Cardinal says Catholics ‘can and should’ disagree with Pope’s ‘opinion’ on gay civil unions
October 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in his first reaction to the new papal interview which endorses civil unions of same-sex couples, states that when there is a conflict between the words of a Pope and the Words of God, one has to choose God. He reminds us of St. Paul who had to withstand St. Peter, the first Pope, when the latter was teaching error. The German cardinal also tells Catholics that in such a case where the Pope does not teach the Word of God, but his “purely private” opinion, they “should freely contradict” him.
Finally, Cardinal Müller states that Pope Francis, “instead of meeting with people who feel confirmed by him in their attitude and wrong thinking and who show off to the world with their picture with the Pope, [should] study Daniel Mattson's book and invite him to a conversation. He is an American who has found the way out of the disgracefulness of sexual promiscuity and into a life of abstinence in the ‘freedom and glory of the children of God’ (Rom 8:21).”
In a new film that will premiere in North America Sunday but premiered in Rome yesterday, Pope Francis has contradicted Catholic Church teaching by calling for homosexual civil unions to be legalized. Speaking of homosexual civil unions, he said, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
Cardinal Müller makes it clear that this new papal statement has as its effect that “Catholics are irritated” and the “enemies of the Church feel confirmed by the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” For example, the General Secretary of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has praised Pope Francis for his new words for their focus on “non-discrimination” with regard to “sexual orientation.” Therefore, the new papal “decision,” he continued, “is extremely welcome.”
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, one of the four dubia cardinals, also published today a statement and critique of the Pope's new words. He writes about the papal endorsement of same-sex unions that “such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and of the recent Magisterium by which the Church guards, protects and interprets the whole deposit of faith contained in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”
Finally, Bishop Marian Eleganti, of Chur, Switzerland, wrote to LifeSiteNews his own assessment of the situation. He states that “the papal interviews have become inflationary,” but that, “instead of teaching the faith of the Church, namely what has been and is to be believed everywhere, always and by everyone (Vincent de Lérins), they give us personal views that are neither indisputable nor infallible.” Such papal words, he concludes, are in contradiction with the Church's catechism: “The Church cannot encourage forms of life sanctioned by civil law that contradict her own catechism. Nor can the latter be changed in one fell swoop.”
Below is the full statement by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller:
I do not know the exact wording of the interview statement, which is ambiguous as so often. But the effect is fatal. The Catholic faithful are irritated, the enemies of the Church feel confirmed by the Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom they reject as the Son of God. Instead of using theological and philosophical arguments of reason, they appeal to feelings, thus checkmating the rationality of faith with sentimentality. But faith does not depend on a political option in the right or left spectrum or an ideological position between conservatism or progressivism, but only on the Truth that God Himself is in His Essence and in the Word of His historical Revelation.
The Christian believes in God as the first truth and recognizes the Pope and the bishops as successors of St. Peter and the other Apostles. Loyalty to the Pope is something different from an idolatrous papolatry similar to the principle according to which the leader or the party is always right. Where there is tension between the plain and obvious Word of God and the infallible interpretation on the one hand and private expressions of opinion even by the highest church authorities on the other, the principle always applies: in dubio pro DEO [When in doubt, be in favor of God].
The Magisterium serves the Word of God and never stands above Revelation. This is in any case the valid teaching of the Church on the relationship of the Revelation of God in Christ to the Magisterium which is subordinate to it.
The present statement [of Pope Francis] is a purely private expression of opinion, which every Catholic can and should freely contradict. John Henry Newman (1801-1890), the famous Cardinal and one of the greatest teachers of the Church in modern times, has said that even worse than financial corruption in Church organizations and the moral corruption of clergy and leading laymen is corruption in matters of revealed doctrine.
This was and is the source of all the abuses and scandals in church history. What is ecclesial candor or the freedom of a Christian man? Between Pope and bishops – especially the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church – the same relationship exists analogously as between Peter and the other Apostles. St. Paul confronted St. Peter because the latter had deviated from the “truth of the Gospel” (Gal 2:14) through ambiguous behavior and speech. St. Hieronymus, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas, in their interpretation of the Epistle to the Galatians, take St. Paul's side in terms of content and praise St. Peter for his humility in allowing himself to be rebuked by him.
In the Catholic Church, the Word of God is valid – with regard to the complementarity of the sexes, to marriage and family – and this in the definitive interpretation in the person and mission of Christ, His Son, speaking to the Pharisees – then and now: “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?” (Mt 19:4). There is no right to marriage and family unless a man and a woman, according to their God-created nature, freely say to one another in conscience and in the sight of God: Only you and forever – until death do us part.
Outside of legitimate marriage, according to God's Will, every sexual union is objectively a grave sin, regardless of the subjective guilt that only God knows and to whose forgiveness we can entrust ourselves always and at every moment. But we must not frivolously sin, taking the mercy of God for granted and, instead of letting ourselves be justified by His merciful judgment, we must not see ourselves confirmed in a sinful act by the applause of dechristianized contemporaries.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes a clear distinction between pastoral care and personal attention to persons with a inclination towards persons of the same sex and the objective evaluation of homosexual acts or even heterosexual acts outside marriage which are contrary to God's Commandment. “Whoever says that he remains in Him must also lead a life as HE led it.” (1 John 2:6). Keeping the Commandments of God is an expression of love for Him and the recognition of their healing effect on man.
The Pope should, instead of meeting with people who feel confirmed by him in their attitude and wrong thinking and who show off to the world with their picture with the Pope, study Daniel Mattson's book and invite him to a conversation. He is an American who has found the way out of the disgracefulness of sexual promiscuity and into a life of abstinence in the “freedom and glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:21).