To read the pertinent excerpts of the Müller interview is to be reminded of a time when Rome spoke with absolute certitude about truth and error, right and wrong—meaning throughout her history until the disaster some still dare to call “the renewal of Vatican II” descended upon the Church like a plague of locusts.
With demagogic calls for a false “mercy” toward the divorced and “remarried” now dinning in our ears, one can only rejoice to read these truly “profound and beautiful” words of Müller’s on what mercy really means:
A simple “adaptation” of the reality of marriage to the expectations of the world does not bear any fruit, but rather turns out to be counterproductive: the Church cannot respond to the challenges of the modern world with a pragmatic adaptation. In opposing an easy pragmatic adaptation, we are called to choose the prophetic audacity of martyrdom. With this we can bear witness to the Gospel of the holiness of marriage. A lukewarm prophet, through an adjustment to the spirit of the time, would be seeking his own salvation, not the salvation that only God can give.
And consider this ringing defense of Tradition against innovation, which could have been written by Marcel Lefebvre himself:
Not even an ecumenical council can change the doctrine of the Church, because its founder, Jesus Christ, has entrusted the faithful custody of his teachings and his doctrine to the apostles and their successors. We have a well-developed and structured doctrine on marriage, based on the word of Jesus, which must be offered in its integrity. The absolute indissolubility of a valid marriage is not a mere doctrine, but rather a divine dogma that has been defined by the Church. In the face of the de facto rupture of a valid marriage, another civil “marriage” is not admissible.
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Müller even appeared to take aim at Pope’s Francis’s stupefying pronouncement regarding Holy Matrimony in the context of his earlier praise for Kasper’s presentation at the Consistory only days before: “when this love fails—because many times it fails—we have to feel the pain of the failure, [we must] accompany those people who have had this failure in their love. Do not condemn. Walk with them—and don’t practice casuistry on their situation.” Consider the following question and answer from the Müller interview:
Q: There is talk of the possibility of allowing spouses to “start life over again.” It has also been said that love between Christian spouses can “die.” Can a Christian really use this formula? Is it possible for the love between two persons united by the sacrament of marriage to die?
A: These theories are radically mistaken. One cannot declare a marriage to be extinct on the pretext that the love between the spouses is “dead.” The indissolubility of marriage does not depend on human sentiments, whether permanent or transitory. This property of marriage is intended by God himself. The Lord is involved in marriage between man and woman, which is why the bond exists and has its origin in God. This is the difference.
Müller also demolished the phony patristic scholarship of Kasper’s “beautiful and profound” attempt to subvert marriage and the Church herself:
A: In patristics as a whole one can certainly find different interpretations or adaptations to concrete life, nonetheless there is no testimony of the Fathers oriented toward peacefully accepting a second marriage when the first spouse is still alive.
Of course, in the Christian East a certain confusion took place between the civil legislation of the emperor and the laws of the Church, which produced a different practice that in certain cases amounted to the admission of divorce. But under the leadership of the pope the Catholic Church over the centuries developed another tradition, incorporated into the current code of canon law and into the rest of ecclesiastical regulation, that is clearly contrary to any attempt to secularize marriage. The same thing happened in various Christian communities in the East.
I have sometimes noticed how certain precise citations of the Fathers are isolated and taken out of context in order to support the possibility of divorce and remarriage. I do not believe that it is correct from the methodological point of view to isolate a text, take it out of context, turn it into an isolated citation, detach it from the overall picture of the tradition. The whole theological and magisterial tradition must be interpreted in the light of the Gospel, and in reference to marriage we find some absolutely clear words from Jesus himself. I do not believe that it is possible to give an interpretation different from the one that has been presented by the tradition and magisterium of the Church without being unfaithful to the revealed Word.
Coming as they do from a German cardinal who had a reputation for extreme theological liberalism, Cardinal Müller’s courageous declarations remind us that we are not losing our minds, that “the Francis effect” is a mere devilish distraction from the unchanging truths of our religion, revealed to us by a God who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and that, when all is said and done, the Church is preserved from defection by the Holy Ghost in keeping with the promises of Christ. Not even an off-the-cuff papacy can make void those promises.
May God bless Cardinal Müller. And may the Pope be guided by his sound teaching, despite reported efforts to limit Müller’s participation in the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family—a completely unnecessary affair that, like the completely unnecessary Second Vatican Council, threatens to become the epicenter of a neo-Modernist earthquake.