Since the Vatican has announced that journalists will only have access to the information that they themselves provide, we wanted to talk to the German cardinal about this upcoming ecclesial event that has a large part of the Church on tenterhooks.
As you will see throughout the interview (done in writing as the Cardinal is in Poland this week), Müller tackles the questions raised without shying away from them and gets to the heart of the matter.
Interview with Cardinal Müller
Q-This coming October, the final phase of the Synod on Synodality will begin.
How are you approaching it?
Cardinal Müller: I pray that all this will be a blessing and not a harm to the Church. I am also committed to theological clarity so that a Clairch gathered around Christ doesn't become a political dance around the golden calf of the agnostic spirit of the age.
Q- Pope Francis included you in the list of participants who will have a say in the Synod. How did you receive the news?
A-I want to do the best I can for the good of the Church, for which I have dedicated all my life, thought and work until now.
Q-Have you thought about the message you are going to deliver during the Assembly?
A- Above all I would like to say, in view of the many disappointments of the young people of Lisbon: a Church that does not believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is no longer the Church of Jesus Christ. Each participant should first study the first chapter of Lumen Gentium, which deals with the mystery of the Church in the Triune God's plan of salvation. The Church is not the playground of the ideologues of "godless humanism", nor of strategists of the blocked party.
This is the great hour of manipulation, of propaganda of an agenda that does more harm than good to the Church.
God's universal will to save, which we encounter in Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, and which is realized historically and eschatologically, is the future program of His Church and not the Great Reset of the atheist-globalist "elite" of billionaire bankers who hide their ruthless personal enrichment behind the mask of philanthropy.
Q-What do you think of the move to make it unacceptable for journalists to follow what is happening [in the Synod] live?
A-I don't know the intention behind this measure, but 450 participants will certainly not keep things under wraps. Many will exploit journalists for their own benefit or vice versa. This is the great hour of manipulation, of propaganda of an agenda that does more harm than good to the Church.
Q-There are some voices that have criticized the presence of the laity in this synodal Assembly.
A-The bishops participate in their office by exercising collegial responsibility for the whole Church together with the Pope. If the laity participate in it with the right to vote, then it is no longer a synod of bishops or an ecclesiastical conference and does not have the apostolic teaching authority of the episcopal college. To speak of a Third Vatican Council can only occur to an ignorant person, because from the outset a Roman Synod of Bishops is not an ecumenical council — which the Pope could not subsequently declare without ignoring the divine right of the bishops to a Vatican Council III, that could found a new Church surpassing or completing the one supposedly stagnated at Vatican Council II.
False prophets (nebulous ideologues) who present themselves as progressives have announced that they will turn the Catholic Church into an aid organization for the 2030 Agenda. In their opinion, only a Church without Christ fits into a world without God.
Whenever populist effects tip the balance towards such spontaneous decisions, the sacramental nature of the Church and its mission is obscured, even if subsequent attempts are made to justify it through the common priesthood of all believers, and to eliminate the substantial difference between it and the priesthood of sacramental ordination (Lumen Gentium 10).
Q-Are there more and more bishops and faithful expressing concern about what might happen during this Synod?
A-Yes, the false prophets (nebulous ideologues) who present themselves as progressives have announced that they will turn the Catholic Church into an aid organization for the 2030 Agenda. In their opinion, only a Church without Christ fits into a world without God. Many young people returned from Lisbon disappointed that the focus was no longer on salvation in Christ, but on a worldly doctrine of salvation. Apparently, there are even bishops who no longer believe in God as the origin and end of man and the Savior of the world, but who, in a pan naturalistic or pantheistic way, consider the so-called Mother Earth as the beginning of existence, and climate neutrality as the goal of planet earth.
Q-Do you think that changes in matters of faith and doctrine can be approved, as some groups and movements within the Church claim?
A-No one on earth can change, add to, or take away from the Word of God. As successors of the apostles, the Pope and the bishops must teach the people what the earthly and Risen Christ, the only Teacher, has commanded them to do. And it is only in this sense that the promise that the heavenly host and the Head of His body always remain with his disciples (Mt 28:19). People confuse — not surprisingly, given the lack of basic theological education even among bishops — the content of faith and its unsurpassable fullness in Christ, with the progressive theological reflection and growth of the Church's understanding of faith throughout the ecclesiastical tradition (Dei Verbum 8-10). The infallibility of the Magisterium extends only to the preservation and faithful interpretation of the mystery of faith entrusted once and for all to the Church (depositum fidei [deposit of faith] or sound doctrine, the teaching of the Apostles). The Pope and the bishops do not receive a new revelation (Lumen Gentium 25, Dei Verbum 10.)
To bless the immoral behavior of persons of the same or opposite sex is a direct contradiction of God's Word and will; it is a gravely sinful blasphemy.
Q-What would happen if, for example, the Synodal Assembly approved the blessing of homosexual couples, a change in sexual morality, the elimination of the obligatory nature of priestly celibacy or allowing the female diaconate?
Would you accept it?
A- Priestly celibacy must be removed from this list, since the connection of the sacrament of Holy Orders with the charism of voluntary renunciation of marriage is not dogmatically necessary, although this ancient tradition of the Latin Church cannot be arbitrarily abolished with the stroke of a pen, as the Council Fathers expressly underlined at the Vatican Council (Presbyterorum Ordines, 16). And the noisy agitators are rarely concerned with priestless communities being saved, but rather with attacking this evangelical advice, which they consider anachronistic or even inhumane in a sexually enlightened age. To bless the immoral behavior of persons of the same or opposite sex is a direct contradiction of God's Word and will; it is a gravely sinful blasphemy. The sacrament of Holy Orders at the levels of episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate can provide divine power.
Only a baptized man whose vocation has been verified by the Church as to its authenticity can receive the right. Such demands that receive a majority vote would be obsolete a priori. Nor could they be implemented in canon law by the whole college of bishops with the Pope or by the Pope alone because they contradict [divine] Revelation and the clear confession of the Church.
The formal authority of the Pope cannot be separated from the substantive connection with Holy Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the dogmatic decisions of the Magisterium that preceded him. Otherwise, as Luther misunderstood the papacy, he would put himself in the place of God, who is the sole author of His revealed truth, instead of simply witnessing faithfully, in the authority of Christ, to the revealed faith in an unabridged and unadulterated manner and presenting it authentically to the Church.
One's sacred task is to proclaim the truth of the Gospel boldly inside and outside the Church. Even Paul once openly opposed Peter's ambiguous behavior (Gal 2), without, of course, questioning his Christ-established primacy.
In such an extreme situation, from which God can save us, every ecclesiastical official would lose his authority and no Catholic would be obliged any longer to religiously obey a heretical or schismatic bishop (Lumen Gentium 25; cf. the bishops' reply to Bismarck's misinterpretation of Vatican I, 1875).
Q-Do you think that enough is being done in the Church clearly to defend the truths that are under discussion today?
A- Unfortunately not. One's sacred task is to proclaim the truth of the Gospel boldly inside and outside the Church. Even Paul once openly opposed Peter's ambiguous behavior (Gal 2), without, of course, questioning his Christ-established primacy.
We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated within the Church or seduced by the prospect of a race for good behavior desired from above. Bishops and priests are appointed directly by Christ, which the respective superiors in the hierarchy must consider. However, they are in community with each other, which includes religious obedience in matters of faith and canonical obedience in the governance of the Church. But this does not exempt anyone from his conscientious responsibility directly to Christ, the Shepherd and Teacher, whose authority sanctifies, teaches, and guides believers.
A strict distinction must also be made between the Pope's relationship with his nuncios and Vatican employees and the Pope's collegial relationship with the bishops, who are not his subordinates but his brothers in the same apostolic office.
Throughout the Church's history, whenever popes have felt or behaved like politicians, things have gone wrong.
Q-What role should the Pope play at this time?
A-Throughout the Church's history, whenever popes have felt or behaved like politicians, things have gone wrong. In politics it is about the power of the people over the people, in the Church of Christ it is about serving the eternal salvation of men, to which the Lord has called men to be his apostles. The Pope is seated on the Chair of Peter. And the way Simon Peter is presented in the New Testament, with all his ups and downs, should be a strengthening and a warning to every Pope. In the Upper Room, before his Passion, Jesus says to Peter: When you are converted, strengthen your brethren (Lk 22:32), that is, in the faith of Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt 16.16). Only in this way is he the rock on which Jesus builds his Church, over which the gates of hell will not prevail.
Translation by Diane Montagna
Original Spanish version HERE