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Cardinal Gerhard Müller.Diane Montagna / LifeSiteNews

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(LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former head of the Catholic Church’s highest doctrinal body, affirmed unequivocally that no one – not even the pope – can change the teaching of the Church on homosexuality, amid a crisis of dissent from fundamental Catholic sexual ethics among high-profile clerics under Pope Francis.

“This is absolutely clear, and nobody can change the doctrine of our Catholic faith that homosexual behavior is a grave sin,” he said in an interview with LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen on Wednesday.

The German cardinal and prefect emeritus of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith further clarified that all sexuality “outside of legitimate matrimony” is indeed still mortally sinful.

“And it is absolutely clear that for every priest, cardinal, and the pope, every bishop must be absolutely faithful to the revealed faith and to the natural law which is given to us” without engaging in “personal politics,” he continued. “Nobody has authority to change or to falsify the revealed Catholic faith according to the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church.”

The cardinal stressed that prominent dissident priest Fr. James Martin, SJ, who is scheduled to host an “LGBTQ Catholic Ministry” conference on Friday and Saturday with the blessing of Pope Francis, “cannot change” Church teaching on homosexuality, even “with all his political actions, and his networking, and all the propaganda he is making.”

“What he’s doing, that is a heresy, absolutely heresy. Nobody can justify it,” he said.

Cardinal Müller’s remarks also serve as a rebuke to the growing number of senior European prelates who have publicly repudiated Catholic doctrine on sexuality in recent months. Earlier this year, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and relator general of Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality, said that the Church’s teaching on sodomy is now “false” because “the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.”

Australian Cardinal George Pell has called Hollerich’s comments “explicit heresy.”

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In Germany, the “Synodal Path,” with the backing of much of the German hierarchy, has asserted that homosexual acts are not sinful – a position embraced by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers. Cardinal Müller has previously described the LGBT agenda of the “Synodal Path” as “totally idiotic” and “Neo-Gnostic.”

Church teaching on homosexuality unquestionable

Regardless of high-level dissidence today, the well-known teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexual behavior has remained essentially unchanged since the first century. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, Sacred Tradition “has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’” in line with Scripture, which “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity.”

“They are contrary to the natural law” and “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” the Catechism adds.

According to Fr. Philip Bochanski, executive director of Courage International, an apostolate that ministers to individuals with same-sex attraction, the language of the Catechism “clearly means that this teaching, which flows from the anthropological fact of the nature of sexed human bodies, is an infallible teaching of the ordinary universal magisterium.”

The Catechism also reiterates Church teaching that the homosexual inclination “is objectively disordered.”

Speaking to Westen, Cardinal Müller highlighted the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes. “All these people are always speaking about the Second Vatican Council,” he said, “so you have to look what Gaudium et Spes is saying about matrimony. They can read what is the true doctrine of the Catholic Church about matrimony.”

The constitution affirms that “the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children” and emphasizes “objective standards” of sexual behavior “which preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love.”

And Cardinal Müller noted that Jesus Christ Himself “gives the definition of matrimony: that the man will leave behind father and mother, and will be linked together with his wife, and they will become one flesh, one unity of thinking, of body, of sexuality. And this is the source of the family, the children.”

God entrusted to mankind the “great responsibility” of matrimony and the role of being “mediators of the nature of life” through motherhood and fatherhood, the cardinal added, explaining the supernatural vocation of parents: “A Christian mother and father are the first representatives of Jesus Christ calling to our common priesthood their own children.”

James Martin is ‘abusing people’ and leading them to hell

In light of the Church’s teachings, Fr. James Martin’s LGBT activism “is absolutely wrong” and even a form of abuse, Cardinal Müller lamented.

The dissenting Jesuit “is bringing into danger the salvation of the people with his own ideas. We cannot introduce wrong ideas and just mislead the people according to this ideology of LGBT propaganda,” he said.

“We are the Catholic Church, and Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, is the Good Shepherd of everybody. And I think this ideology is only abusing these people,” the German prelate continued. 

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He specifically rebutted Martin’s false idea of “pastoral work” for individuals suffering same-sex attraction, pointing out that “nobody is closer to these people than Jesus Christ, Who gave His life for everybody. But this was not a justification of the sin, but it’s actually the occasion of the sinners to convert.”

The eminent cardinal also took aim at the notion that unnatural sexual tendencies can somehow relieve people of the moral responsibility to avoid sin: “Nobody can say ‘I have a tendency towards polyamory,’ or to say ‘I love not only one woman, but I love five.’ That is not a justification.”

The Church holds that persons with a homosexual inclination must use their “fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person” and cooperate with grace not to sin. 

“I am faithful to my eyes,” Cardinal Müller concluded. “Especially, I am faithful to my ears when we are hearing the Word of God, and the Word of God is this word. Separating the good and the bad is to go the way of Jesus Christ.”

READ: Cardinal Müller: Transgender ideology is ‘self-mutilation,’ promoting it is a ‘serious sin’

The outspoken prelate has similarly dismantled transgender ideology, which he described in a March statement as “self-mutilation of mind, soul, and body” that has been elevated to a “totalitarian position” in society.

“When the self-mutilation of mind, soul, and body is peddled ideologically and politically as an alleged ‘self-determination,’ then that is nothing less than a serious sin against the well-being and salvation of children and young people who are in a process of maturing and finding their identity,” Cardinal Müller said.

The “blessing” of same-sex relationships, he said in a previous interview, is “absolutely a blasphemy” because of a “negation of the constitution of human beings as man and woman.”