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Cardinal Gerhard Müller.
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Former Vatican doctrinal chief: ‘Clericalism’ is not the root of the abuse crisis

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has opposed the idea that “clericalism” is the root problem of the current abuse crisis. 

On 17 September, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said the “roots of evil” regarding the abuse crisis are both the “turning away from the truth and moral license.”

A doctrinal corruption will lead to a moral corruption, he said. At the center must stand the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, he added.

READ: Pope blames U.S. sex abuse crisis on ‘clericalism,’ leaves out homosexuality

In a homily during of priestly ordination of Michael Sulzenbacher, SJM in Rome, the Cardinal touched upon the current situation in the Church, pointing to the Church's “deep crisis of credibility caused by men.” He sees, as a potential danger, a possible split within Christianity, similar to the “split of Christianity in the 16th century or the secularization of the spiritual life in the wake of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution.”

“It is not clericalism,” says Müller, “whatever this might mean, but, rather, the turning away from the truth and moral license are the roots of the evil.” “The corruption of doctrine always brings about the corruption of morality and manifests itself in it,” adds the cardinal. 

“The severe sin against the holiness of the Church, without any remorse, is the consequence of a relativization of the dogmatic foundation of the Church. This is the real reason for the shake-up and the disappointment of millions of faithful Catholics.” In this context, Cardinal Müller points to the Protestant “reform” of the 16th century and adds a quote from a scholar who states that “the word reform covered up the heresy and the growing split of the Church.” These words mean that, at the root of the Protestant reformation, Müller sees heresy.

“Just as then, today there is also talk about reform,” the German prelate explains. Discussing this “propaganda formula” as it is now being widely used in the media – “reform of the curia and reform of the whole Church” –  Müller hopes that this reform would lead to a “renewal in the truth of Revelation and of the imitation of Christ.” 

“The true reform is not the secularization of the Church, but the sanctification of man for God,” he said.  

READ: Anyone who blames abuse crisis on ‘clericalism’ is part of the abuse crisis cover-up: Psychiatrist

With an indirect reference to pastoral changes as they have been especially encouraged by Pope Francis,  Müller says that “it is a heresy to think one could preserve the teaching of the Church, but invent a new pastoral approach for the sake of the weakness of man which would soften the truth of the Word of God and Christian morality.” But, he adds, “the redemption from sin is founded in the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. Without the Incarnation, the Church would shrink down to a worldy organization for the improvement of the world.” Such a Church, states the Cardinal, “would have no meaning” with regard to our “yearning for God and our desire for eternal life.” The priest then would merely be a “functionary of a social-religious movement.”

Showing those in the Church the right way, the prelate says that she should not “carry the train of the Zeitgeist,” but, rather, “walk ahead with the torch of Christ's truth in the hand.” 

“We should not busy ourselves with secondary topics, and work with the agenda of others who do not wish to believe that God alone is the source and is the only goal of man and of all creation,” Cardinal  Müller continues. 

The true dangers of today, he adds, “are the greenhouse gas of sin” and the “global warming of disbelief and of the disintegration of morality.” “The best environmentalist and true friend of nature is he who proclaims the Gospels.”

For Cardinal Müller, the new approach of today —  according to which Christian dogma does not anymore need to be the foundation and the criterion of morality and pastoral care — reveals “a new Christological heresy” which consists of “putting Jesus the ‘Teacher of Divine Truth’ and Jesus the ‘Good Shepherd’ in opposition to one another.” 

But it is one and the same Jesus Christ who also said “I am the way and the truth and the life,” explains the cardinal. 

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