A pope cannot abdicate the duty to teach inherent in his charge as Successor of Peter and replace it by a “synodal government” of the Church, declared Monsignor Nicolas Bux, former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on May 14, 2018.
Mgr. Bux wrote an article for the information website La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana in which he recalled that the Catholic Church is “hierarchical, not synodal” and that “pastoral problems” can only be resolved with “true doctrine.”
The solution to the problem of granting Protestants access to the sacrament of the Eucharist is not, therefore, to be found in “the greatest possible consensus” that Pope Francis requested of the German Episcopal Conference.
The article by the former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was published only a few days after an interview Cardinal Walter Kasper granted to Vatican Insider. In his interview, the German cardinal claimed that there is nothing in the teachings of the recent popes that goes against sacramental intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants.
For Mgr. Bux, the cardinal is stretching the meaning of the passages he quotes to back his position and leaving out the inconvenient passages. The simple fact of “the growing opposition, first between the bishops and consequently between the faithful” on a question as crucial as sacramental intercommunion, clearly goes to show, explains the Italian prelate, that Cardinal Kasper’s solution is not at all evident.
“The exercise of the Petrine Ministry, which indicates the course to the whole church,” concludes Mgr. Bux, “is indispensable; the Pope cannot abdicate this task.” We can only hope this renowned theologian will be heard.
In this ongoing debate, we must not forget the unpredictable nature of the modern magisterium that no longer dares to proclaim the truth and seeks to adapt to all consciences and situations, depending on the countries, cultures and sensibilities. A magisterium whose authority is doubtful necessarily loses its strength and credibility. The pope’s function is to feed the lambs and sheep of Christ’s flock (Jn. 21:15-17) and to confirm his brethren in the Faith (Lk. 22:32). Not to uphold confusion or ignore doctrine in the name of an elastic pastoral approach.