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Müller’s Muddle

by Christopher A. Ferrara
December 6, 2012

An article in the Catholic Herald online is emblematic of the state of diabolical confusion engendered by the Second Vatican Disaster, which is the only way to describe the aftermath of a Council whose “true meaning” has yet to be clarified, half a century after it ended.

As reported by the Catholic Herald, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, who has been placed in charge of “reconciling” the Society of Saint Pius X, declares that “Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as a ‘rupture’ both espouse a ‘heretical interpretation’ of the Council and its aims,” whereas, according to Müller, “the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity” is the “only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology.”

Really? Well, then, what precisely does the Council teach as interpreted according to this “hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity”? Where can one find this “interpretation”? We have heard much about it, but have heard nothing at all from the Pope — the only one with binding authority to “interpret” the Council — about what this “interpretation” has yielded after half a century of waiting. Instead, we are continually assured that, interpreted according to the “hermeneutic of reform,” whatever that means, the Council presents no rupture with the past.

But since when does an ecumenical council have to be “interpreted” by a “hermeneutic” never before applied in the history of the Church when, in fact, the very purpose of an ecumenical council is to provide the very interpretation of doctrinal matters that might be under dispute or under attack by heretics?

If the Council itself did not provide the true interpretation of its own teaching, who will? Pope Benedict continues to remain silent, as did all the conciliar popes before him. Yet Müller accuses traditionalists of “heresy” for suggesting that in some respects the Council did break with the past, at least in those texts clearly not proposed as dogmatic (infallible) definitions.

Does not the very need for a “hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity” suggest a break in continuity? For if no break were apparent, why would we have need of a “hermeneutic” that demonstrates continuity with prior teaching? Would the continuity not be self-evident, as it is with the teaching of every other Council before Vatican II?

Müller’s statement is nothing but a muddle: a string of words that seem to mean something, but on close reading reveal no concrete meaning at all. Müller clearly has no idea of what exactly he means by “the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity.” This sort of nonsense, disguised as meaning, is precisely what the concept of “diabolical disorientation” connotes. And Our Lady predicted it all at Fatima, as the whole world will know when the missing text of the Third Secret is finally revealed.

I will have more to say about Müller’s remarks in another column.