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In Light of Malta: Further Questions on the Müller Position

(Image: Malta Lighthouse)

Over the weekend – and especially after the troubling new public (and promiscuous) guidelines from the Bishops of Malta concerning Communion for the “remarried” divorcees – more questions have now been raised with regard to Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s own recent and explicit endorsement of the papal document Amoris Laetitia. For, the cardinal called that Apostolic Exhortation both “doctrinally sound” and “not a danger to the Faith.”

But at least two demurring voices have thus come to us now, one from Germany, and one from the United States. First, let us consider – and here I translate the entire post – what the German pro-life activist and book author, Mathias von Gersdorff, has politely written. On Sunday, January 15, he published a comment entitled: “The Guidelines of Malta Concerning Communion Refute Cardinal Müller’s Statement”:

Not a week after the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, has openly criticized the dubia Cardinals and has described Amoris Laetitia as clear and as not being dangerous for the Faith, the Bishops of Malta publish guidelines which contradict Müller in this matter completely. For, the Bishops’ Conference of Malta interprets Amoris Laetitia in an especially liberal way: if a remarried divorcee is of the opinion that he is at peace with God, then he may permissibly receive Holy Communion. Thereby, not only the remarried divorcees are being admitted to the Table of the Lord, but, at the same time, the subjective conscience of the individual person is being established as decisive authority. Is there still any difference with regard to Protestantism? The initiative of Malta shows just how little Cardinal Müller’s influence is anymore. Because, Cardinal Müller always upheld that Amoris Laetia is to be interpreted according to tradition, especially according to the clear rules of Familiaris Consortio. In this Apostolic Exhortation promulgated by Pope John Paul II, the remarried divorcees are denied access to Communion should they not live in continuous continence. The guidelines of the Bishops of Malta could have now a weighty impact and heighten the crisis within the Church. Because, by now it should be clear that Pope Francis has no problem with the admittance of remarried divorcees to Communion. Likewise, the pope seems not to be worried that in different regions there are being established now different guidelines. However, this would mean nothing else but that the traditional moral teaching on sexuality is not any more universally valid. Can one then justly speak any more of one single Church? In this context, the warning from Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider – himself a decisive supporter of the dubia cardinals – against a coming schism is far from being an exaggeration. One has to consider that the problem of Communion for the remarried divorcees is not at all “merely” a problem of discipline. This topic touches upon three Sacraments (Eucharist, Matrimony, and Penance) as well as Church teaching on Grace and on Christology (in addition to her moral teaching, as has already been mentioned). Should the initiative of Malta now catch on (which is to be expected), we are heading into troubling times.

In a similar vein, the U.S. canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters is now saying that “The Maltese Directive Makes Answering the Dubia Urgent.” He himself now also brings into this discussion once more the role of Cardinal Müller himself when he says:

This ability of Amoris simultaneously to sustain orthodox, non-committal, and heterodox interpretations in matters of the gravest ecclesiastical import is exactly why the Four Cardinal’s dubia [sic] so urgently need answering—if not by Francis himself (and no one can force Francis’ hand) then at least by Francis’ right-hand man in matters of faith and morals, Cdl [Gerhard] Muller of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom the dubia was [sic] also (few seem to have noticed) addressed. Of course, the stakes involved in the dubia jumped dramatically over the weekend, not simply by the Maltese bishops making plain what sort of sacramental abuses Amoris could tolerate within its terms, but by the decision, taken at who-knows-what level, to publish the Maltese document in L’Ossevatore Romano, that [very same] “instrument for spreading the teachings of the successor of Peter.” [my emphasis]

Dr. Peters brings out an important fact – namely, that with the publishing of the Maltese guidelines in the Vatican’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the pope gives his own indirect approval of the novel teaching as it concerns the matter of the “remarried” divorcees.

In the meantime, Edward Pentin, the well-informed Rome Correspondent, has published an update concerning Cardinal Müller’s recent 8 January critique of the Four Cardinals’ dubia:

Update 12 January 2016: A spokesman for Cardinal Müller told the Register that he [Müller] was “speaking out of his authority as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and was not advised by anyone to do so.” He also said that a “recent interview with Carlos Granados published in Spanish entitled ‘Informe sobre la esperanza‘ (Madrid 2016) is [soon to be] forthcoming in English and entitled ‘The Cardinal Müller Report‘ (Ignatius…2017). In this book the third chapter is entitled ‘What can we hope for from the family?’ This will be an excellent point of reference regarding the Cardinal’s comments on the Sacrament of Marriage.”

Here we see that Cardinal Müller continues his own policy of showing that he interprets Amoris Laetitia in a more traditional way. Not long ago, I was able to publish a book review of that same 2016 book on Hope written by the German cardinal. When double checking the third chapter of that book as recently referred to by the spokesman for Cardinal Müller, one important aspect can be seen: Müller repeats in detail the teaching of Familiaris Consortio 84 concerning the divorced and “remarried” who are continuously bound to live chastely if they still wish to have access to the Sacraments. Here is an excerpt of these aspects, as summarized by me from the third chapter on hope and the family:

  • [Cardinal Müller] insists that, since the Church’s duty is to lead people to heaven, she has “never any authorization to dispense man (because of a purported compassionate or well-meaning attitude) from obeying God’s Commandments” (p. 194); [my emphasis]
  • reminds us that “marriage is a gift from the Lord,” that God will help us with the Sacrament and His Grace to live it, and that He thereby never fails any marriage. “He [God] promised us that His Grace will help us.” And he says that marital love “is a gift from God which has to be selflessly lived and daily preserved as the finest gift that one will ever hold in one’s hands” (p. 180; pp. 190-193); “With Jesus, a love is possible that lasts for the whole lifetime” (p. 205); [my emphasis]
  •  claims that gender theory is the essence of “the idea that man can create himself,” and without the Creator; thus the danger that “we turn our own desires into an idol and decide ourselves what is good and what is evil” (pp. 183-184); [my emphasis]
  •  importantly points out that the “fragmentation of man” and an “extreme individualism” is the twin of the totalitarian ideologies (p. 186);
  •  calls us not to accept “the different ‘family models’” which the “seemingly crazy Western society wants to impose upon us,” and also importantly says that there exists no human right to do what is wrong (p. 175); [my emphasis]
  •  speaks about the negative consequences of artificial birth control on marriage and the family – especially since it turns human sexuality into a mere self-serving idea, instead of seeing a “path to accept the Gift of Life” (p. 202-203);
  •  criticizes the Orthodox Church’s allowance of a second marriage, because he does not see it at all in accordance with the Gospels – “When I consider the words of Jesus about the indissolubility of marriage, I do not see how this [Orthodox Christian] practice [of allowing a second marriage] can be deduced from the Will of God” (p. 206);
  •  insists upon Familiaris Consortio’s teaching concerning the “remarried” divorcees and their not being able to access to the Sacraments, unless they practice continuous chastity; says that this document “confirms explicitly the dogmatic teaching of the Church on marriage” (pp. 208-209); [my emphasis]
  •  re-states that “the individual conscience cannot be separated from the Church’s Magisterium, just as the pastoral practice cannot be separated from the Church’s doctrine” (p. 211). [my emphasis]

And so, while Cardinal Müller presents – especially in the third chapter of his 2016 book on hope (which will be published in English in spring of 2017, according to Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., editor of Ignatius Press) – many beautiful and helpful statements and reflections, they will not likely bear good fruit as long as he is not also publicly resisting those irregular prelates – and even the pope – who now teach, and more laxly implement, guidelines concerning the “remarried” divorcees and their possible access to the Sacraments that all-to-clearly oppose the Church’s long-standing and articulate traditional Doctrine.

All things considered, it is my ardent prayer now to Our Lady and to Our Lord that the good cardinal may now receive the Graces necessary for a direct, public, and strong defense of Christ’s uncensored and merciful teaching – before it is too late to avert more confusion and ruin.

97 thoughts on “In Light of Malta: Further Questions on the Müller Position”

  1. The time draws near… if there is no answer to the dubia, then the formal correction MUST come very soon. Mary, destroyer of heresies, pray for us and our shepherds. St. John the Baptist, St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More, Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us and for our Pope.

    • I fear that a “formal correction”, just as the Dubia, will be met by Francis with malicious silence or brazen comments. It is not even excluded that he will come up with some sort of (“infallible”?) declaration which will simply enforce Amoris Laetitia and its liberal interpretation. Anyway, it is unlikely that the Pope is prepared to change course. The battle is going on too long already and his position has only hardened. So prepare for catastrophes, I would say.

      • If he does enforce AL as being part of the Magisterium I believe he can then be openly denounced as a manifest heretic & would lost the Papal Office. I can’t see him going that far.

        • Yes, but it would be his word against the others. If, hypothetically, Francis would solemnly declare that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of AL is a heretic, then what?

          At the level of the highest power formalities soon become obstacles. If a considerable part of the cardinals and other high prelates in the Vatican are really concerned about the consequences of AL, then they should physically force Francis to withdraw it or sign his abdication. But no, they are polite and respectful, and thus they decide to write “Dubia” or a “formal correction”. They themselves know that this is just crap and that nobody believes the Pope will listen to them.

          I don’t mean to rule out the possibility of supernatural help in a crisis like this. My point is entirely one of church politics.

          • You need to read the article in by Michael Pataluk which exposes Arch. Victor Fernandéz – the ghost-writer of AL, Evangelii Gaudium & Laudato Si.

          • Playing the game of Church politics successfully requires patience, taking one step at a time without jumping over any of them. That’s what Cardinal Burke is doing. I don’t doubt he has a larger plan than what he has revealed to date.

          • I always understood that if he displayed himself as a Manifest Heretic, then he excommunicated himself from the Papal Office & an Informal Council could then be called to underline his heresy.

          • You could count the number of bishops that are going to agree to do that on two hands. Maybe one hand, when push comes to shove.

          • According to Cardinal Burke, it is not numbers that count but truth. If PF doesn’t answer the formal correction then an Imperfect Council can be called irrespective of numbers. That Council then can tell us he is contradicting Catholic Doctrine & to avoid him. A lot of the Cardinals & Bishops are keeping mute, some afraid of a formal schism, others waiting to see what way the chips will fall. It would be imprudent to decide that the four Cardinals & their hidden supporters do not have any power or, indeed, the will to take the further step in calling an Imperfect Council. The position is now so grave they cannot allow the matter to continue to the point of people deciding for themselves & giving up their faith in God. Whether they like it or not they carry a heavy responsibility & they must accept that duty, put their trust in the Almighty like the rest of us & free the CC of the evil that has taken its grip on the very foundations that Christ built His Church on.

          • There is no procedure for calling an “Imperfect Council”; only vague referential precedent, and certainly no robust theological discussion (at least thus far) as to whether such a thing exists. There is no Church law or revealed doctrine related to an Imperfect Council, nor has the subject been discussed at a General Council, and it’s not part of the Ordinary Magisterium.

            Cardinal Burke, as the head spokesman of this effort, is a real part of the problem, IMO and one of the reasons that his hidden supporters, if they indeed exist, haven’t spoken up. Cardinal Burke is sadly viewed by most bishops as a sour-grapes media hound, particularly after his interview with Buzzfeed and some of his controversial statements on EWTN (which preceded the current disaster). Further, the CDF has ALREADY clearly signaled that Cardinal Burke will get no help from them, and Cardinal Müller and Benedict XVI are close. And even if Cardinal Burke called such a council (how would he do that exactly?), his support would be wafer thin, and the wagons would circle, and that would be the end of it. For better or worse, we have a Church where the Pope is the sole authority and he’s not going to be ousted by a singular unpopular Cardinal. Or even 20 unpopular Cardinals.

            The one outcome I *could* see is that Cardinal Burke might be forced to resign for insubordination, should he decide to keep this going.

          • Your views don’t synchronise with Robert Bellarmine or Francisco Suárez. If we undermine those who are attempting to do something about this dire situation we undermine ourselves & our families. Sitting back & letting things drift is no answer. Of course, Divine intervention is required but that often happens through the good deeds of others. Apathy is to no-one’s benefit.

        • Right. That’s why he hasn’t gone that far; that’s why he created the loopholes in AL instead of making a definitive heretical statement. He’s a Jesuit snake in the grass.

      • I wonder if the alleged mystic Pedro Regis is authentic. Some of the statements he has made appear to have validity. He foretold some of this stuff 10 years ago. I never paid much attention to it, but now I’m not so sure. Some of it seems accurate.

      • I don’t think the Pope even needs any further declaration. A formal correction (if it even ever materializes—how long have we been talking about this?) will just be sloughed off as “more of the same from the same tiny number of dissenting Cardinals.” I think the correction would be just as easy to ignore as the dubia; maybe more so.

        For the Pope to change his intended approach, which should seem clear to all by now, there would have to be resistance from an overwhelming number of bishops. That’s the part that’s not happening.

        • I agree that resistance from an overwhelming number of bishops is not to be expected, for the obvious reason that the majority of them are modernists and theological liberals.

          The only thing that really works in situations like this is real power play. For example: some high prelates in the Vatican threatening Francis to leave him and join the SSPX if he doesn’t answer the Dubia.

          • I think Pope Francis would LOVE to see some of these Cardinals leave for the SSPX. Problem solved! And it’s pretty clear that few if any of the bishops would rush to their defense, making the Cardinals look even more like schismatic outliers. They have no leverage.

          • Cardinal Burke will NEVER do that, no will the others. This is their Church. If anyone goes, it must be Bergoglio.

          • Such a thing would be a schism. Cardinals “leaving to join the SSPX” would be saying “I’m leaving the Church to join a schism so take that!” I’m NOT saying the SSPX is in schism… I’m saying that’s what such an action would amount to… it is ALSO the attitude that YOU (used plurally to refer to others who have made the statement as well) personally seem to be holding. The SSPX is not another Church, or the true Church or anything of the sort. The SSPX is a fraternity of priests who are within the Church, and have the particular charism of being attached to the traditional rite. They are good and faithful priests who have been kept shielded from the errors of modernism. For Cardinals to do such would be to put themselves under the authority of an inferior… that can’t happen. It would be them saying they well enter schism, for they would be creating a schism by such an act.

            Such ideas speak only of a lack of faith, as well as ecclesiological understanding. Have faith in Jesus Christ Our Lord, not in numbers. Not in noise. The Church is NOT a democracy. It does not operate like our governments. It is a hierarchy, with Christ at the top. Never forget that.

          • Or simply all of them deciding to ignore him and refusing to obey him. That will have him beating his head against the wall.

        • BINGO! It’s not the Pope’s defiance that presents the problem, it’s the total lack of courage and faithfulness on the part of the BISHOPS!!!! This…………………….the………….entire………..problem!

        • We’ve been talking about the formal correction since November. It’s been almost exactly 2 months… the same amount of time between the dubia being issued to the pope and when the Cardinals went public. It hasn’t been that long. It hasn’t even been a year since Amoris was published. I know this is frustrating, but have patience. As infuriating as this is, the Church moves very slowly.

          As far as ignoring a formal correction… a first correction? Maybe. But a second, which will likely be necessary? I don’t think we’ll see just 4 cardinals come out for that… perhaps not even for the first. Cardinal Burke said he knew of at least 30 that were behind the 4. There are likely at least a few more. At the point of a second correction, which will necessarily follow if the Pope does not correct his errors after the first there will be no ignoring. And a second correction will only come after at least 6 months from the issuing of the first. We’ve got a ways to go.

          Have some faith. The Cardinals are not who we put our hope in. We put our hope in Christ Himself for the conversion of Pope Francis. This is the only Catholic approach. We may see the first full deposition of a Pope in our lifetimes, and that may be what’s needed (if it happens then it was needed), but that’s not what we should hope for. Hope for Francis’ conversion, through Christ, by way of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Immaculate Heart.

          • Just to piggy back on what you have stated Jafin. Through my life life I have realized that people can communicate certain points by first making a lot of other statements (usually accompanied with poetic and erudite language) and concluding with the main point they want to express.
            People can make their point simplistically and exact (usually in one or two sentences not accompanied with a flowery style).

            If one is gifted enough one can blend both approaches to make their point

            Yet the approach used is dependent on the receptor. Has the receptor shown the willingness to appreciate the erudite and poetic approach? If one can’t detect the willingness (and I have intentionally not mentioned ability) by the receptor to understand and respond to the approach then the simplistic approach is needed.

            Thus, the Holy Father has repeatedly shown his unwillingess to respond to requests, that are respectfully framed. I firstly call this a neglect of duty. In the secular world this is akin to “job abandonment”. There is a point in the prudential timeline where patience turns into pointedness. That is to say, there is a point in time where a simplitic candid statement of what needs to be communicated is made. And its just this simple

            Holy Father, you don’t have the authority to grant communion even in these special cases, recant and repent.

            Straight to the point and its much easier to remember than something surrounded with many other factual statements. And because its so much easier to remember it, potentially will sting all the more….yet it only stings to bring the receptor to repentance. God bless.

          • When has a deposition of a pope ever lawfully happened? Who has the authority to remove him? The only things that come to mind are the great western schism and the muddle surrounding Benedict IX. The former was an act of schism, and the later was only legitimate because Benedict IX and Gregory VI willingly abdicated.

          • It hasn’t happened before, which is part of the reason why we’re in uncharted territory. That said, the scholarly work has been done to indicate that a pope who is a manifest, pertinicious heretic can indeed be deposed. Robert Siscoe and John Salza have a book called True or False Pope which deals with this. There are also a couple of very good and well researched articles about this on the Remnant Newspaper website. Do a Google Search for “remnant pope heretic” and it should be the first result. That’ll get you started. They make the case that Pope Marcellinus was deposed, though he was then re-elected for his sincere repentance by the Cardinals, after which he died a martyr. His re-election is historical fact.

            The two events you mention are parts of the same event, btw. Just the beginning and end of the event.

          • The two events you mention are parts of the same event, btw. Just the beginning and end of the event.

            Close. The Great Western Schism ended with the strategic resignation of a pope, but it wasn’t Benedict IX.

            Benedict IX was the one who was unlawfully deposed and replaced, restored, abdicated and sold the papacy to Gregory VI, was unlawfully restored and was finally lawfully deposed (because he had already abdicated and wasn’t re-elected) by the emperor who also obtained the abdication of Gregory. It is a sorry yet fascinating story if you want to look into it.

        • Jorge may act the Clown but he doesn’t fool any of us of The Faith . Right from the start this guy has spoken in riddles from The Homosexual don’t judge garbage up until this latest. He most obviously wants to do away with confessions as now if anyone believes their leading a good life then all is OK.

      • It depends on that the ‘formal correction’ is and what its conclusions are. If the conclusion is the Pope is a manifest heretic, then the game is on.

        King Francis will never respond with anything but malicious silence or brazen, hate-filled remarks. He is who he is.

        Do not prepare for catastrophes. Prepare for the triumph of Christ.

  2. Müller’s problem is the problem that all the so-called “conservatives” have had since Vatican II. Like ostriches sticking their heads in the sand they claim that XYZ document/statement/fervorino is capable of being interpreted in continuity with Sacred Tradition and, therefore, it must be interpreted that way.

    Its just another game of the Emperor’s beautiful new clothes because, despite their protestations to the contrary, all these innovatory teachings are quite capable of being interpreted in heretical ways as well. And the reason why they are capable of multiple interpretations is because they are AMBIGUOUS and very often they were intended to be so. This is always how heretics have worked to advance their antichrist agendas within the Church of God – a nominal feint or tip of the hat towards orthodoxy, followed by a full tilt towards ambiguity in order to secure a foothold for the lies of the devil.

    This isn’t rocket science or subtle new techniques which should take us by surprise- its been going on since the Garden of Eden. The Popes and saints who combatted modernism and liberalism were warning about these methodologies for over 200 years, and they often warned about the evil and sinfulness of ambiguous teaching. When will these chumps wake up from their ecumenically-induced comas and smell the coffee? Cardinal Caffara was too kind when he referred to them as blind. It was quite insulting to blind people to compare them with this level of ultramontanist stupidity.

    • Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you look to the past 50-60 years, it is apparent that just as there are different species of wolves, so too are those priestly wolves who hide in sheep’s clothing. Just because a priest appears orthodox does not mean he is. The most terrible heretic is the one who truly believes that he cannot be a heretic because he is 90% orthodox. Or 95%. Or 99%. That 1% of “compassion” for the devil and his ways will send one’s soul to eternal damnation. Just as Gray wolves will kill you, so grey areas of morality kill your soul.

    • Even Card. Kasper admitted a few years ago that the documents of Vatican II were purposefully ambiguous to appease the liberal faction present at the Council. What more proof do you need, bishops?

  3. I don’t care if the good Cardinal had temporarily lost his way, if he is able to go back to preaching as he had, he would obviously be going against what he has been told and would be a hero in my eyes. He may become irrelevant. He may be sent to some insignificant post but he would be a hero. The Church needs him! Cardinal Mueller, wouldn’t it be good to be “in mind and conscience free” as Father Faber describes?

  4. The Cardinals, bishops, and priests who continue to play dumb given the current scenario are testing our patience.
    We seem to be watching a continuous loop of “I don’t see anything…do you see anything?…no…there’s nothing to see….”.
    At the risk of sounding panicky, which I may be starting to actually be, but don’t want to sound that way, please allow me to do this…I know it’s impolite in social media circles, but here goes…CARDINALS…POPE FRANCIS IS A HERETIC. HE INSULTS JESUS CHRIST, OUR LADY, THE SAINTS, OUR CHURCH, THE FAITH, AND IS GOING TO HELP SEND SOULS TO HELL…HELL! Do any of you Cardinals or Bishops believe this stuff anymore??? I mean, really, are we just the biggest saps to ever call themselves Catholic? I know for sure, that if Catholics in any generation prior had laid their eyes on “Tuchy” or realized an archbishop had actually wrote a book about kissing, posed in a very effeminate manner, and HE hung out with the pope, that would have made them grab pitchforks and head for the Vatican. Let alone all the other nonsense we have had to suffer this past three and a half years.

    But the pope has 10 million followers on Twitter. TEN MILLION. I am not his follower, are you his follower? No wonder he feels good with this stuff. He has the numbers.
    Look I don’t want to be depressing. I don’t want to make any of my fellow Catholics upset. Not at all.
    But he’s apparently got the numbers. And all we have right now is, Four Cardinals who may or may not be in the process of issuing a…formal correction.
    God help us.

    • Hang in there. It’s going to get worse. The saints and mystics have stated that it will look like the Church has disappeared. They have also prophesied the emergence of a false church which almost all will follow.

      But to use one of the modernists’ favorites: “We are church!”

      They aren’t.

      • It is imperative that we are told when to stop following this man. The Traditional Orders will then have to spread themselves as quickly as possible, hopefully aided by a large portion of the NO clergy (led by many Cardinals & Bishops) who don’t want to follow PF et al to Hell & retain some sense of duty towards Christ’s flock. The Church of Christ must be a visible church, not the unscriptural invisible one that Protestants believe in.

    • You’re forgetting the Church Triumphant (and the Church Suffering). We have the numbers alright. Do we have the faith? Tighten those seat belts just a little more!

    • you are absolutely right about the numbers, but this is exactly what happened when Henry vIII wanted to re marry, see the same problem is not new, the catholic pope defended marriage at the heavy cost of loosing a chunk of catholics and property, and here is the surprise, of all the english “bishops“ only ONE stood with the pope and the true faith. he resisted and was martyred , he was John Fisher, now saint……

      • There won’t be many this time around either – maybe two at best that I can think of. Readers in the UK will know better of course.

  5. “(W)ith the publishing of the Maltese guidelines in the Vatican’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the pope gives his own indirect approval of the novel teaching.” It’s the Pope’s own newspaper. How does choosing to publish these guidelines constitute approval that is “indirect”? Seems quite direct to me.

    • Because in fairness, the pope doesn’t do a full editorial review of what is in the newspaper. So while he certainly has the right to say, “That story should never have gone out, issue a retraction!”, it is not clear that just because he doesn’t do so means he consents.

      This is a papacy of winks and nudges and obvious gestures and conspicuous silences more than it is one of overt malice. (He prefers to keep his malice on the DL.)

      • I agree that the Pope doesn’t exercise editorial review of every word, but certainly he knows by now that this is, at minimum, a controversial issue? And there’s been no subsequent retraction, as you point out, and Francis doesn’t seem like a Pope who is timid to disagree or to call the troops into line when they are outside the boundaries.

        We now have several instances of simply allowing national Bishops to go their own way and reach their own conclusions on AL. I think Pope Francis’ approach is simply to allow his view to reach consensus over time and I admit my understanding of his general approach does taint my view of what I see as his direct consent.

        • I don’t disagree with you. I’m simply defending the accuracy of the word choice. We strive not to presume too much, even when the conclusion seems obvious. If you connect those dots yourself, well, who could blame you?

        • But didnt AL say “Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to
          its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For
          “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs
          to be inculturated,if it is to be respected and applied”. And isnt this what the Argentines and the Maltese are doing? They are following AL. It’s called “decentralisation of doctrine”.

        • I actually don’t know that he knew ahead of time. I don’t think he’s a details man. He’s already given the directive to “¡HAGAN LÍO!”, and he expects the Shocktroops of Mercy to carry that out.

          Of course it’s entirely reasonable (and not outside the bounds of charity) to conclude that he’s completely on board with this. As I said to the other commenter, we simply strive not to presume in writing what can’t be proven. “Indirect” is the motif of this papacy, for the most part. All stalking horses, all the time.

  6. The ambiguity of Amoris and the petty media sniping is, to this Catholic, unbecoming of a church I love and one that should be striving for impeccable clarity around something so fundamental as the Eucharist. We have already had one epic body blow in the last 30 years, and this has the look of a comparable blow if not addressed post haste.

  7. That photo of the Maltese Lighthouse is just sublime. If I were a hermit on Malta and hoped to pray, fast and do penance for the Catholic Church that would be one heck of a place to squirrel myself away.
    Cardinal Muller obviously knows Jesus’ demands concerning Marriage. He is also aware of the coersion he is under from the supporters of Pope Francis, whether it is blackmail, bribery, threats against his positon or his person or more importantly against the church itself, it all amounts to a monumental oppression, an internal conflict with no end. He must choose: the light of Christ or the light of the “lightbearer”. Neither will be an easy choice. The consequences of either are eternal.
    Tomorrow in the traditional calendar is the Chair of St. Peter. The following is from
    This feast brings to mind the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Christ on Peter, and continued in an unbroken line down to the present Pope. We celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle, and renew our assent to the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, extended both to truths which are solemnly defined ex cathedra, and to all the acts of the ordinary Magisterium.

    The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Rome has been celebrated from the early days of the Christian era on 18 January, in commemoration of the day when Saint Peter held his first service in Rome. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch, commemorating his foundation of the See of Antioch, has also been long celebrated at Rome, on 22 February. At each place a chair (cathedra) was venerated which the Apostle had used while presiding at Mass. One of the chairs is referred to about 600 by an Abbot Johannes who had been commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great to collect in oil from the lamps which burned at the graves of the Roman martyrs. — New Catholic Dictionary

  8. All this past testimony to Cardinal Mueller’s orthodox ‘bona fides’ is quite beside the point, sorry to say. We are what we do and say in the clutch, and in the clutch he funked it. At the supreme moment of his life, he stumbled.

    He should be replaced by Cardinal Cupich: “let all the poison that lurks in the mud hatch out”. No more fig leaves of orthodoxy – let the Apostasy bare its fangs so the deniers (“nothing to see here, all is clear and in continuity with tradition”) can deny no more.

    • but arent you forgetting…..on the ground amongst Catholics, we need a visible Church to which to belong….and the question looks like becoming ‘where will that visible Church gather to offer the Mass?’

  9. Long before you get to the ambiguous parts of Amoris Laetitia there is paragraph 3 which should have taught us to expect the kind of thing that has happened in Malta – Church unity is at an end:

    ‘3. Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal,moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated,if it is to be respected and applied”.’

    • Classic VII double speak. “Unity is necessary, except when it isn’t”. They hand you what you need with one hand, then snatch it back with the other. “Latin is necessary in the liturgy, except when the vernacular is better.” “Sacred music should give pride of place to organ music, except when bongo drums and acoustic guitars are preferred by the Liturgy Committee”. And on and on . . .

      • I actually think a bit differently. I think Bergoglio/Fernandez made it CRYSTAL CLEAR in stating that the “Magesterium” {and obviously, the CDF} should keep its big nose out of the discussion of doctrine when Bergoglio says so.


    • Nailed it. I read AL the week after it was released. I was and have been shocked that only a very few statements have been plucked out for critical analyses when this exact passage you quote should be the major one selected for condemnation right from the gitgo.

      For me, this statement was stunning.

      It essentially defines the foundation for the whole document, the entire whole of which should be condemned as a result.

      It is infuriating to listen to Catholic prelates, ANY of them, try to make the case that AL is anything but a document foisting heresy on the Church and world at large.

      So, back a to the quote:

      How come no prelate has to date asked Bergoglio to give us a list of just exactly which “discussions of doctrine” should NOT be “settled by interventions of the Magesterium”?

      Aside from marriage and Eucharist…

  10. Are there seriously any positivists out there still disputing that Eugenio Scalfari did in fact tell to us exactly what Francis believes?

    “This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.”

    We Catholics have to be the stupidest lot on earth. For nearly 4 years now this man has been telling us exactly what he thinks and intends to do. And with very few exceptions all we’ve done is shout, “That’s not possible! Scalfari is lying! The pope would never say those things!” And this despite the fact that Francis never once corrected the record, nor even blushed at these outrages being attributed to his name.

    Well now it’s here — “all the divorced who ask will be admitted” — and everyone’s freaking out. Why is this a surprise? If we wanted to avoid this fate, the time to resist this man was in 2013 after the first of these scandalous interviews. Now we’re stuck trying to undo institutional sacrilege rather than prevent it.

    • Indeed – if we want to kmow what’s coming next we need only refer to his “Scalfari magisterium”. Adopt the paradigm of “a little bread and wine can’t hurt” and all will be revealed where this psycopath is going.

      • Chilling. But let me guess, there are Neo Catholics out there wringing their hands, “But the pope doesn’t control L’Obsservatore Romano! He’s not consenting to this!”

        Excuse me while I puke. The Supreme Pontiff and sovereign of the Vatican City State, the destroyer of the FFI, the demoter of cardinals, the gutter of the CDW and CDF, Mr. ““I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions”, can’t influence the Vatican’s official newspaper. Yeah right.

    • “We Catholics have to be the stupidest lot on earth. For nearly 4 years now this man has been telling us exactly what he thinks and intends to do. And with very few exceptions all we’ve done is shout, ‘That’s not possible! Scalfari is lying! The pope would never say those things!'”

      Now you can understand how things were after “the council.”

      When all the garbage was going on, Catholics were saying, “That’s not possible. The pope would never do/allow those things!”

      It has taken people like the folks at the Wanderer half a century… half a century… to finally admit that there is something wrong with a reigning pope.

      If that’s not cognitive dissonance, I don’t know what would be.

    • Exactly. These people had the audacity to change the Mass and outlaw a 1,500 year old liturgical tradition. Nothing else they change should shock us.

      They changed the very definition of the Church. They uncrowned Christ the King. They’ve kissed the Koran. They’ve let pagans offer worship to their demons on our altars.

      And yet so many keep saying, “If the pope does this, well that’s the last straw!”

    • Or taking the longer view, the time to resist would have been when flocks of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics were presenting themselves for Holy Communion via the internal forum. (At least around here, that’s old hat, dating back to the early 1990s.) For many Catholics this is just acknowledging and rubber stamping what already has been happening in the parish for several decades.

  11. And many of us are also praying that Cardinal Müller will receive the graces and the courage necessary “for a direct, public, and strong defense of Christ’s uncensored and merciful teaching,” no matter how severely he will be punished for such a defense. St. Thomas More has shown us what an extreme form such punishment may take. Will Cardinal Müller ignore that kind of heroic witness?

  12. As a convert, I hope the cradle Catholics now understand clearly just exactly why many non-Catholics think the Catholic Church is a complete fraud.

    In the absence of discipline to protect the faith, that is a logical and reasonable assessment of the institution or at least of its prelature and we need to be compassionate and patient with those who don’t even want to hear one word about “what the Church teaches”.

    • It’s insane. In a healthy Church with faithful orthodox leadership, an example would be made of these Bishops. They would be removed from their offices immediately, and scuttled off to obscurity to finish their live in prayer and penance.

    • Discipline was shown the door at VII. Before that there was strict discipline & everyone knew about mortal sin & its consequences. Doing away with our holy liturgy, catechesis, evangelising the ignorant, dumbing down the Sacraments came about as a result of false ecumenism to attract non-Catholics back to the fold. It must be ditched along with those who are enforcing it.

      • Pope John XXIII told us it was coming when he said the Church would no longer condemn the bad, just affirm the good in his opening address to V2.

        There may be no clear heresy taught in the docs of V2 but this nonsense was clearly and definitively a break with past practice.

        And it wasn’t even completely true, because since V2 we have seen a deluge of condemnation…

        …Aimed at the past actions of the Church, Traditionalists, “rigidity”, etc, etc.

        • VII brought it all upon us that’s why I’d love to see it rescinded completely rather than just discarding the worst bits, but I cannot see any future Pope (even a more traditionally-minded one) having the guts to do so as they are all implicated to some extent. Maybe Our Lady will see to it, but the present lot definitely won’t.

  13. I said this elsewhere, but if Cardinal Müller does not condemn the Maltese directive and issue a formal correction to the Bishops of Malta, then you might as well bag and tag the CDF, because it no longer exists to Protect and Defend the Doctrine of Faith, it’s pure window dressing at this point.

    If Pope Francis has commanded him not to condemn it, then he needs to resign immediately and publically say why and then ally himself with the Four and the Faith!

    • What do you think the odds of that are? Muller can’t enjoy his job and clearly has no real power or prestige to hold onto. If he were to “lose his position” Francis would actually be doing the guy a solid. So why is he rolling over on AL…”Nothing to see here! Everything is fine, FINE!”

      The only options that really makes sense are either, (1) he’s on board with the agenda, or (2) blackmail.

  14. I think the whole debate should be framed as ‘in Defence of the Indissolubility of Marriage, the Veracity of the ‘Real Presence of Christ’ in the Eucharist, and the Necessisity of True Repentance – Act of Contrition and Firm Purpose of Amendment for Forgiveness and Reconciliation.’ Rather than the fixation on ‘Communion for the Divorced and Remarrieds’. It appears mean with such a seemingly narrow focus. Or even – Truth and Redemption.

  15. If you don’t believe bishops should use vague language (that infers the “remarried” can receive) why are these bishop’s statements criticized in similarly vague language?

    Where have the Bishops of Malta directly condoned Holy Communion for the “remarried”?

    Do “traditional” critics put letter of law above spirit, in which an “irregular” marriage CAN BE the real first marriage, because the union prior was by proven realities, not church declaration – void – by definition?

    This irregular situation might render the church’s clients in violation of church discipline, but not necessarily in the state of “mortal sin”.

    Human beings are not obligated to withhold their reasoning faculties; they are in fact obligated to recognize objective realities, and the weight of church law is on clerics is to provide the sacraments following, including the Holy Eucharist, unless it is proven the person publicly and obstinately believes in adultery, getting married “twice”, or persisting in “grave sin”.

    This has always been the case, and has never changed. Marriage is a sacramental covenant, not a contract in the sense of a document.

    The church has also always taught that persons marry each other through mutual consent, not the awaited confirmation in church ceremony by cleric – or any other person.

    (Thus was the way marriage was regularly contracted in the west in this country before priests were readily available.)

    Therefore, unless proven otherwise, clerics are BOUND to conclude that clients are not persisting obstinately, or culpable of objective “mortal sin”, just because they have not waited for an “annulment” from an obviously invalid union.

    The annulment is not what makes their subsequent marriage “valid”, though the annulment, and a “church” wedding, might indeed make it licit.


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