You don’t say…
Vatican’s Doctrinal Chief “Cardinal” Müller: Francis “Not a Professional Theologian”
(Photo Credit: Realy Easy Star/Alamy Live News)
On March 1, 2016, the Cologne-based regional newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger published an interview with the Modernist Vatican’s “doctrinal watchdog”, “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Müller — himself a heretic, actually, as we demonstrate below. The interview is mainly about the differences between Islam and Christianity, but it also touches upon Francis and Muller’s relationship with the garrulous anti-pope.
Here is the part of the interview in which Muller speaks about Francis:
Your Eminence, you are considered the most powerful antagonist of the Pope and his program of reform in the Vatican. What is your relationship with Francis like?
I was appointed to my position by Pope Benedict XVI. I had in common with him the background as a theologian, the same nationality, the same worldview. Pope Francis, by contrast, is not a “professional theologian”, but is influenced by his pastoral experience, which is quite different in South America than it is with us [in Germany]. He does, however, have a strong spiritual and theological sense of judgment, modeled on the spirituality of the founder of his order, St. Ignatius of Loyola. It is wholly legitimate for him to incorporate his life experience into the manner in which he exercises the papacy. Thanks be to God that I myself spent a long time in South America, which enables me to understand and assess all this well.
Pope Francis’ program of reform is nothing new in a revolutionary sense, it simply continues the course of his predecessors since the Second Vatican Council. What’s special is his charisma, which he uses to [overcome] obstacles and break open hardened positions. Just as he now hugged the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill and said [to him]: ‘We are basically brothers, we have the same episcopacy. And now let’s look ahead.’ It’s simply brilliant how he breaks the ice like that!
And so you are the theological antidote to balance his dogmatic weight, so that in the end all the trouble Francis causes through his charismatic ardor will shake out?
He’s already said as much in public, three or four times, [laughs] and hugged me so that, as he explained, the stupid talk concerning this will come to an end. But one also shouldn’t underestimate the theological understanding of the Pope. Again and again he points to the doctrine of the Church as the hermeneutical framework [to be used] for even his spontaneous remarks in interviews.
Given so much agreement [between you and Francis], how then is it that you have been tagged as the Pope’s Enemy No. 1?
Ask those who started this myth.
There is specific disinformation [being propagated] by those who claim the Pope for their own ideologies, instead of understanding him in light of the Church’s doctrine of the Faith. This has to be obvious to any clear-thinking individual: According to Catholic belief, the Pope is commissioned by Christ Himself, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with its 25 papally-appointed cardinals is the tool authorized by the Pope himself to assist him in the exercise of his universal teaching office and in this way also to take part in it. In our department, however, there is no demand for the art of flattery but for expertise.
(Joachim Frank, “Interview mit Kardinal Müller: Was ist im Islam anders als im Christentum?” [Interview with Cardinal Muller: What are the Differences between Islam and Christianity?], Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, March 1, 2016; our translation.)
What Muller says here is absolutely astounding, at least it should be to those who think that he is a cardinal, Francis a real Pope, and their sect the Roman Catholic Church founded by the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.
Let’s analyze this a bit.
First, Muller “clarifies” what should be obvious to anyone with a pulse, namely, that the man who blathers on and on about “warming people’s hearts” and “caressing with the tenderness of God” — flowery phrases which are ultimately devoid of any content — is not a “professional theologian”. Good to know. We’d add that he’s not a professional Catholic, either, or even an unprofessional one. While many may comfort themselves with this “clarification” from the pretend-cardinal, the truth is that the papal office requires the one who holds it to make Sacred Theology his professional business, if it isn’t already.
Second, Muller nevertheless accords Francis a “strong spiritual and theological sense of judgment”, which he blasphemously claims is inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Ah yes, that great sense of theological and spiritual judgment that we all know Francis possesses. Like when he released that video in which he said that what he was about to say might very well be heresy. Or when he called genuine Catholic conjugal love “breeding like rabbits”. Or when he said, in effect, that all religions are the same, just “meeting God in different ways”, and put Christ on a level with Buddha. The list is endless. So yes, that kind of strong theological and spiritual judgment. Enough said.
Third, Muller points out that Francis’ program really isn’t new or itself revolutionary, it’s just the next phase in the Vatican II revolution. This much is true. Yes, Muller got it exactly right. What differentiates Francis from his post-Vatican II predecessors is not that he promotes Modernism, Naturalism, Sillonism, etc., and they didn’t. Rather, the difference simply lies in the degree to which he applies it, and the openness with which he advocates it. Bishop Donald Sanborn has written and spoken on this:
- Francis is Not the Problem, Vatican II is (In Veritate Blog)
- The Errors of the Second Vatican Council (audio)
The difference between Francis and his predecessors of unhappy memory, then, is not a difference in kind but only in degree. But since he is fairly open about his apostasy, he is actually a lot less dangerous than someone like Benedict XVI, for example, who injected the same errors into people’s souls but did so using a lot of Latin, incense, and beautiful vestments. Yes, he even gave people the “Traditional Latin Mass”, just never the traditional Catholic Faith. For those who were only after the “Mass” and not the Faith, this was a great deal. Unfortunately, however, it proved to be not the Catholic Mass but merely a liturgical bowl of lentils for which people have sold their spiritual birthright (cf. Gen 25:29-34; see also our post, “Now What?”).
In the 19th century, a Spanish priest by the name of Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany published a book in which he explains the dangers posed by the so-called “moderate Liberals” who disguise themselves as Catholics. Have a look:
We are surrounded by Liberalism in all its shapes and varieties, and it behooves us to be on our guard against its subtle dangers. To lay down special rules by which we may detect it in its shadings and minutiae is neither practical nor necessary. But some general directions may be given. Their application must be left to each one’s proper discretion.
To facilitate the matter, we will divide Liberals, whether persons or writings, into three classes:
1) Extreme Liberals; 2) Moderate Liberals; 3) Quasi Liberals, or those only tainted with Liberalism.
We will essay a description of each of these types. The study of their physiognomy will not be without interest and profit, for in the types we shall find a rule for our guidance in distinguishing Liberalism in its practical details.
The Extreme Liberal is easily recognized; he does not attempt to deny or conceal his perversity. He is the declared enemy of the Pope, of priests, of everything ecclesiastical; a thing has only to be sacred to rouse his implacable wrath; “priestcraft” is his favorite shibboleth. He subscribes to all the most violent and incendiary journals, the more impious and blasphemous, the better to his liking. He is ready to go to the furthermost conclusions of his baneful system. His premise of destruction once laid down, his conclusion of nihilism is a mere matter of logic. He would put it into practical execution with pleasure and exultation if circumstances permitted. He is a revolutionist, socialist, anarchist. He glories in living a life devoid of all religion. He belongs to secret societies, dies in their embrace and is buried by their ritual. He has always defied religion and dies in his defiance.
The moderate Liberal is just as bad as his extreme confrere, but he takes good care not to appear so. Social conventionalities and good manners are everything to him; these points secured, the rest is of little importance. Provided his iniquity is kid-gloved, it finds ready extenuation in his own mind. The niceties of polite society preserved, his Liberalism knows no bounds. He would not burn a convent — that would appear too brutal, but the convent once burned, he has no scruple in seizing upon the outraged property. The cheap impiety of a penny paper grates on his well-bred nerves; the vulgar blasphemy of Ingersoll he deprecates; but let the same impiety and the same blasphemy appear in the columns of a so-called reputable journal, or be couched in the silken phraseology of a Huxley in the name of science, and he applauds the polished sin. It is with him a question of manner, not matter. At the mere mention of the name of a nihilistic or socialistic club, he is thrown into a cold sweat, for there, he declares, the masses are seduced into principles which lead to the destruction of the foundations of society; yet, according to him, there is no danger, no inconvenience in a free lyceum where the same principles are elegantly debated and sympathetically applauded; for who could dare to condemn the scientific discussion of social problems? The moderate Liberal does not detest the Pope; he may even express admiration for his sagacity; he only blames certain pretensions of the Roman Curia and certain exaggerations of Ultramontanism, which do not fall in with the trend of modern thought. He may even like priests, above all, those who are enlightened, that is, such as have caught the twang of modern progress; as for fanatics and reactionaries, he simply avoids or pities them. He may even go to Church and, stranger still, sometimes approach the Sacraments; but his maxim is, in the Church to live as a Christian, outside of the Church to live as the world lives, according to the times in which one is born and not obstinately to swim against the stream. He dies with the priest on one side, his infidel literature on the other and imagines that his Creator will applaud his breadth of mind.
The Catholic simply tainted with Liberalism is generally a good man and sincerely pious; he exhales nevertheless an odor of Liberalism in everything he says, writes, or takes up. Like Madame de Sevigne, he can say, “I am not the rose, but standing by it, I have caught some of its perfume” This courageous man reasons, speaks, and acts as a Liberal without knowing it. His strong point is charity; he is charity itself. What horror fills his soul at the exaggerations of the Ultramontane press! To treat as a liar the man who propagates false ideas is, in the eyes of this singular theologian, to sin against the Holy Spirit. To him the falsifier is simply misguided; it is not the poor fellow’s fault; he has, simple soul, been misled. We ought neither to resist nor combat him; we must strive to attract him by soft words and pretty compliments.
(Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, Liberalism is a Sin, Chapter 16)
As noted in the preface of this excellent work, which can be read at the link given above, Fr. Sarda’s Liberalism is a Sin was given the endorsement of the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation of the Index under Pope Leo XIII.
But back to Mr. Muller’s comments on the Argentinian pretend-pope. Muller lauds his boss for being charismatic and “simply brilliant” in transcending obstacles, but it’s hard to see just what is very original, clever, or brilliant about hugging a heretical-schismatic leader and telling him, essentially, “Hey, let’s forget all this theology stuff and be friends”. Seriously? This is pastoral brilliance? This is spiritual maturity? This is astute theological judgment? Whoop dee doo. Interestingly enough, just today Italian journalist Sandro Magister published some important observations concerning Francis’ meeting with Patriarch Kirill — beyond all the fluff and media circus:
Ah yes, it’s not just all fun and games, or, in Francis’ terms, hugs and caresses and meaningless platitudes about “moving forward”. But hey, let’s not “underestimate the theological understanding” of the man.
Next, notice Muller’s pitiful attempt to excuse Francis’ verbal indiscretions: “Again and again he points to the doctrine of the Church as the hermeneutical framework [to be used] for even his spontaneous remarks in interviews.” Well, isn’t that reassuring! Translation: “Look, we all know he often says stuff that isn’t Catholic, but then we just have to pretend that it is because he says he’s a Catholic!” This is what Muller is really saying, but he makes it sound really academic by using terms like “hermeneutical framework”. My eye.
But what about “understanding [Francis] in light of the Church’s doctrine of the Faith”? Well, that too is very nice, but it’s actually the Pope’s job to shed light on the Church’s doctrine of the Faith, not the other way around. If this weren’t so, why would anyone need a Pope? In theology, what comes later helps to cast light on what went before. This is why the whole “hermeneutic of continuity” and “reading Francis through Benedict” stuff has it all backwards and is absurd. If an ecumenical council’s teachings needed to be interpreted in light of what was taught before, then the council would be useless, in fact dangerous, because its job is to clarify what was taught before, not muddy it. But muddy it is exactly what Vatican II did.
For example, as late as 1950 — less than 9 years before Vatican II was called — Pope Pius XII taught clearly that “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing” (Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 27). That’s rather clear, no? Seven years prior, the same Pope had taught just as clearly that the “true Church of Jesus Christ … is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church” (Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 13; italics added). How could one possibly improve upon that in terms of clarity? Well, Vatican II found a way (wink, wink) and taught in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church…” (Lumen Gentium, n. 8; italics added).
As Bishop Sanborn once wonderfully explained in a debate with Novus Ordo theologian Dr. Robert Fastiggi (watch video here), in order for the Second Vatican Council to get ecumenism going, it was necessary first to change the Catholic doctrine on the Church. For as long as Catholics maintain that theirs alone is the only true Church founded by Christ, to which all people without exception must convert, then no ecumenical dialogue is possible. Lumen Gentium’s “subsists in” was the foot in the door that allowed the gradual dismantling of the Catholic teaching regarding the uniqueness of the Church and her necessity for salvation. For it is clear that as soon as any distinction is made between the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, the floodgates are opened to the patchwork ecclesiology of “partial communion” promoted by the council, according to which there is basically a little bit of the Catholic Church in every religion. We have seen the results of this in the past 50 years. Pius XII’s warning that “some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation” (Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 27) has proven true, because meaningless is exactly the word that comes to mind when one looks at what the Novus Ordo Church has done with the dogma of no salvation outside the Church.
Here are some more resources on the error of the Vatican II ecclesiology:
- The New Ecclesiology of Vatican II compared to Catholic Teaching (PDF)
- An Overview of the New Ecclesiology of Vatican II
- Conference by Bp. Sanborn on his Debate with Dr. Fastiggi (Video)
- Communion: Ratzinger’s New Ecclesiology (PDF)
- Ratzinger’s Dominus Jesus: A Critical Analysis
- Resisting the Pope, Sedevacantism, and Frankenchurch (PDF)
- Frankenchurch Rises Again: Ratzinger on the Church
- Do Other Religions have “Partial” Truth?
As you can see, being or not being a “professional theologian” has nothing to do with the apostasy in Rome. Francis is simply the boorish version of Ratzinger, but it’s the same Vatican II Modernism that drives both of them.
To finish this post, just for fun, let’s have a look at some of those who are “professional theologians” in the Modernist Sect. Whom do we have there? For example…
- “Cardinal” Chrisoph Schonborn, currently the Archlayman of Vienna and chief editor of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church
- “Cardinal” Walter Kasper, Chief Ecumenist under Benedict XVI
- Joseph Ratzinger, “Pope” Benedict XVI
- “Cardinal” Yves Congar, a Novus Ordo favorite
And, of course, there is Mr. Gerhard Muller himself, who denies the dogma of the Resurrection, the dogma of Transubstantiation, and the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In exchange for that, he is a big fan of Liberation Theology. Just the kind of guy you’d want to have as the head of your office of orthodoxy.
The Novus Ordo goose is cooked, folks. Burned, actually.
No doubt, the Vatican II Sect is the “operation of error” warned against in 2 Thess 2:10. Its “Popes” have been charlatans and not true Vicars of Christ. The whole Vatican establishment today is only masquerading as the Catholic Church to fulfill the prophecy that the Pope must be taken out of the way for the Antichrist to be able to appear, as explained by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning.
“For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand” (Mt 24:24-25).
Those who have eyes to see, let them see.
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