ROME, October 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller has rebuked the secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference for claiming that the Protestant Reformation was an “event of the Holy Spirit.”
It is “unacceptable to assert that Luther's reform ‘was an event of the Holy Spirit,’” wrote Cardinal Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a recent article published in the Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. (LifeSite provides a full English translation of the cardinal's article here.)
“On the contrary, it was against the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit helps the Church to maintain her continuity through the Church’s magisterium, above all in the service of the Petrine ministry: on Peter has Jesus founded His Church (Mt 16:18), which is 'the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15),” the cardinal wrote.
“The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself,” added Müller.
Müller’s rebuke was directed to a verbatim quote of the secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, who spoke on the topic October 19 at the Pontifical University of the Lateran.
During his address on the topic of “the spirituality of the Reformation in ecclesial practice,” Galantino reportedly said, “The Reformation was, is, and will be in the future, an event of the Spirit,” and “The Reformation carried out by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit,” according to various Italian media.
“The Reformation corresponds to the truth expressed in the saying ‘Ecclesia semper reformanda,’” Galantino is quoted as saying. “It was the same Luther who did not make himself the cause of the Reformation, writing: ‘while I was sleeping, God was reforming the Church.'”
“Even today, the Church has need of a reformation,” said Galantino. “And even today only God can do it.”
Bishop Nunzio Galantino was appointed to the position of General Secretary of the episcopal conference in 2015 by Pope Francis himself, after having established a record of attitudes hostile to Catholic doctrine on life and family.
“My wish for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality,” Galantino said in 2014, according to Crux. He also appeared to endorse communion for adulterous second “marriages” prior to that year’s Synod of Bishops, holding that “the burden of exclusion from the sacraments is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination.”
In 2015 Galantino sought to undermine the Family Day protests against the creation of homosexual “marriage” in the country, according to reports in the Italian media.
Galantino’s recent remarks on Luther were made during an “international conference” on the Protestant Reformation held by the faculty of theology at the Pontifical Lateran University from October 18-19. The conference, called “Passion for God,” claimed to present the result of recent research into the Reformation by Biblical scholars, historians, and Catholic theologians. It was financed and supported by the National Service for the Superior Studies of Theology and Religious Sciences of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
The favorable remarks by Galantino regarding Luther and the Reformation are consonant with recent acts and statements made by Pope Francis and other officials of the Holy See expressing affinity for Luther’s work to “reform” Christianity, statements that have troubled the Catholic faithful.
In October 2016, Pope Francis traveled to Lund, Sweden, to meet with Lutherans and to launch a year-long commemoration of the anniversary of the launch of the Reformation. Included in the scheduled program was a prayer giving “thanks” to God “for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation,” and added “Thanks be to you [God] for the proclamation of the gospel that occurred during the Reformation and that since then has strengthened countless people to live lives of faith in Jesus Christ.”
In January 2017, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued a joint statement with the Lutheran World Federation stating that “Catholics are now able to hear Luther’s challenge for the Church of today, recognizing him as a ‘witness to the gospel.’” In the same month, the Vatican announced that it would be issuing a commemorative postage stamp with Luther’s face on it.
Such acts have caused great consternation among Catholics, given Martin Luther’s unorthodox denial of the five of the seven sacraments, of the hierarchical nature of the Church and the authorty of the papacy, of the necessity of good works for justification, and numerous other novel doctrines contrary to Catholic dogma.
Martin Luther was excommunicated for heresy by Pope Leo X in 1521, after the same pope had condemned forty-one of his teachings several months earlier.