Thursday, November 29, 2012


Catholic News Service is reporting that the new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29: "Reading Vatican II as break with tradition is heresy, prefect says."[!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as breaking with the truth both espouse a "heretical interpretation" of the council and its aims, said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

What Pope Benedict XVI has termed "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" is the "only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology," Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29.

"Outside this sole orthodox interpretation unfortunately exists a heretical interpretation, that is, a hermeneutic of rupture, (found) both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist" side, the archbishop said.

What the two camps have in common, he said, is their rejection of the council: "the progressives in their wanting to leave it behind, as if it were a season to abandon in order to get to another church, and the traditionalists in their not wanting to get there," seeing the council as a Catholic "winter."

A "council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible church" is the "highest expression" of the Magisterium, he said, to be regarded as part of "an indissoluble whole," along with Scripture and 2,000 years of tradition.

The doctrinal chief's remarks were published in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, to present the seventh volume of "The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger." The volume collects both published and unpublished notes, speeches, interviews and texts written or given by the future pope in the period shortly before, during and just after Vatican II.

Archbishop Muller specified that by "continuity" Pope Benedict meant a "permanent correspondence with the origin, not an adaption of whatever has been, which also can lead the wrong way."

The term "aggiornamento" or updating -- one of the watchwords of the council -- "does not mean the secularization of the faith, which would lead to its dissolution," but a "making present" of the message of Jesus Christ, he said.

This "making present" is the "reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ," he said.

"The tradition of apostolic origin continues in the church with help from the Holy Spirit," he said, and leads to greater understanding through contemplation and study, intelligence garnered from a deeper experience of the spiritual, and preaching by those who through the "apostolic succession have received an assured charism of truth."


Marc said...

A "council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible church" is the "highest expression" of the Magisterium, he said, to be regarded as part of "an indissoluble whole," along with Scripture and 2,000 years of tradition.

Do you think His Excellency knows about those first Seven Councils that took place without the Pope?

Henry Edwards said...

Of course, it is true that progressives are heretical in their strongly held view that Vatican II made a rupture with tradition, was even a new Church born.

But why would stating that fact hit traditional Catholics hard, who (with Pope Benedict) simply want Vatican II interpreted in continuity with traditions. An orthodox interpretation that progressives are kicking and screaming about.

I smell another false equivalence here.

Anonymous 5 said...


Obviously the first seven councils were of lower status than VII.

Henry: I agree.

Nothing new here. Again the hierarchy says that VII is in continuity because it must be in continuity, without attempting to address the points of (at least apparent) discontinuity.

I for one would be kicking up a lot less fuss about discontinuity and rupture if the current members of the hierarchy _acted_ as if there had been no rupture, such as propagating a predominantly Latin liturgy that didn't smack of Protestantism and teaching the hard truths that they seem to want to avoid. But sometimes the hierarchy seems very much to want to tar VII with the Spirit of VII brush. As long as it keeps doing that, I shall pay little attention to all this lip service. When I see ad orientem in the NO mandated, or Tridentine Masses mandated in each deanery, or major and uncomfortable points of Catholic doctrine preached much more explicitly at far more masses than it is in most parishes today, or pro-abort "Catholic" politicians publicly excommunicated, then I will begin taking the hierarchy at their word. I have to see them embrace more of the visible aspects of the pre-VII Church before I am convinced, because I honestly can see, at a working day to day level, almost nothing BUT rupture. Telling me my eyes are wrong achieves nothing.

And if the Archbishop's comments are to be taken as meaning we should no longer accept or consider or remember the teachings of all the prior councils--something that his words don't state but which many people, especially liberal "Catholics," will read in to them--then I guess that makes me a heretic.

Anonymous 5000b said...

Newsflash: Vatican II ain't the problem. The problem is the way the Novus Ordo has been fabricated to be anything the presiding priest wants it to be, from traditional faithful full Catholic Holy Mass at one end of the spectrum to a gathering of liberal social workers praising their own goals and views on the opposite end, and everything in between. The Novus Ordo is too much of a chameleon, and its fruits are what caused the situation we are stuck in, from dwindling numbers of clergy to rampant cafeteria Catholicism to outright abandonment of the faith.

BachFanIV said...

As these are comments in an interview, they are only the Archbishop's opinions, and therefore hardly considered infallible.

We shouldn't seek a "happy medium" between traditionalists and progressives. We need truth, which is historically transmitted a la tradition. As A5 points out, the hierarchy have not fulfilled their obligations in teaching: there are at least 4 discrepancies between V2 texts and prior magisterial documents, and we have not been properly taught how these items are truly of Tradition. I agree with Henry: false equivalence presently.

Pater Ignotus said...

His Grace, Archbishop Muller, is wise and an exemplar of Catholic faith. Long may he reign.

ytc said...

blah blah blah. This is not a "bombshell." Yawn.

I know zero "traditionalist Catholics" who actually believe the Council was heretical. In fact, I'd LOVE for someone to give me a real life example. Do it, go ahead, try, show it. I know Sedevecantists who do, but they are effectively not Catholic anyway, so who cares what they think.

These words of His Excellency are not nuanced.

It is a clear fact that the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican is a valid Council. It is a clear fact that the bishops had the authority to say what they said in their documents. Even the SSPX, afaik, officially acknowledges the validity of the Council!!!

However, it is also a clear fact that the post-Conciliar Church has, in practice, broken with the past. Perhaps not completely, but largely, and certainly from the perspective of lay Catholics, regardless of their "side" on the matter.

It cannot be said that the Council was, in itself and nothing but itself, a break with the past. But neither can it be said that WHAT HAPPENED AFTER--WHICH IS SEPARATE FROM THE COUNCIL ITSELF--was/is not a break with the past.

I simply do not and can not believe that what has happened in the 1960s and 1970s, apart from the official documents of the Council themselves, has any real and intrinsic connection to the Council. I truly do believe we screwed up in some places. And I'm not some heretic for saying that.

Gosh, I do wish people would actually think this out and nuance their statements. God bless the good Archbishop.

Marc said...

I agree with Pater: His Excellency Abp. Muller absolutely exemplifies the Roman Catholic faith at its current stage of development. I also agree with Pater's assessment of the Archbishop as wise in that he has given an accurate statement of the hierarchy's viewpoint on the place of Vatican II in the development of doctrine.

I do have a semantics question, though. Is it appropriate to say he is "reigning"? Seems a strange term for the head of the CDF. But, I could be wrong...

John Nolan said...

That is, PI, until he comes down on one of your liberal shibboleths. He is already PNG in German liberal circles, who greeted his appointment with unalloyed dismay.

John Nolan said...

Let us assume for the sake of argument that there are some quite high in the Curia who believe that Vatican II should not have been called in the first place, that it was hijacked early on by those with a political agenda, that John XXIII was seriously concerned at the direction it was taking but was terminally ill even as it met, that Paul VI (who was dubious about the whole enterprise) should not have reconvened it in 1963, that it did not renew the Church but caused untold damage to her in her traditional European heartland, that its fruits can be seen in the collapse in vocations and the disintegration of the liturgy, and so on, - these are not the arguments of extremists, and actually represent a credible historical analysis - what can they do about it? It was, after all, an Ecumenical Council in the way that the Catholic Church understands it. Therefore they have to fall back on the argument that it was the interpretation or 'hermeneutic' which was faulty.

It is reminiscent of those who, in the age of absolute monarchy, couldn't criticize the king himself for his actions, but maintained the fiction that the blame lay with his evil advisors. The so-called 'spirit of Vatican II' is not a construct of liberals who wanted to distort the true message of the Council - it was the policy of the Vatican itself and of Paul VI. The progressives know this full well, which is why they denounce the 'betrayal' of Paul's last years and the actions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. From their perspective it makes absolute sense, and from this perspective their arguments are perfectly logical. Traditionalists also have a valid historical argument which leads them to similar conclusions, although they deplore what their opponents admire and vice versa.

When historians (including Catholic ones) look at previous Church Councils they are sufficiently detached to evaluate them historically. We seem to be too close to Vatican II to abandon the pious platitudes and evaluate it objectively. It may well take another fifty years.

rcg said...

I think this is an example of weak leadership. The problems are not the same for both groups so it just confuses them. Also, the liberals have been running the show for a while and overwhelmingly represent the way the Church acts. The Conservative group is small and not very strong and they must not have been very strong back in '62 otherwise they would have prevented Vat II from going the way it did and the publication of SC. He is trying to act as if he is coming from the independent position of the Church, but is not willing to confront each side independently. This totally blunts his energy.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - It is common usage to refer to the working term a person, whether cleric, archbishop, factory foreman, or whoever, by saying "Long may he/she reign." It has nothing to do with his position as a bishop.

An attorney might be inclined to say of Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, "Long may he reign." It's just a figure of speech.

John Nolan said...

Yes, but this whole thing hit me when I was in my teens, and I remember (after the damage was done)accusing my father (b. 1920) and his generation for not standing up to it. But I now know I was being unfair; the generation which caused the damage was the previous one - Paul VI was born in the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (1897) and my parent's generation, accustomed to obedience, put up with it, although it caused them great anguish and distress.

I tried hard to remain a practising Catholic (as opposed to an intellectual one) but fortunately I found churches which did the NO Mass in Latin. Perhaps our faith was meant to be tried in this way; perhaps I was the first generation in 1500 years which couldn't attend daily Mass in the time-honoured form because the Holy Ghost, speaking through the Second Vatican, forbade it; BUT I DON'T THINK SO.

Marc said...

Pater, you're right. I wasn't thinking of it in terms of his being a bishop. I was focused on his being head of the CDF. I think I was having a brain hiccup. As now that you've said it, I agree, the expression is quite clear and common. :-)

I'm not sure which attorneys would say "Long May He Reign" of CJ Roberts, though... But I'm a bit biased since the Court keeps coming out with decisions that are making it easier for the State to kill my clients.

Gene said...

Marc, Most of your clients probably need killing...