Müller Interview: Critics of the Papacy now Invoke Francis


Cardinal Müller recently responded to some questions from Catholic World Report about his recent “Manifesto of Faith” and reaction to it, as well as leadership in the Church, loss of faith in the Church, clericalism, and the Vatican Summit on sexual abuse. It is well worth a read here.

Müller is one of a very few cardinals who has had the courage to stand up for Christ and the Church. I find this deeply heartening - there is hope!!

What I find deeply disheartening is those who have uncritically (publicly at least) accepted Pope Francis and promote his direction where they once were happy to promote Pope Benedict XVI's direction. Most obviously, this draws me back to 1 Corinthians 3 where St. Paul speaks of 'men of the flesh' (3:1); immature Christians who possess the Spirit but are enslaved to worldly ways of thinking. The 'jealousy and strife' (3:3) exhibited in Corinth was proof that many of them were spiritual infants. Real Christian maturity produces the fruits of love and unity (Gal 5:22-23; Col 3:12-15) and that unity can only be found in our common profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

St. Paul describes teachers as 'servants' (3:5) and 'fellow workers' (3:9) of the Lord and he emphasises that the only stable foundation to be built upon is the Gospel of Christ (3:11). This should be an easy test for any of us who's heart is truly ordered toward the truth of Christ. It also means that when we hear another Gospel, it jars on the ear, it doesn't sit well with us, yet it is embraced and promoted by so many who claim the mantle of shepherds today
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ (Gal 6).
Only a few shepherds have the courage to stand against this rising tide; please remember to pray for them!
Cardinal Müller's interview seems to echo St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians:
The same people who were critical, even hostile, towards Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, whom they denounced as traitors of the spirit of the Council, now invoke Pope Francis. Yet they do this not because they acknowledge him as pope in terms of Catholic dogma, but rather because they want to use him as a vehicle for their leftist-liberal agenda to desacramentalize the Church.
Do you, as I do, hear St. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 1:12:
What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Christ is the only measure that matters and it seems clear that many in the Church seek to supplant Christ. They sell this to us as "modernisation", but it seeks to overturn fundamental anthropological or Sacramental doctrine which will inevitably wound the deposit of faith and are inconsistent with what has been consistently taught before. As Cardinal Müller puts it:
The mainstream media lie firmly in the hands of enemies to Christianity...The media only praise the Pope when they can make use of him for their agenda...Jesus is either the Son of the Father or he is not. We either believe in him or, being no longer Christians, stop declaring ourselves Christians. What good is a bottle of wine with a label promising “excellent quality” if this bottle is empty?
This is key for me. A Catholicism which betrays what it has taught for centuries for a new development (on homosexuality for example) lacks the consistency to be taken seriously. We either believe the Gospel in its entirety has merit for the world or we do not. Those who refuse to accept some teaching rather than conforming to Christ do the Body of Christ and incredibly dis-service irrespective of their sincerity.
Jesus has asked whether he will still find faith when he returns. And sometimes in Church history, it seems as though faith does run out in the Church. In the struggle against ultra-powerful Arianism, which was sustained by public opinion and political power, Saint Athanasius often seems outmaneuvered. Back then, Arianism was modern and Catholicism premodern in the eyes of those whose faith lay in forward progress. As Saint Jerome puts it with a groan, the world awoke and found that it had become Arian. This is the hour of Saint Peter. Jesus told him that Satan has longed to sift the disciples and the whole Church like wheat. Then followed Jesus’ word of tremendous force and relevance, even in this present time of suffering in the Church: “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:32).
Read the whole interview here.



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