Monday, 19 July 2021

Card. Müller Drills Into Francis' "Letter to Bishops" With "Traditionis Custodes"

Fr Zed looks at Cardinal Müller's analysis of Francis's 'Letter', which is the real 'atom bomb' announcing the planned end of the TLM.

From Fr Z's Blog

At The Catholic Thing there is a piece translated from the original German (by a good friend of mine, two, as a matter of fact), by Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller.  The former Prefect of the CDF examines Francis’ new Plessy v. Ferguson-esque move against people who participate at the Traditional Latin Mass.   In effect, what the Cardinal does is dissect not just the Motu Proprio but even more the Letter Francis sent out to the bishops.

It is a cosmic law that it takes a great many more words to refute the specious claims of another.  Müller’s piece is longish, but it is good, and instructive.  He goes into the depth of Francis’ starting points in a way that Francis did not.

Beyond the presentation of his subjective reactions, however, a stringent and logically comprehensible theological argumentation would also have been appropriate. For papal authority does not consist in superficially demanding from the faithful mere obedience, i.e., a formal submission of the will, but, much more essentially, in enabling the faithful also to be convinced with consent of the mind. …


This dichotomy between good intention and poor execution always arises where the objections of competent employees are perceived as an obstruction of their superiors’ intentions, and which are, therefore, not even offered.

Müller breaks down the claim that Traditionis does the same thing that Pius V did in 1570.

He points out that if one Pope can cancel people, so can another cancel another group.

The Cardinal looks into the “defense of Vatican II against attacks” by “traditionalists” argument.  Does Francis really have the will to deal with “progressivist” attacks on the Council and their paganization of the liturgy?  Will truly deal with what the Germans are doing with the “synodal way” (“walking together”)?   Will he correct those who promote same-sex acts?

Then there is Francis’ tone:

Without the slightest empathy, one ignores the religious feelings of the (often young) participants in the Masses according to the Missal John XXIII. (1962) Instead of appreciating the smell of the sheep, the shepherd here hits them hard with his crook. It also seems simply unjust to abolish celebrations of the “old” rite just because it attracts some problematic people: abusus non tollit usum.

One of the interesting things Müller does is drill into Francis’ utilization of the adage lex orandi – lex credendi.

This phrase appears first in the anti-Pelagian Indiculus (“Against superstitions and paganism”) which spoke about “the sacraments of priestly prayers, handed down by the apostles to be celebrated uniformly all over the world and in the entire Catholic Church, so that the rule of prayer is the rule of faith.” (Denzinger Hünermann, Enchiridion symbolorum 3) This refers to the substance of the sacraments (in signs and words) but not the liturgical rite, of which there were several (with different variants) in the patristic era. One cannot simply declare the latest missal to be the only valid norm of the Catholic faith without distinguishing between the “part that is unchangeable by virtue of divine institution and the parts that are subject to change.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 21). The changing liturgical rites do not represent a different faith, but rather testify to the one and the same Apostolic Faith of the Church in its different expressions.

Certainly the Cardinal is right.  On the other hand, the phrase in question has developed a life of its own that cannot immediately be dismissed with a call to return only to the earliest origin.   Hence, the former Prefect adds an enriching layer to our understanding of lex orandi – lex credendi.

It has not been lost on the Cardinal that the Congregation for Religious is now in charge of the old “Ecclesia Dei” groups.  It has not been lost on him that that same Congregation has brutally crushed more traditional communities of women and of men religious.

Müller adds:

Let us hope that the Congregations for Religious and for Divine Worship, with their new authority, do not become inebriated by power and think they have to wage a campaign of destruction against the communities of the old rite – in the foolish belief that by doing so they are rendering a service to the Church and promoting Vatican II.

I strongly recommend that you review Francis’ Letter to Bishops and then read Müller.

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