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Head of CDF Declines to Comment on Dubia of Four Cardinals

At the time of the publication of the Dubia of the Four Cardinals, there was an additional report that Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), also received a copy. Like the pope, however, he has not responded. This fact has caused grave concern among faithful Catholics since they look to Müller as the defender of Catholic Doctrine.

Today, on 1 December 2016, Cardinal Müller has finally spoken. In an interview with the Austrian news website, the German cardinal explains that his Congregation speaks and acts “with the authority of the pope” and cannot “participate in the controversial dispute.” He thus will not answer the letter of the Four Cardinals. He sees here the “danger of a polarization.” Cardinal Müller also calls for an objective debate, away from any polarization. He warns against “heating up” the debate.

Then comes the important question put to him by kathpress as to whether the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia permits in some individual cases that “remarried” divorcees receive Holy Communion. According to kathpress, the cardinal does “not directly” answer this question. However, “he stressed that this document should not be interpreted in such a way as to indicate that earlier statements of popes and of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are not any more valid.”

Müller then explicitly refers to the official 1994 answer of the CDF to the three German bishops who had announced in a Pastoral Letter that they will permit that Holy Communion be given to the “remarried” divorcees. In this 1994 CDF Letter, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger condemned this decision of the three German bishops. Cardinal Müller then also stressed that the “indissolubility of marriage has to be the unswerving doctrinal foundation for any pastoral accompaniment.”

In the same interview, Cardinal Müller denied the existence of a “struggle for power” behind the walls of the Vatican or the existence of any struggle between “reformers and those who try to put on the brakes.” For him, it is “about the victory of truth, and not about the victory of power.”

In his coverage of the story at EWTN, Deacon Nick Donnelly observes:

Though Cardinal Müller doesn’t come out and say it, his interview with Kathpress strongly implies that Pope Francis has told him that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith must not reply to the four cardinals’ dubia on Amoris Laetitia. Having stated that the CDF will not get involved in the debate, his comment that the Holy Father could commission the CDF to settle the dispute ad hoc suggests a degree of frustration at having his hands tied.

During the interview Cardinal Müller signals as strongly as he can in the circumstances that he is on the side of the four cardinals who submitted the dubia to Pope Francis. He does this by going out of his way to emphasise that Amoris Laetitia must be interpreted according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried members of the faithful (1994). This definitive reiteration of the Church’s magisterial doctrine on communion for the divorced and remarried was an explicit correction of the main architect of Amoris Laetitia’s “innovative” approach to the issue, Cardinal Kasper. Cardinal Müller has just stated categorically that Amoris Laetitia cannot introduce any change to the Church’s doctrine and pastoral practice.

Will the latest statement of Cardinal Müller, the highest authority after the pope with regard to the doctrine of the Faith, be sufficient to stop Pope Francis from encouraging and fostering potentially heretical pastoral and doctrinal decisions, as well as the laxer discipline, which are now already underway – such as in Argentina?

84 thoughts on “Head of CDF Declines to Comment on Dubia of Four Cardinals”

  1. If Cardinal Muller says AL must be read in line with the CDF’s letter of 1994, then he’s giving a clear indication of his mind, and it’s orthodox. Cardinal Muller is not the Pope, though.

    But the 5 dubia are broader that the 1994 letter, addressing deeper issues about intrinsic evil, the role of conscience, etc. Even the 1994 letter is not a complete answer.

    • For a man in his position, being “orthodox” is NOT enough. We have become so accustomed to rampant heterodoxy that we excuse cowardice in a man in mere consideration of his supposed orthodoxy. He has the grave responsibility of clearly preaching the truth and overtly correcting errors. A man can be perfectly orthodox and perfectly blameworthy at the same time.

  2. Not just the devil Kaspar, but also Lehmann was one of the three involved in the 1993 pastoral scandal. The third member, Oskar Saier, is since deceased.

  3. Muller is asking Catholics to read between the lines.

    Although he “can’t comment” on the situation, he (1) says that no papal text can be interpreted in such a way as to contradict prior papal statements or CDF documents approved by a pope, (2) cites the CDF document written under then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s direction, which reiterates the clear teaching of John Paul II in Familiaris consortio, and (3) emphasizes that the indissolubility of marriage is a bedrock principle of Catholic teaching.

    Basically, he is signaling support for the Four Cardinals in the only way he can without directly confronting the Pope, which he can’t do without resigning his post.

    • What Out Lord asks of him is not to play politics or do what he can to remain in post (a lost cause), but to clearly teach the truth. This is as much about confusion as it is about adultery. Prelates who do not clearly preach the truth are as blameworthy as those who clearly preach error. Confusion is the main problem in the Church, and Mueller is playing along. Guilty by association.

  4. Thank you Cardinal Mueller. We get it. Our prayers continue to be with you as you figure out how to walk that tightrope they’ve thrown you. Speaking in code is good for starters–yours are the clearest statements coming from the Vatican I’ve heard in 3 years.

    God forbid this Cardinal gets axed from the CDF. Who would we get next? Kasper?…..

  5. Poor Cdl Muller. This must be like being a principled German under Hitler. He knows what he believes, he knows what the regime wants him to say, but at this point, he hasn’t decided to go for martyrdom so he equivocates. Prayers for Cdl Muller,

  6. “Cardinal Müller also calls for an objective debate, away from any polarization.”

    I don’y envy him in his position – he must be treading on eggshells. However, the “debate” got polarized the minute that Frankenpope and his cronies set their faces against Christ.

    • Yes, Frankenpope “This is My Desire”. We should all be trying and praying to be a conduit for God’s Will to be done through us, not the other way around.

  7. I guess he knows if he gets fired that PF will put a hairtick in his place so he’s trying to protect the Church and say the Truth.

  8. What kind of game is being played here with the souls of billions?

    Sorry, but I could never, ever follow this tack. I just could not live with myself.

    If I were the cardinal, and the pope ordered me not to respond, I would listen to what he says, nod my head, and after he left my office, I would prepare the response and then publish it publicly.

    I would not care in the least what the ramifications for me were.

    Do these weak willed men not believe in an omniscient God Who sees all?

    Pope Francis, and his generation, will not last forever. His successor, and his successor’s successor, and perhaps several more, are alive at this moment.

    The younger clergy are watching.

    • I agree with you but unfortunately many clergy like this Cardinal feel they can still do good work if they stay. Our Lady has told us what is coming but it’s hard to sit and wait. Mueller will be run over by the juggernaut and be a footnote in history. I too wish he would go out saving souls.

      Or equally valid, we have not even begun to hit bottom, and Mueller could still come out courageously and fight for Christ.

    • I would not care in the least what the ramifications for me were.

      And obviously you do not care what the ramifications for the Church will be either.

      • On the contrary, I most certainly care what the ramifications for the Church would be (not will be, as it was a hypothetical scenario). The open and public answers to the questions will be good for the Church.

        The questions must be answered, and the cardinals need to press the issue. It needs to be brought out in the open.

        Cowardliness is what gave us the sodomy crisis in the priesthood.

        • After reviewing the articles for today, that is what I thought also. The fact that the Four Cardinals brought this whole thing out into the public can very well be judged as being aggressive towards the pope. But I think that these Four Cardinals have learned a most powerful lesson regarding when to be silent and when to shout aloud from the misery of the years they have spent with the pedophile crisis in the American Church. I truly believe Jesus Christ has seen into their hearts and sincerity and would approve of them going public. Cardinal Muller is saying not to act in excessive of what has been already promulgated by previous popes (see Jordan Miller’s comment below) – The Rosary Storm prayed with heartfelt Love for both the friends and the enemies will bring a heavenly opening to clarity for sure.

        • The open and public answers to the questions will be good for the Church.

          Not when the Pope himself has refused to answer. You have to remember that the Dubia was not addressed to the CDF but to the Pope. The CDF was only provided a copy and it is not for them to answer.

          However, if the Pope does get the answer wrong, then I think the CDF should step in because it is their duty to defend the faith. But so long as the Pope remains mute, then the best anwer that the CDF can give is what Muller has alread given.

          And no, Muller is not being cowardly. He is being prudent.

          • It actually was addressed to Muller/CDF as well:

            The cardinals — Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna; Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; and Joachim Meisner, archbishop emeritus of Cologne — sent five questions, called dubia (Latin for “doubts”), to the Holy Father and Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on Sept. 19, along with an accompanying letter.


          • I think they sent a copy to the CDF but the actual addressee is the Pope based on the covering letter. It is much like when you CC someone which is why the address went:
            To His Holiness Pope Francis
            and for the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller.

            Muller cannot attend to it independent of the Pope unless the Pope says he can.

            If you can picture JPII and Ratzinger. If this was addressed to JPII, he will have to authorize Ratzinger to answer. Ratzinger would not just go off on his own steam.

        • Rubbish!

          You are assuming that somehow, the CDF head going head to head with the Pope is the right course to take for the CDF. Like I said, utter hubris. You presume to know better than Muller himself how to discern what action to take in this situation. That’s probably why God never made you head of CDF.

          • Not I, but St Paul who instructs bishops to care for the flock (1 Pet. 5, 2), and to “preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Tim 4, 2).

          • Again, one more foolish assumption. You are equating Muller’s discerned decision as failure to care for the flock. The decision is for the Pope to make not Cardinal Muller. As Muller has said: if the Pope asked him to reply(which Pope’s usually do) he will. But the Pope has not asked him.

            Despite that, he was able to give a reply by reiterating that the CDF’s 1994 letter to bishops is still Church teaching and AL cannot change that.

  9. Maybe I’m being churlish or unappreciative of the position Cardinal Müller finds himself in but hasn’t the time (if there ever was one to begin with) for coded references, oblique signals and indirect answers that call for reading between the lines long gone? How far does this confrontation have to progress before more bishops and cardinals finally decide to put career considerations and diplomatic silences to one side and realise that the ‘costs’ of speaking up for the Truth are not to be compared to the rewards?

    • Muller’s reply is the only appropriate reply from the prefect of the CDF. He can’t give an answer if the Pope will not. This after all is the Catholic Church.

      But in a way he has given the answer by stating that the question was already settled by the CDF’s 1994 document.

      And this is absolutely brilliant: It is “about the victory of truth, and not about the victory of power.”

      • I see, so the pope can order him to remain silent? No, not even the pope has the power to force a bishop not to preach the truth.

        • No, the Pope cannot order him to remain silent. But obviously he has discerned the situation and as per his discernment, it is more prudent to not but head with the Pope and at the same time be very clear where he stands.

  10. I had already figured that Pope Francis ordered Cardinal Mueller not to respond the moment that he himself received the dubia. And I am certain that he is trying to stay in place because he knows as soon as he goes Pope Francis will pick a psycho-sycophant to replace him. However, now Mueller is left with trying to discipline the other running amok Bishops, Cardinal’s and Priest’s who are going full steam ahead with what AL said. Which he won’t be able to do without transgressing Pope Francis’ will in this matter.
    Pray for Cardinal Mueller.

    • This seems like a very, very dysfunctional family, regarding the hierarchy in Rome.

      Mueller won’t speak directly to PF, because, well…..he may be replaced with someone worse.
      So, we will just talk in “code” so the faith is still somewhat preserved, yet, we all know unless
      PF directly speaks to these issues nothing will come from Mueller’s very nice statement.

      If it wasn’t so sad, it would be pathetic.

      • Wow. I had no idea.

        There that’s out of my system now. I said pray for Cardinal Müller and described the position he is in in brief. I in know way advocated for him to not speak the truth. Which he has been doing about the civilly divorced and remarried already.

          • Well, honestly many people I meet don’t believe their required to obey Church authority at all on pretty much anything and at the same time they are still somehow in a state of Unity with the Church…a notion that I disabuse them of on a regular basis.

            Now, given the simple (as in not-learned) pious and faithful soul, then what you say is true and they need to be disabused of this erroneous notion as much as the above do.

          • My experience is as I said. Perhaps because I lived in a diocese with a heretic bishop promoting women priests and having chancery staff from Call to Action. The modernist heretics play the obedience card with threats like Pinto. Most people cave in to that.

    • Do you really suppose that Mueller has any power at all over whether he stays in his post? The Holy Father has so far had no qualms about replacing prelates in important positions.

      • Ultimately no. Yet for the Holy Father to remove him at this time is to further display his hand to the remaining ‘dubious’ cardinals, bishops and priests who are still unsure. Which is most probably why the Holy Father hasn’t already removed him, overplaying his hand. He is still trying to pretend to the majority of Bishops and Priests and People to be innocent, which is why he won’t come out and directly answer the dubia.

        The longer this plays out the more likely Müller gets removed and the nearer it draws everyday and I am certain that he knows that too.

        • Would not the formal correction (if it were made promptly) not require PF to answer the Dubia or else be seen as a malefactor, in which case the Cardinals & their supporters could rightfully call for an Imperfect Council?

          • Yes. I believe that that would ultimately end up being the case. Every day that passes in silence shows him in a poor light at best, to all those who still hold to the Deposit of Faith.

  11. From the comments so far, half is glad he is speaking in code and I am one of them, so that even though it is not direct to saying he is with the Cardinals, he must remain until Our Lord gives us a new and faithful Pope, because the current Pope is clearing out the faithful for his own brand of clergy which is down right dangerous to us, I wasn’t born until 1988, but from what I am hearing it could be like what happened after the Second Vatican Council if these leftist, liberal progressive heretic clergy get appointed. Keep praying and join Cardinal Burke’s new Rosary Crusade “Storm Heaven”. I also finished a blog post in letter form to the errant clergy and wish to share the link for all to read. In the link it says “trashed” it means I put it into a longer draft to be saved longer so I could finally finish it and did so last night

  12. To not speak up for the deposit of the faith when you are charged with its protection is for me, nothing more than cowardice. I sympathize with the situation, but each and everyone of us, when we were confirmed, promised to give our lives in the defense of the Faith. You are either for Christ or you are not, there is no neutral ground. Perhaps someone should remind the “Pinces” of the Church that when someone hates them because of Christ they are blessed but if they deny Christ by denying his words, well then …..

  13. My [Irish] grandfather was an alcoholic.

    His daughter, my dear mother, has told me how as children she and her siblings would actively try to hide their father’s drunkenness from their friends. In the end, they were forced to be better than him.

    Do I need to spell it out for you?

    Pope Francis is a doctrinal train wreck. And his subordinates (like Cdl Muller here) are being forced to be better than him.

    Est-ce-qu’il y a des questions la-dessus?

  14. “Müller signals as strongly as he can in the circumstances that he is on the side of the four cardinals”


    He’s refusing to answer the question, which puts him clearly on the bad guys’ side, because from now on, you’re either with Him or against Him.

    Sorry, Mueller, there’s no more middle ground. As a bishop, you cannot decline to preach the Truth, even if ordered by the pope.

    For someone in his position, omitting to condemn the adulterist error is tantamount to supporting it.

    • He’s refusing to answer the question directly because if he does so he gets fired for disobedience and Schonborn gets the job. Is that what you want?
      How about saying a Rosary for him instead.

      • That’s the kind of cowardice disguised as strategic withdrawal that has gotten us where we are now.

        Besides, Mueller will do us no good at the CDF if he must remain silent.

        • Mueller will do us a lot more good, even in his prudential silence (that some mistake for cowardice) that the likes of Schonborn, ho is just waiting for one slip from Mueller.
          Seriously, don’t you know who the good guys even are?

          • Prudential silence? What the heck are you saying? Bishops have the sacred duty not to remain silent but to defend the Faith, even at the cost of their lives, much less at the cost of their jobs. This kind of talk is an insult to the holy martyrs and to Our Lord.

  15. Our parish offered our morning Holy Hour and Rosary for the Cardinals, Bishops and Priests who are on the fence to be strengthened by God to defend the Faith. We prayed for Cardinal Müller by name. I also offered my private intention at Mass for the same.

  16. Deliberate dereliction of duty and abandonment of the faithful to defend the indefensible. Another Beta Male wrapped in red and a comprised by the demonic


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