Wednesday 20th September 2017

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . A German Cardinal Focuses On Hope

April 21, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

“Bob was a hopeful man. Of course, he wasn’t an optimist” — Fr. Paul Scalia, presiding at the funeral of Judge Robert Bork (December 22, 2012).

+ + +

As prefect for the Congregation of the Faith, Gerhard Cardinal Müller bears the responsibility of defending the truths of the Magisterium from error. In recent years, that task has become more difficult, for reasons addressed in The Cardinal Müller Report (Ignatius Press, $17.95: visit www.ignatius.com, or call 1-800-651-1531), which appears this month.
First, some background. In 1985, Ignatius published the powerful Ratzinger Report, an extended interview by Vittorio Messori with the then-cardinal prefect of the same congregation. The Müller Report follows the same format, as an interview with Fr. Carlos Granados, director of the Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos (BAC), the highly respected publishing house known the world over for its critical editions of Catholic classics.
This marvelous book is the result of one weekend of conversations, for which Fr. Granados prepared for weeks. Clearly Cardinal Müller had been preparing for a lifetime. In fact, the German Cardinal knows Spanish so well that the interview was conducted entirely in that language in December 2015, after the Synod on the Family but before the publication of Amoris Laetitia in March of 2016.
While The Ratzinger Report focuses on faith, Cardinal Müller focuses on hope, “which reveals the future,” and stresses the importance of this theological virtue as opposed to its secular version (optimism is “just a guess”).
Cardinal Müller addresses several highly charged issues, but calmly and soundly. The book’s vital importance lies in its tightly interwoven character that develops unpopular truths with such patient clarity that they are impossible to deny without denying the faith itself.
We can turn briefly to some of those specifics, always mindful that they are developed painstakingly and lucidly as part of a whole. The text is so enjoyable because the cardinal confidently places critical issues of theology within easy reach, without apology or evasion.
Cardinal Müller first presents divorce and remarriage as a “serious obstacle” which introduces “emotional instability” and practical issues such as children born in the second relationship. In developing the issue further, after a careful examination in the light of Church teaching, however, he is firm: Sacramental marriage is indissoluble, period.
With regard to sodomy, he does not flinch. However popular “gender ideology” might be, it represents an “idolatry of the self,” like Adam and Eve deciding what is good and evil. In fact, this “totalitarian pretension” constitutes an attack on the Church and her authority, plain and simple.
But what about “Who am I to judge?” He is clear: “It is precisely those who before have shown no respect for the doctrine of the Church who now seize on a stray sentence of the Holy Father, taken out of context, to present deviant ideas about sexual morality in the guise of a presumed interpretation of the ‘authentic’ thought in merito of the Pope.”
He continues: “The concept of the intrinsic disorder of homosexual acts, because they do not proceed from a genuine emotional and sexual complementarity, stems from holy Scripture.”
But in the cases of “gender” and divorce and remarriage, shouldn’t the Eucharist be available? He cannot “conclude that anyone can come to receive the Eucharist even though he is not in grace and does not have the required state of mind, just because it is nourishment for the weak.”
But isn’t that “legalistic”? Not at all: “Certainly, any proposal to eliminate the law from Christian life or to regard it as an excessive burden would constitute a serious offense to Jews and would be especially an attack on the truth of Christianity.”
And speaking of legal, what about officeholders who celebrate sodomy and abortion? “We pay a high price” for “our refusal to hold politicians to an ethical exercise of power.”
Without chiding, Cardinal Müller has strong words for current and future priests, who “must take the most meticulous care of our spiritual life: assiduous confession, moments of intimacy with the Lord in silent adoration, praying the breviary for the whole church, and trusting ourselves to the maternal care of Mary, the hard work of spiritual exercises every year, and above all the devout celebration of Christ’s sacrifice and daily Mass. We, too, are enveloped in misery, and therefore we need a firm piety and continual forgiveness of God if we want to renew our Christian life and, specifically, the commitment we undertook one day to serve the church for life, out of love for Christ.”
Yes, he continues, there is a crisis in vocations, but that represents “a crisis of faith, which in turn is a result of a long secularization that has dried up what was once fertile soil and has scorched the earth.”
And what about bishops? They must preach the “full Gospel,” bearing in mind that bishops’ conferences “do not have any more authority than the sum of the authority of all the bishops who belong to them.”
Like Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Müller illuminates the problem of bishops hiding behind the cover of the faceless bureaucracy of “the conference” to avoid confronting dissent and outright error with their consecrated authority, however unpopular such truth-telling might be. In fact, one might conclude, if conferences were simply abolished, there would be no loss or dilution of episcopal authority, but it may well be sharpened by placing it squarely on the shoulders of individual successors of the apostles.
Specifically, Cardinal Müller does not share the timidity of many American bishops when it comes to defending the moral truths so scathingly attacked by our popular culture.
On Humanae Vitae: “The indiscriminate attacks to which it was subject from the outset caused it to be marginalized and forgotten, despite its richness and inventively and prophetically posing the reality of love, of marriage, and the beauty of married life. Today, almost 50 years later, we see much more clearly that Pope Paul VI was right in everything that at the time he had the courage to make clear. Ahead of his time, this humanist pope had the courage to offer this document to the Church and to society, denouncing with an accurate analysis what ended up happening.”
Regarding education, Cardinal Müller points out how the great tyrannies have always attempted to seize control of children from their parents. That temptation is universal: In the 1860s, John Swett, the anti-Catholic superintendent of education in California, insisted that children belong to the state, and not to the parents; hence parents should cede control over education to the superior authority of the state (Swett is honored today as the founder of California’s largest government school union).
And what about the Reformation, so popular in recent days as Luther’s 500th anniversary is celebrated? “The farther away an observer is from Christianity, the fewer differences he can see between the Catholic Church and the other Christian denominations. To an atheist, all religions look the same….Strictly speaking, we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the date that is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture in Western Christianity.”
And religious liberty? It requires that the Church exercise “her complete independence” from the state. He does not address problems flowing from government funding of the Church, which reaches into the billions both in his native Germany and the United States.
And mercy?” This introduces the third theological virtue: “Mercy cannot consist in relativizing God’s Commandments, but must, rather, make possible the encounter with God’s love, which renews and changes our life.” Here, and throughout the interview, Cardinal Müller contrasts the theological virtues with the secular world’s versions. “Supernatural love is the intimate union of God with us: He lives in us, and we are His children,” he insists.

Marvelously Coherent

The Ratzinger Report focused on faith; The Cardinal Müller Report focuses on hope. Given the confusion that abounds among today’s bishops regarding “charity” as government-funded welfare programs, we look forward to a future volume that firmly restores charity — caritas, inseparable from God’s love — to its proper place in the life of the Church.
The particulars noted above are necessarily brief. We emphasize that they emerge from a marvelously coherent and masterful conversation that is indispensable to understanding their place in the teaching of the Church as it confronts the “vulgarity and frivolity” of today’s secular culture.
This very readable book deserves to be widely celebrated and appreciated.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Australian priest rips confession proposal as government ‘intrusion’

An Australian priest has called the Royal Commission’s recent proposal to enforce law requiring that clergy face criminal charges if they do not disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional a breach of religious tolerance. Fr. Kelvin Lovegrove,…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Today . . .

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto…Continue Reading

Sex, sanity, and beliefs that ‘live loudly’ within us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.” — Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character.  It’s this:  Americans place a big stress on individual rights.  But we’re also big conformists.  The dynamic of self-assertion and fear of being…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Preparing To Enter Into The Awesome Mystery Of The Mass

By JAMES MONTI For every Catholic, there can be no more important event in one’s spiritual life than Holy Mass. For in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist we encounter our God in a more intimate manner than in any other sacrament, sacramental, or form of prayer. I recall hearing of a modern writer who…Continue Reading

Moral Judgments — Facts Or Opinions?

By ARTHUR HIPPLER (Editor’s Note: Dr. Hippler is chairman of the religion department and teaches religion in the Upper School at Providence Academy, Plymouth, Minn.) + + + Allan Bloom began his Closing of the American Mind with this memorable observation: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the…Continue Reading

The Complete Thinker

By DONALD DeMARCO “The Complete Thinker” is borrowed from the title of Dale Ahlquist’s 2012 book, the subtitle of which is The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton. “Thinking,” for Chesterton, “means connecting things.” Ahlquist regards G.K.’s thinking as “complete” in the sense that it deals with a wide variety of subjects and integrates them in…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima: The August Apparition

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + During the entirely misnamed age of the “Enlightenment,” movements to dethrone prominent Catholic monarchies began…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

God The Sanctifier Of Men… Other Christs

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In a previous article, I mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us brethren of Christ. It is, by the way, one more reason to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us, our common Mother. The reason is quite simple to understand: Christ is the Head of the…Continue Reading

The Effects And Fruits Of Anointing Of The Sick

By DON FIER The proper time for receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for a baptized Catholic “has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1528). However, as we saw last week, the sacrament is not exclusively for those who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Please clarify 1 John 5:16-17. Does this refer to mortal sin? What is meant by not praying for one in deadly sin? Isn’t deadly sin a top priority for prayer? — P.S., Indiana. A. The passage in question reads: “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will…Continue Reading

Magnify The Lord!

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9 Phil. 1:20c-24, 27a Matt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God says that His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways. He adds that as the heavens are high above the Earth, so high are His ways above our ways. Certainly this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading