Cardinal Müller: Nobody can alter the way the Sacraments work

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has said that local bishops cannot reinterpret Church teaching subjectively.

In an interview with the German magazine Rheinische Post, Cardinal Müller said: “I do not think it is particularly beneficial for each individual bishop to comment on papal documents to explain how he subjectively understands the document.”

He further said: “It cannot be that the universally binding doctrine of the Church, formulated by the Pope, is given different and even contradictory regional interpretations. The basis of the Church is the unity of faith. The Church no longer experiences a new revelation.”

In recent weeks, the bishops of Malta and Germany have issued guidelines permitting Communion for the remarried. The Maltese bishops said that it might be “impossible” for some couples to avoid sex, and that people could not be refused Communion if they discerned that they were “at peace with God”.

However, several bishops have affirmed the traditional teaching that the remarried cannot receive Communion, except when they endeavour to live “in complete continence”. Cardinal Müller pointed to magisterial teaching, most recently that of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which says continence is necessary. The cardinal told an Italian magazine that this teaching was “not dispensable, because it is not only a positive law of John Paul II, but he expressed an essential element of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments.”

Cardinal Müller also said that, in order to be absolved of adultery, a penitent must resolve not to sin again. He said: “No one can alter the sacraments as a means of grace according to their own choice – for example, so that the sacrament of Confession can be given without the intention to sin no more.”

from ww.catholicherald.co.uk

Pope Francis: Fake and scandalous news is like getting sexually aroused by feces

Pope Francis gave an interview to a Belgian magazine in which he cautioned media to avoid several major temptations, including the desire to always focus on scandal – which he compared to “coprophilia,” a mental illness in which a person has an abnormal interest in feces.

“Media I think have to be very clean, very clean and very transparent. And not fall – without offending, please – into the sickness of coprophilia,” the Pope said in his new interview, published Dec. 7.

Coprophilia, or coprophagy, is technically defined as a condition in which a person has an abnormal interest and pleasure in feces or excrement.

 

However, for Pope Francis, his use of the word referred to an attitude in journalism that always tries to communicate scandal.

Since people looking to the media frequently have “a tendency toward coprophilia” – meaning they take pleasure in and seek out scandalous news – this attitude “can do a lot of damage.”

It isn’t the first time that the Pope has discussed sexual interest in excrement. In March 2013, he warned that journalists risked becoming ill from their coprophilia, and that they could be “fomenting coprophagia” in their readers.

Pope Francis made his comments to Belgian weekly magazine “Tertio” for the occasion of the close of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The editor of the publication, Geert de Kerpel, conducted the interview, which focused on a wide range of topics from the media and the Synod of Bishops, to religion in the public sphere and war.

by Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Theologian: Shared communion with Protestants would be blasphemy and sacrilege

If the Church were to change its rules on shared Eucharistic Communion it would “go against Revelation and the Magisterium”, leading Christians to “commit blasphemy and sacrilege,” an Italian theologian has warned.

Drawing on the Church’s teaching based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, Msgr. Nicola Bux, a former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stressed that non-Catholic Christians must have undertaken baptism and confirmation in the Catholic Church, and repented of grave sin through sacramental confession, in order to be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

The concerns have arisen primarily due to the Holy Father’s own comments suggesting openness on intercommunion between Catholics and Lutherans, his apparent support for some remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion, and how others have used his frequently repeated maxim about the Eucharist: that it is “not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

In a December 10 interview with Avvenire, Cardinal Walter Kasper said he hopes Pope Francis’ next declaration will open the way for intercommunion with other denominations “in special cases.”

The German theologian said shared Eucharistic communion is just a matter of time, and that the Pope’s recent participation in the Reformation commemoration in Lund has given “a new thrust” to the “ecumenical process.”

Msgr. Bux emphasized that divorced and remarried Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist, since they are living in an objective state of adultery and therefore mortal sin.

He cited St. Thomas Aquinas, who wrote: “Whoever receives this sacrament while in mortal sin, is guilty of lying to this sacrament, and consequently of sacrilege, because he profanes the sacrament: and therefore he sins mortally.”

He also emphasized that St. Thomas Aquinas specifically condemned shared Eucharistic communion with non-Catholics.  St. Thomas wrote:

Through reading the Gospel of John chapter 6, or especially the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 11, one understands that this [communion for non-Catholics] is contrary to Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, because, to receive Communion one must have undertaken Christian initiation (baptism and confirmation). Also, if the person had fallen into grave sin, he has to have made the penitential journey, especially sacramental confession.

The initiation and the penitential journey really show that the one who wants to communicate must first have entered into the communion of the faith of the Church; or if they had moved away because of a serious sin or schism or heresy, must re-enter by penance.

Msgr. Bux warned of the dangers of changing this rule that prohibits intercommunion between Catholics and non-Catholics:

If the Holy See absurdly changed the rule, that is if it were able to bring it about without having Christian initiation (baptism and confirmation) or, without having made sacramental confession, it would go against Revelation and the Magisterium of the one Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church, prompting the faithful to commit blasphemy and sacrilege. ∎

Pope Francis reinstates disgraced Order of Malta official who distributed condoms

Pope Francis re-instated a disgraced former ranking official of the Order of Malta who was sacked after an investigation revealed he distributed condoms, contrary to Church teaching.

Albrecht von Boeslager, the German former Grand Chancellor, was fired and suspended from the Order by Matthew Festing, head of the Order of Malta, with the blessing of Cardinal Raymond Burke, Patron of the Order of Malta.

Documents uncovered by the Lepanto Institute show that von Boeselager oversaw the distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives while he was Grand Hospitaller, the person in charge of the charitable work of the Order, through its international charity Malteser International. Likewise, documents from the World Health Organization, Three Disease Fund, Save the Children, and UNAIDS all show that Malteser was responsible for distributing and promoting contraception. The distribution and promotion of contraception were part of Malteser’s role as a grantee and partner of these organizations, the documents indicate.

Pope Francis Asks Head of the Order of Malta to Resign

Christopher Lamb, writing for the Catholic weekly newspaper The Tablet, reported on 5 January that Pope Francis has explicitly requested from Festing to retain von Boeselager as its Grand Chancellor.  Lamb then quotes a letter sent to Matthew Festing, written by Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in which he explains that Pope Francis does not wish the dismissal of von Boeselager to take place.

“I wish first of all to reiterate that these measures [the sacking and suspension of Boeselager] must not be attributed to the will of the Pope or his directives,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to Festing on 21 December. “As I expressed to you in my letter of 12 December 2016: ‘as far as the use and diffusion of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness has asked for dialogue as the way to deal with, and resolve, eventual problems. But he has never spoken of sending someone away!’”

Festing has refused to comply to the request of the Pope to re-instate Boeslager, insisting that as a sovereign entity, the Order had sole jurisdiction over this “internal matter”.

The Pope then formed a Vatican commission to “investigate” the Order of Malta following the issue. On January 25, Festing formally submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, after the Pope asked him to resign amid the controversy.

Festing is known for his orthodox and unwavering devotion to the Faith. After the resignation of Festing, Von Boesleger was re-instated by Pope Francis, despite his involvement in distribution of condoms.

The Holy See Essentially Annexed Another Sovereign Entity

Critics are saying that the resignation of Festing, and the intervention of Pope Francis, essentially ended 900 years of legal sovereignty of the Order of Malta. Canon lawyer Dr. Edward Condon said regarding the unprecedented papal intervention: “In terms of international law, the Holy See just annexed another sovereign entity.” Catholic University of America canon law professor Kurt Martens said that this was a “serious violation of international law”, and that the United Nations should “intervene”.

The eleventh-century Knights are Catholicism’s oldest military Order, running charitable initiatives across the globe – they are also treated as a sovereign entity with diplomatic relations with countries across the world. Festing, formerly known by the title of “His Most Eminent Highness”, is a quasi-head of state and treated as an honorary cardinal.

Pope reinstates priest guilty of sex abuse

While the Pope has been brutal in his crackdown on the more “conservative” elements of the Church, he is known to refuse stricter chastening methods when it is about those who promote a laxer or more liberalizing moral agenda.

Pope Francis and his cardinal allies have been known to interfere with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s (CDF) judgments on abuse cases. Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname “Don Mercedes.” He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached the CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

In 2014, however, Pope Francis re-instated Fr. Mauro Inzoli, despite being judged guilty of sexual abuse, called him back into the active priesthood where he remains, and invited him to “a life of humility and prayer.”

Last summer of 2016, however, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses. Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities. Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired.∎

by Jonas Malthusia, Veritas

Vatican doctrine chief: Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a way that refutes previous teachings of popes

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, said that Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a way that contradicts magisterial teachings of previous popes and councils.

In his December 1, 2016 interview with the domradio.de, the radio station of the Diocese of Cologne, Germany, the Vatican’s doctrine chief said:

The binding declarations of the popes, of the Councils of Trent and of the Second Vatican Council and of the Congregation for the Faith on the essential characteristics of marriage and on the precondition for a fruitful reception of the Sacraments in the state of justifying [i.e., sanctifying] grace may not be pushed aside by anyone under the pretext that marriage is, after all, merely an ideal which only can be reached by a very small number of people.

Regarding Communion for “remarried” divorced Catholics, Muller cites a 1994 letter by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which denied the possibility for bishops to permit Communion for the couples in question. The letter  by Cardinal Ratzinger was a response to a 1993 Pastoral Letter of three progressive German bishops (one of them being the then-Bishop Walter Kasper) who were then already pushing for Communion for the “divorced and remarried.”

The indissolubility of marriage must be “the unshaken foundation of teaching and of every pastoral accompaniment,” Müller emphasizes.

The interview was Muller’s first – and so far only – public response to the issue of the four Cardinal’s Dubia addressed to the Pope. Muller said that his Congregation cannot answer the four Cardinals’ Dubia without the express authority of the Pope.

Cardinal Müller stated in the interview that the “Holy Father, at the same time, wishes to help all people whose marriages and families are in a crisis to find a path in accordance with the ever-merciful will of God. We can always assume that the just and merciful God always wants our salvation in whatever need we find ourselves. But it does not stand in the power of the Magisterium to correct God’s Revelation or to make the imitation of Christ comfortable.”

As a follow-up question, the interviewer asked Muller: “Would the bishops’ conferences thus then be asked to help? Francis himself, after all, writes in Amoris Laetitia that not all questions need to be clarified in Rome….”

When answering this pertinent question, the German Cardinal first explains that bishops’ conferences “are merely working groups with certain competences” and, thus, are not of “Divine Law.” He continues:

Only in fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles, to the whole of the revealed Faith, can the bishops of a conference speak, for example, about the pastoral application of Amoris Laetitia. Otherwise, the Church would disintegrate into national churches and, in the end, would atomize. The Sacrament of Marriage, however, is in Korea just as valid as it is in Germany.

When asked whether the individual bishop may make his own independent decision as a response to Amoris Laetitia, Muller responded that  “Nor can the individual bishops do whatever they want according to their own private taste. They are servants, not masters of the Faith.”

Muller emphasized that marriage is not an “ideal” to which we aspire to, but rather a Sacrament founded by God Himself:

Marriage is in truth not a wishful image produced by ourselves, but, rather, a Sacrament, that is to say a reality founded by God Himself. It is an expression of the Mercy of the Creator and of the Redeemer. God does not put excessive demands upon us so that he then can show His Mercy toward us in the face of our own failure. With the help of Grace, we are able to fulfill the Commandments – among them the Sixth Commandment – and thus find peace of heart in a life in accordance with God’s will.

Pope Francis: God was “unjust with His Son, He sent Him to the Cross”

Last December 14, in an audience in the Paul VI hall with patients and staff of Rome’s Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Pope Francis suggested that God “was unjust with his son”, because “he sent him to the cross.”

The controversial comments were an answer to a question put to him by Valentina Vanzi, a nurse in multi-speciality paediatrics, who asked why children suffer. The Pope replied:

I have no answer to this question. Nor has Jesus given an answer to these words. There is no answer to this question, all we can do is look at the crucifix and let it give us the answer”. The Pope added: “is God unjust? He was unjust with his son, he sent him to the cross, if we follow this logic then we have to say this. But it is our human existence, our flesh, that suffers in that child and when one suffers, people do not speak, they weep and pray in silence.

The commentary of the Pope contradicts with the Church’s understanding of Jesus’ self-giving act on the Cross.  God is not “unjust” for sending His Son to the Cross – to the contrary, the Church teaches that one of the attributes of God is that He is Just.

Likewise, the Church teaches that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life out of love for us – His dying on the cross was not a result of an unjust decision by the Father, but rather an expression of His love for us.   Our Blessed Lord said that as the Good Shepherd, he voluntarily lays down his life for the sheep. No one takes His life from Him, He lays it down for His sheep of His own accord.  John 10: 14-18:

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

Finally, we also recall here St. Paul in Philippians chapter 2: 5-11:

For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Why is the Pope saying things that seemingly contradict established Church teachings?  It will be helpful to study at this point numerous prophecies made by saints and reputable modern-day prophets who have foretold of a time (right before the Second Coming of Christ) where there will be a great Apostasy, or loss of Faith, in the Church, brought about by the “False Prophet” of the Book of Revelation.  Below are some useful links to read in this regard:

Pope Francis signs document that pledges to work with Lutherans for intercommunion

At the conclusion of a historic ecumenical celebration in Lund, Sweden last October 31, Pope Francis and the general-secretary of the world’s Lutheran churches agreed to work together to remove the obstacles to full unity between their Churches, leading eventually to a “shared Eucharist.”

The statement was signed by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan, who is president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which was founded in Lund in 1947.  They made the commitment in a joint statement signed before a congregation of Catholic and Lutheran leaders at the conclusion of a joint service in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

“Many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity,” they noted. “We experience the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table,” they said, adding: “We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ.”

“We long for this wound in the Body of Christ to be healed,” they continued. “This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavors, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue.”

As well as pledging to work towards intercommunion, the leaders prayed that Catholics and Lutherans will be able to witness together to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and work for justice and peace.

“We urge Lutherans and Catholics to work together to welcome the stranger, to come to the aid of those forced to flee because of war and persecution, and to defend the rights of refugees and those who seek asylum,” they said, adding that their “joint service” must also extend to God’s creation.

“We recognize the right of future generations to enjoy God’s world in all its potential and beauty,” they continued. “We pray for a change of hearts and minds that leads to a loving and responsible way to care for creation.”

The Pope and Lutheran leader ended by calling on their respective parishes and communities to be “bold and creative, joyful and hopeful in their commitment to continue the great journey ahead of us.”

They concluded: “Rooted in Christ and witnessing to him, we renew our determination to be faithful heralds of God’s boundless love for all humanity.” ∎