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‘False compromise’ for Vatican to allow pro-homosexual priest to lead university: Cardinal Müller

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October 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller has given an interview to a diocesan news website, commenting on the possible solution of the ongoing Wucherpfennig conflict in Frankfurt am Main, according to which the rector of the Jesuit-run post-graduate school would not be asked after all publicly to recant his pro-homosexual remarks. The German cardinal calls such a solution “a false compromise,” adding that “in recent times, such false compromises which gravely damage the Church are often being made.”

As LifeSiteNews reported, the Vatican had this summer denied Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, S.J., a “Nihil obstat” (“nothing stands in the way”) that would allow him to be again, after two previous terms, the rector of St. Georgen Post-Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt. The reason for this Vatican decision had been that Wucherpfennig had made, in 2016, some remarks questioning the Church's teaching on homosexuality and the exclusivity of the male priesthood. First, he was asked by the Vatican to recant these statements in public. However, as a new report shows, he might now be allowed, after all, to remain in his position without making any such recantation, with his superior general, Father Arturo Sosa, vouching for his orthodoxy.

Speaking to the website of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Domradio, Cardinal Müller comments on this new possible solution, saying that “I fear it would be again a false compromise.” “The Jesuit Order cannot vouch for orthodoxy,” he continues, “Wucherpfennig is not the serf of the Jesuit Order, but a personality who is responsible for himself. In this light, he himself has to take responsibility for his teaching.”

Cardinal Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), sees that such false compromises are now often taking place in the Church: “But in recent times, such false compromises which gravely damage the Church are often being made,” he says. As an example, the cardinal refers to the novel rule in Germany of allowing Communion for some Protestant spouses of Catholics: “For example, also in the question of the reception of Holy Communion by persons who are not fully members of the Catholic Church and who are not in the state of Grace. First, there came a very clear statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was in full accordance with the Church's teaching. And then there came again such a false compromise so that then theologically uninformed people had the idea that a bishop could make here decisions according to his own whim. But a bishop can only make decisions within the framework of Catholic doctrine. It is here about the application of the Catholic doctrine to individual situations.”

The German prelate refers here to the German bishops' own new guidelines permitting Protestant spouses of Catholics, in individual cases, to receive Holy Communion on a regular basis, without a prior conversion to the Catholic Faith. The CDF first had intervened and told the German bishops not to publish such a document, but then relented after Pope Francis had met with Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the President of the German Bishops' Conference, and approved of its publication, in spite of its controversial content.
To return to the Wucherpfennig case, where doctrinal orthodoxy once more now seems to be ignored: Cardinal Müller makes it clear that “when someone works in the field of Catholic education and has a leading position at a university, he is requested to accept the entire Catholic Faith as basis of his academic exegesis.” That is the reason for the procedure of the declaration of the “Nihil obstat,” he adds. While one wishes to help people in their concrete situations in life, it is important “clearly to present the teaching which is based on the natural law and the revealed Faith. There exists a clear anthropology, a Christian view of man, and part of it is the duality of man and woman.”

Thus, part of the Church's teaching is that a man and a woman leave their families and “become one flesh,” explains the prelate. “This fundamental reality of marriage is only possible for one man and one woman. Persons of the same sex cannot enter a marriage.”

Cardinal Müller calls it a “fraudulent label and a serious violation of their competences” when “states speak of a same-sex marriage. Because states cannot define human nature. They can regulate the temporal matters of society, but they cannot determine the moral law.”

With regard to the fact that already many states have implemented such laws permitting same-sex “marriages,” the cardinal comments that “we do not need to change our position because it is the right one. We do not need to accept a false position. What marriage is, cannot be defined by the state, because it is a reality outside of the state,” the prelate adds. These are competencies “that are God's,” and not the state's. “And that is why the role of the Church has to be here a critical and prophetic one, not one that adapts itself in a weak manner.”

The Church “cannot adapt her sexual morality to the purported modern [morality],” explains Müller. It is “clearly formulated in the Catholic Church's Catechism” and in other documents of the Church's Magisterium. To call the Church's sexual morality medieval, he adds, is “scientifically and historically unfounded and in reality actually ridiculous."

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.