting Catholic teaching so as to expose the schismatic features of Lutheran theology. Today, we see resistance to the implementation of the TLM no matter how many people ask for it in many places under various excuses.

    History repeats, not precisely, but 50 years after the revolution it is high time for a Catholic corrective campaign. It must be a systematic counter reformation. Hastily formulated opinions carelessly strewn about by high ranking Church officials far from being helpful further muddy and already muddy pool.

  41. OKC Catholic5:07 PM

    1000 "heretics"

  42. Honestly, I don't think he was calling traditionalists heretics here. I think "heretical interpretations" refers to what is being interpreted, not to the interpreter. Vatican II has been interpreted as teaching in line with Tradition and it has been interpreted--by progressives and traditionalists--as teaching heresies opposed to Tradition.

    That's not controversial and the idea that we should choose the interpretation that is orthodox is not a new idea.

  43. RecoveringNovusOrdo5:18 PM

    How does one say, "blah blah blah" in Italian?

  44. I find it very amusing when modernists like Mueller discover the word "heresy." I wonder if he has ever used the word in regards to anyone or anything other than traditionalist Catholics? As a matter of fact, I am not sure I can recall any pope or cardinal condemning as heretical any liberal interpretation of Vatican II, no matter how whacky. No, heresy these days is reserved for those who have the audacity to note that "The emperor is wearing no clothes!"

  45. Thank you for you candor your Eminence. I will be equally candid: If Vatican II was not a break with Tradition, then why is everything different compared to sixty years ago?

  46. What's with Kerensky's grave???

  47. Sometimes, a person or group tries to take control and/or properly guide a revolutionary movement, but it can be quite challenging...

  48. Forward my mail to Moscow.

  49. The fact that any prelate is even commenting about those pesky traditionalists shows that they're at least being loud enough to be heard and are stirring the pot.

  50. Who said this about Paul VI's NO liturgy?

    “To tell you the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman rite as we knew it no longer exists.”

    Pere J Gelineau SJ (Liturgical Commission)

  51. "If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones, let him be anathema."[Council of Trent canon 13 1547]

  52. Picard11:22 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  53. John L12:57 AM

    "The text [of the document Instruction on the Theologian's Ecclesial Vocation] also presents the various types of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching. It affirms - perhaps for the first time with this clarity - that there are decisions of the magisterium that cannot be the last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisorial disposition. The nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times influenced, may need further correction.

    In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century [19th century] about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time [on evolutionism]. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from falling into the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they became obsolete after having fulfiled their pastoral mission at their proper time.

    (Joseph Ratzinger, "Instruction on the Theologian's Ecclesial Vocation," published with the title "Rinnovato dialogo fra Magistero e Teologia," in L'Osservatore Romano, June 27, 1990, p. 6)"

    - well what about this as applied to Vatican II? Suddenly it goes out the window - and disagreeing with a non-infallible council is heresy!

  54. Jack Orlando4:08 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  55. No Orlando, you are correct. However, he is a declared follower of Teilhard de Chardin.

  56. Ok, so Archbishop Mueller said that every interpretation of the texts of Vatican II that contradicts what has gone before is false and even heretical.

    And the problem so many of my fellow traditionalists have with that is...? He just said that the dogmas of the Catholic Church proclaimed before the Council are true.

  57. Stranger than fiction!

  58. In terms of “Roman time” it certainly did not take ++ Müller very long to get into top gear. He does the jargon very well too.

    Lord save us.

  59. scary goat11:46 AM

    I liked Hidden one's comment. Most people seem to be assuming that ++Muller's statement is a direct swipe at SSPX. That wasn't how I understood it. I understood it to mean ALL interpretations of VII that don't fit in with the traditional teachings of the Church are wrong. Meaning basically nothing has changed. Just the "window dressing" has been adapted. That makes sense to me....except it is not enough to just state this. We need some serious guidance, some solid clarification so that no ambiguous interpretations are possible. If the Vatican makes some serious moves to clamp down on liberal interpretations and enforces a traditional understanding of VII then the traditionalists might be able to get their heads round it, but while abuses still abound and go uncorrected, it is no wonder traditionalists see rupture as being the result of VII. I do wish they would get on with it.


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