The Müller Disaster
by Christopher A. Ferrara
September 7, 2012
There are no two ways about it: humanly speaking, Pope Benedict's appointment of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is a disaster for the cause of Catholic restoration in the midst of the devastated vineyard of the post-Vatican II "renewal" of the Church.
The problem, in my view, is not so much that Müller's writings contain statements that appear to undermine the dogmas of transubstantiation and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. I will leave it to others to determine, upon the required examination of the original German texts in their full context, whether Müller has uttered outright heresies, temerarious propositions, or some other grade of theological error. As far as I am concerned, Müller's earlier writings are no more or less problematical than the numerous astonishing statements one can find in the works of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, which are detailed in my book The Great Façade and in numerous other places. For example, there is Cardinal Ratzinger's statement in Introduction to Christianity that "Paul [Saint Paul] teaches not the resurrection of physical bodies, but of persons." No he doesn't! It is precisely our physical bodies — transfigured to be sure — that will rise from the grave on the Day of Judgment. Thus the Creed affirms our belief in the resurrection of the body, not the "person."
The more immediate concern with Müller is that, as head of the CDF, he will be in charge of the process of "regularizing" the Society of Saint Pius X on the basis of a "Doctrinal Preamble" that has been the subject of endless negotiations and amendments more appropriate to a high-stakes merger and acquisition agreement than what should be the simple recognition of the reality that the adherents of SSPX are Catholics and should be treated as such without further ado.
In 2009 Müller told an interviewer for the German language Zenit website that "The SSPX must fully return to the ground of the Catholic Church and recognize the authority of the Pope, the decisions of the Second Vatican Council and recognize existing canon law. If they do, they also accept that the seminary of Zaitzkofen falls under the supervision of the Diocese of Regensburg. The seminary should be closed and the students should go to seminaries in their home countries — if they are suitable for this purpose."
This is the man chosen to superintend the process of "regularizing" the Society? It sounds like he seeks to destroy it! Yet, at the same time Müller declares that the Catholics who adhere to the SSPX "must fully return to the ground of the Catholic Church and recognize the authority of the Pope" — which they do — he dignifies the members of assorted Protestant denominations with membership in the Church! As Müller opined: "Baptism is the fundamental sign that sacramentally unites us in Christ, and which presents us as the one Church in front of the world. Thus, we as Catholic and Evangelical Christians are already united even in what we call the visible Church."
That is false teaching, plain and simple. As Pope Pius XI declared only 34 years before Vatican II in Mortalium Animos, which condemned the nascent "ecumenical movement" the Council would inexplicably embrace in a disastrous mistake of prudential judgment:
For since the Mystical Body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the Mystical Body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.
Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.
As if to affirm his false teaching with deeds, Müller recently administered a joint "blessing" with a Lutheran "bishop" who, in reality, is nothing but a layman in a bishop's costume utterly bereft of Holy Orders, as the Lutheran "church" does not stand in the Apostolic Succession, from which it broke with Luther's revolt. Here is Müller at work:
This Lutheran "bishop," by the way, belongs to The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), a federation of Lutheran, Calvinist and other like-minded "church bodies" within which women are ordained as "bishops." One of these ludicrous bishopettes, "Bishop" Margot Kaessmann, recently resigned after being arrested for drunk driving, "but will continue as a pastor, according to Ecumenical News International (ENI)." Of course she will!
So, now we have as head of the Catholic Church's highest doctrinal authority, next to the Pope, a prelate who suggests that the wholly orthodox Catholics who belong to the Society of Saint Pius X are not really Catholics, while he happily appears alongside a phony Lutheran bishop to administer a blessing together with this false shepherd — a gesture he would never consider making alongside one of the true bishops of the SSPX, whom he treats like pariahs.
Müller's antics are precisely what Sister Lucia meant by "diabolical disorientation" in the Church. But this sort of thing is only typical of the ecumania that has swept the Church since the Council. It is not the SSPX that requires "regularization," but rather the Vatican apparatus and much of the upper hierarchy, which has clearly lost its way. In fact, I would suggest that the first thing Müller needs to regularize is himself!
It was Luigi Cardinal Ciappi, personal theologian to four Popes, including Pope John Paul II, who once warned: "In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church begins at the top." And that is precisely what we have been witnessing since the fateful year 1960, when the Secret was to be revealed for our safety and guidance during the unprecedented ecclesial crisis that would follow. Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us!