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February 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An international group of Catholic clergy and laity are grateful to Cardinal Gerhard Müller for issuing his Manifesto of Faith restating the essential truths of the Catholic faith at a time of increasing doctrinal and moral confusion.
Upon the invitation of LifeSiteNews, many of them wrote short statements of gratitude for the German cardinal, further commenting on their own view of the Church’s situation. Many of our commentators say that they have signed the LifeSite petition thanking Cardinal Müller for his witness of faith. Some of the priests say that they are grateful for this affirmation of the faith because they see increasing confusion among the faithful.
For example, Father Guido Rodheudt from Germany says, “I have signed the Manifesto of Faith immediately and without ceremony, because it serves as an orientation for the faithful that has been currently lost.”
Father Frank Unterhalt, also from Germany, states, “So to speak in continuation of your excellent service as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, you present the most important gift, the truth, which is Jesus Christ, to the people in our times of distress.”
Prominent British scholar Father Aidan Nichols is also grateful to Cardinal Müller and points to the “near-total silence of the global episcopate in the face of so many doctrinally compromising statements on the part of the Petrine office-holder” which “is altogether inexplicable.” Another British priest, Father Anthony Pillari, thanks the German cardinal for his witness “in our difficult times, when proclaiming the full truth is definitely ‘out of season’ and may lead to much suffering and persecution for the pastor who dares be faithful to St. Paul's admonition.”
German priest and theologian Professor Hubert Windisch explains that the Müller Manifesto is especially important in light of the many “thieves and robbers” (John 10) among the shepherds today who relativize the truth that Jesus Christ is “the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to My Father except through Me.”
Father John Hunwicke, from England, expresses his hope that the “sickly and obsequious Papal Personality Cult” may soon end.
“I think that one of the most important elements in the Manifesto is that it does not mention the Holy Father or even the Petrine Ministry,” he says. “Perhaps it will subsequently be seen as the healthy beginning of a pulling back from the sickly and obsequious Papal Personality Cult of the last century and a half with its mawkish and sentimental attachment to the figure of the Roman Bishop.”
A monk who wishes to remain anonymous said he hopes that the Church’s current “obsession with being relevant to the world that has characterized the Church since Vatican II [will] be ended” and wishes the Church to return to Christ’s call to “Go out and make disciples of ALL nations.”
Father Anthony Manupella expresses his gratitude and shows the confusion of the faithful: “At a time when both priests and faithful feel like we don’t have a leader in the Pope who speaks clearly and convincingly regarding the doctrine of our faith, on behalf of my people and myself, I wish to thank you for your bold speaking out for all of us who are faithful to the truths of our Holy Faith.”
U.S. Deacon Eugene McGuirk thanks Cardinal Müller “for handing on the Truth and Tradition of the Church.” He adds, after quoting the Gospels, “note that Jesus told the apostles that the Father had given Him ‘All power,’ not power shared with other so called religions.”
Marco Tosatti, the well-known Vatican specialist, is grateful to Cardinal Müller for stating essential truths of the faith and says that “the simple fact [of stating] them here, and now, when all over the Church seems to pass a great cloud of confusion and incertitude, especially in the moral field…is priceless.” A German journalist, Mathias von Gersdorff, speaks about the “confusion [that] is spreading in a disconcerting manner” which “puts eternal life in danger!”
Moreover, among the commentators there are several formidable lay women. Christine de Marcellus de Vollmer of Venezuela calls the German cardinal “a véritable apostle and martyr, in the tradition of The Twelve, who ‘left everything’ in order to be fishers of men and take the Truth to all, without fearing the cost.” Other female commentators are Gabriele Kuby – who thinks that this Müller Manifesto “may be of historic relevance” – Leila Marie Lawler, Donna Bethell, and Beverly Stevens. Mrs. Bethell points out that it is exactly “the lack of catechesis over the last 50 years that has made so many Catholics vulnerable to misstatements and misrepresentations about Catholicism.”
Professor Josef Seifert, the prominent philosopher and critic of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia, also weighs in.
Professor Seifert praises Cardinal Müller’s Manifesto, saying that it “fulfills in an exemplary manner the announcement of Pope Francis that he wants to exercise his Petrine Magisterium not in a solitary way, but in communion with bishops and Cardinals. For also the Pope, except when he pronounces a dogma, is fallible.” He points to Pope Francis’ recent declaration that different religions are willed by God and thinks that it should receive the response of all Catholic cardinals since such a statement “challenges the very foundations of Biblical and Catholic Faith.”
In this light, says Seifert, “we have to be most grateful to Cardinal Müller that he fulfilled a long announced intention of Cardinal Burke and of the ‘Dubia Cardinals’ with his Manifesto. This action is no way an act of disobedience or defiance of the Pope, but carries out the holy duty of Bishops and Cardinals to pronounce the truth of the Gospel importune-opportune and to assist the Pope, who is not the master but the servant of Church teaching, in his calling to teach the truth of the Catholic Faith.”
LifeSiteNews publishes the full statements of support for Cardinal Müller below.
Prof. em. Dr. Hubert Windisch, Germany
According to the Word of Jesus in John 10, there exist among the shepherds at all times of the Church thieves, robbers, and unpaid servants who exploit the sheep of His flock, disperse them and lead them into error. These are, based on a book title by Philip F. Lawler, lost shepherds who do not follow anymore the Good Shepherd and who relativize His Word in John 14:6, where Jesus says: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to My Father except through Me.” On this background, the importance of the Manifest of Cardinal Müller cannot be overstated. Through him, we can hear St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles 4: 11-12: “This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.”
Father Aidan Nichols, England
Cardinal Mueller's declaration comes none too soon for those who have spent a lifetime seeking to appreciate Catholic teaching and to explain it for other Christians. The near-total silence of the global episcopate in the face of so many doctrinally compromising statements on the part of the Petrine office-holder is altogether inexplicable, given Roman Catholic claims.
Dr. Guido Rodheudt, parish priest of St. Gertrud, Herzogenrath, Diocese Aachen, Germany, speaker of the Network of Catholic priests (Netzwerk katholischer Priester)
I have signed the Manifesto of Faith immediately and without ceremony, because it serves as an orientation for the faithful that has been currently lost. The confusion concerning matters of the Faith stems today from the unclear statements from the shepherds of the Church and from the wrong teaching of many theologians, further circulated by a media jungle of half-truths. In this situation, Cardinal Müller has raised the shepherd's staff and has given the yearned-for instruction. It is not new, but is grounded in the Church's Catechism. And since the truth after all cannot be subject to any historical change, is the Manifesto of Faith a long-yearned-for orientation aid. I will make use of it in my parish; and in my own work to show those who are entrusted to me the way of Christ – Who is, Who was, and Who will come again – I feel strongly supported by the cardinal's Apostolic office.
I know that I am united here with many fellow priests who for a long time now yearn for an end of the contradictory proclamations in the Church – which stand in the way of a much-needed new evangelization – so that the life realities of today's people will be enriched by the Truth of Christ, instead of replacing the truth with the life realities.
Father Frank Unterhalt, speaker of Communio veritatis, Germany
Your Eminence, dear Cardinal Müller,
It is my special wish to thank you from my heart for your precious manifesto of Faith! You are a true shepherd, an excellent theologian, and a courageous witness. So to speak in continuation of your excellent service as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, you present the most important gift, the truth, which is Jesus Christ, to the people in our times of distress. Our whole priestly community feels a very deep bond with you and prays for God's blessing for your apostolate.
Father Anthony Pillari, England
May God bless Cardinal Müller for bearing courageous witness to the truth, for his willingness to “be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in doctrine” (2 Tim 4:2). In our difficult times, when proclaiming the full truth is definitely “out of season” and may lead to much suffering and persecution for the pastor who dares be faithful to St. Paul's admonition, I am extremely grateful for the Cardinal's witness. May we, in turn, have the courage to be “urgent in season and out of season”!
Fr. John Hunwicke, England
I think that one of the most important elements in the Manifesto is that it does not mention the Holy Father or even the Petrine Ministry. Perhaps it will subsequently be seen as the healthy beginning of a pulling back from the sickly and obsequious Papal Personality Cult of the last century and a half with its mawkish and sentimental attachment to the figure of the Roman Bishop. This must have sound ecumenical consequences, because the papolatry cultivated particularly (but not exclusively) in this pontificate, in combination with a dictatorial assumption of unbridled personal power to contradict the Great Tradition, was never likely to commend itself to Separated Brethren.
It also seems to me to point towards the analysis which Blessed John Henry Newman offered of the Arian Crisis; he applied the term 'Suspense of the Teaching Office' to the phenomenon of Popes, Councils, and Bishops either teaching heresy or being irresponsibly cautious in the face of rampant heresy. It is not, he explained, that they lose any Magisterial powers; but that, historically and objectively, they failed to exercise them for some sixty years.
Father Anthony J. Manuppella, United States
At a time when both priests and faithful feel like we don’t have a leader in the Pope who speaks clearly and convincingly regarding the doctrine of our faith, on behalf of my people and myself, I wish to thank you for your bold speaking out for all of us who are faithful to the truths of our Holy Faith. Thank you so much Your Eminence. Rest assured of my prayers and remembrances in my Holy Mass daily.
Deacon Eugene McGuirk, United States
Dear Cardinal Mueller,
Thank you for handing on the Truth and Tradition of the Church. After curing the man born lame, St. Peter spoke directly to the Jewish authorities, and said, “Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by Him this man standeth here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)
St. Peter was following the great commission give to the Apostles at the end of the Gospel of Matthew to convert the whole world. “And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matt. 28:17-20)
Note that Jesus told the apostles that the Father had given Him “All power,” not power shared with other so called religions. Jesus made this very clear just before His Ascension at the end of St. Mark’s Gospel. He commanded the Apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16).
He who does not believe and follow Christ through His Catholic Church will not be saved.
Anonymous monk, United States
Blessings upon Cardinal Müller for calling the Church back to her Lord and Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ: the Incarnate Son of God and the ONLY Way, Truth, and Life. Through his efforts and the support of faithful Catholics, may this OBSESSION WITH BEING RELEVANT TO THE WORLD that has characterized the Church since Vatican II be ended. May the Church return to Our Lord's Great Commission: “Go out and make disciples of ALL nations.” This is not “solemn nonsense” but the very essence of the Gospel.
Professor Josef Seifert
The most opportune Manifesto of Faith of Cardinal Müller fulfills in an exemplary manner the announcement of Pope Francis that he wants to exercise his Petrine Magisterium not in a solitary way, but in communion with bishops and Cardinals. For also the Pope, except when he pronounces a dogma, is fallible.
The recent declaration of Pope Francis, with Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, on universal brotherhood, according to which the plurality of religions corresponds to the wise will of God, challenges the very foundations of Biblical and Catholic Faith. One would wish that the entire body of Cardinals and bishops raise their voices, together with Cardinal Müller, in order to secure that the documents issued by the supreme Magisterium of the Church are faithful to Holy Scripture, to the will of God, and to the perennial teachings of the Church.
Therefore, we have to be most grateful to Cardinal Müller that he fulfilled a long announced intention of Cardinal Burke and of the “Dubia Cardinals” with his Manifesto. This action is no way an act of disobedience or defiance of the Pope, but carries out the holy duty of Bishops and Cardinals to pronounce the truth of the Gospel importune-opportune and to assist the Pope, who is not the master but the servant of Church teaching, in his calling to teach the truth of the Catholic Faith.
The Catholic Faith certainly demands from any Pope that he retract any teaching or utterance that is not in keeping with the perennial depositum fidei. In this way, Cardinals and bishops have contributed in the past to the Magisterium. Pope John XXII revoked on his deathbed a heretical teaching on “separated souls” that he had published in a document, and his successor declared it to have been a heresy. Pope Honorius I was even stricken from the list of valid Popes.
However, given Pope Francis's own communal understanding of the Petrine office, we may hope that he will reconfirm Catholic doctrine on all the points Cardinal Müller covers in his Manifesto, regarding which the Pope’s statements have produced doubts and confusion, such as on marriage and “remarriage”, the existence of always evil acts (the “intrinsece malum“), purgatory and hell, the last judgment, and many others. It would be most wonderful to see a rebirth of a close collaboration between Pope, Cardinals and bishops for the sole end of pronouncing and teaching the life-giving truth in its whole splendor.
Gabriele Kuby, Germany
Thank you, Cardinal Müller, for proclaiming the truth of the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church. We, who hold on to the depositum fidei, are mostly like sheep without a shepherd. In your Manifesto I hear the voice of the shepherd, and I am very thankful for it.
It may be of historic relevance.
The Hon. Donna F. Bethell, J.D., USA
Cardinal Müller has done a great service to the Church in calling our attention to several perennial truths of the Faith. Some might think that the Catechism is old news, but it bears repeating because it is precisely the lack of catechesis over the last 50 years that has made so many Catholics vulnerable to misstatements and misrepresentations about Catholicism. Through no fault of their own, they have not developed the sensus fidei fidelium that they should have as part of the theological virtue of Faith. When the shepherds of the Church have failed in the fundamental duty to catechize, it difficult if not impossible for the laity to instruct or correct convincingly. Thank you, Cardinal Müller, and may your brother Cardinals, Bishops, and priests follow your example and be blessed and protected when they do.
Marco Tosatti, Italy
I really think that we must be grateful to Cardinal Müller for his document. Even though you might say that what he says is nothing new, that the truths he expresses so clearly are all included in the Catechism, the simple fact to state them here, and now, when all over the Church seems to pass a great cloud of confusion and incertitude, especially in the moral field, it is priceless. Why do they seem to surprise so many people, and to be of scandal to others? A great Italian journalist once said: nothing seems more new and original than printed-paper. And nothing, in these times, seems more revolutionary than a reminder of the Christian Truth.
Christine Vollmer (Alive to the World – Building Character for the Next Generation), Venezuela
Your Eminence, I wish to thank you, most humbly and gratefully, for your courage in defending our Faith and the Doctrine of our Holy Church. It is vital in this time of confusion and ambiguity under the onslaught of a generalized denial of sacrifice of any kind.
You are a véritable apostle and martyr, in the tradition of The Twelve, who ‘left everything’ in order to be fishers of men and take the Truth to all, without fearing the cost.
May our Lord Jesus uphold your valor and protect you always, especially against discouragement. The whole world is hearing you and grateful for your guiding light. The Truth will triumph soon.
May Our Lady guide you and the Holy Spirit inspire and strengthen yet more your resolve and your courage.
Leila Marie Lawler, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Writer, United States
Dear Cardinal Müller,
The Church calls her bishops to fulfill their consecration to teach, protect, and govern; her need has become acute. The faithful suffer when their bishops weaken. In this time of crisis we are called to purgation, following the pattern we see in creation and in the liturgy: a time of acknowledging that we have strayed and begging for forgiveness. Only on this path can we find the illumination of Truth and unity with God, as the Church Fathers have taught, and on the bishops falls the duty to lead.
With much gratitude for your Manifesto and with many prayers through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles,
I am yours,
Leila Marie Lawler
Mathias v. Gersdorff (Germany)
The right thing at the right time: it is commendable that Cardinal Müller has turned, with his manifesto, to the public at a time, in which the confusion is spreading in a disconcerting manner. And this confusion puts eternal life in danger! We hope that this call will be followed by others who will bring the Catholic faith and the Magisterium to shine again across all peoples.
Beverly Stevens, United States
Cardinal Müller has given the Catholic people hope. Hope that our Faith will not be substantially destroyed by the craven obsession of the Vatican with accommodation to the world, supported by the silence if not collusion of most prelates. He has given us hope that we still have fearless leadership in our hierarchy. I am reminded of the Lion of Munster, who, while most of his brother German bishops cowered in the face of the Nazi killing machine, boldly proclaimed the truth of the Faith during those dark times.