Müller and the Ancient Mass: the Pope Belittles the Bishops and Damages Pastoral Care.
02/24/2023 at 4:56 PM Posted by Kevin Edward White
By Marco Tosatti, Stilum Curiae, February 24, 2023
The recent rescript approved by Francis and the Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Roche, continues to arouse reactions.
The new document, which reinforces the motu proprio Traditinis custodes, establishes that the use of a parish church or the erection of a personal parish for the celebration of the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missale Romanum and the granting of the license to priests ordained after the publication of the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes to celebrate according to the Missale Romanum of 1962, will be the responsibility of Rome.
InfoVaticana contacted Cardinal Müller to find out his opinion on this decision by the Pope and Cardinal Roche. The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied that “Pope Benedict XVI has given the papacy a great reputation, even among agnostics far from the Church (Paolo Flores D’Arcais, Jürgen Habermas, Piergiorgio Odifreddi) thanks to his high theological competence and intellectual honesty”.
Alluding to Benedict, Müller argues that “it was not necessary for him to insist on formal obedience in an authoritarian way, because even the obedience of faith to God, which is decisive for salvation, does not require blind servility, but a devotion to God Trinity with reason and free will, that is, an obesequium rationabile (Vatican II, Your word 5)”.
On the other hand, the German cardinal states that “when it comes to obedience to ecclesiastical authority, one must distinguish between religious obedience, which refers to the authoritative submission of revealed faith, and willingness to willingly follow the Pope and the bishops even concerning the discipline of ecclesiastical organization and the order of the liturgy”. “We distinguish between the substance of the sacraments, over which the Pope and the bishops have no power of disposition, and the liturgical rite, which has historically developed into the various legitimate rites within the single Catholic Church”, adds the cardinal.
Müller assures that “Pope Benedict overcame the tensions that had arisen in a theologically competent and pastorally sensitive way, distinguishing between the ordinary and extraordinary form of the Latin rite”. Cardinal Müller describes this decision as a “brutal intolerance” against those who prefer the traditional Mass. He adds that it is a “pastorally counterproductive” decision and “a frightening example of theological incompetence in distinguishing between the unavailable substance of the sacrament and the richness of the forms of liturgical rites”.
Cardinal Müller describes this decision as a “brutal intolerance” against those who prefer the traditional Mass. He adds that it is a “pastorally counterproductive” decision and “a frightening example of theological incompetence in distinguishing between the unavailable substance of the sacrament and the richness of the forms of liturgical rites”.
In this sense, Cardinal Müller does not hesitate to underline that this new writing “degrades bishops or local ordinaries of secondary rank to signatories of petitions to the highest authority (that is, the bureaucracy of the Dicastery for Worship).” The German cardinal underlines that this decision “damages the pastoral responsibility of the episcopate” and “obscures the true meaning of the papacy, which is to represent and realize the unity of the Church in the truth of the faith and in sacramental communion”.
Finally, Müller regrets that “recognition of papal authority is not promoted, but weakened in the long run”, as it can give the impression of a kind of autocratic leadership.