Two interviews with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, granted two interviews in early October, one to the American weekly newspaper National Catholic Register, and the other to the German radio network Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR). In these interviews he was asked, among other questions, about the relations between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X.
To the National Catholic Register, which asked him whether he was “confident and optimistic there will be reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X”, Abp. Müller replied: “I’m always confident in our faith and optimistic. We have to pray for goodwill and for unity in the Church. The SSPX is not the only breakaway group in the Church. There are worse ones on the opposite side, too. These movements are worse because they are often denying essentials of Christianity. We must work for unity, and so it is also my task to invite all to come back into full communion with the Catholic Church, which is led by the supreme shepherd, the pope—who is the Vicar of Christ.” To the next question: “If they do come back, what positive aspects could they bring to the Church?” the German prelate answered: They could underline what Tradition is, but they also must become broader in their perspective, because the apostolic Tradition of the Church is not only about a few elements. The Tradition of the Church is large and wide. On the other hand, there must also be a renewal in the celebration of the liturgy, because we have had a lot of abuses of the liturgy, which have damaged the faith of many people.”
In the interview granted to the German radio network NDR, Abp. Müller declared in reference to the Society of Saint Pius X: “From the pastoral perspective, the door is always open,” but he was anxious to specify: “No allowances can be made as far as the Catholic faith is concerned, just as it was validly formulated by the Second Vatican Council as well. Vatican II is not in opposition to the Tradition of the Universal Church; if need be it is opposed to many false interpretations of the Catholic faith.” “We cannot subject the Catholic faith to negotiations. Here there are no compromises.” And he insisted: “The Society of Saint Pius X knows the demands that it must accept.” “I think that there will be no more new discussions from now on.”
The news agencies have reprinted the statements by the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the headlines: “Discussions broken off between the Vatican and the Traditionalists” (Reuters); “Abp. Müller does not foresee new discussions with the Lefebvrists” (Apic). On October 7, on her blog, Isabelle de Gaulmyn (La Croix) writes: “The symbolism is striking. Just before celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II next Thursday, we learn that the reconciliation between the integrists [fundamentalists] of the Society of Saintn Pius X and the Catholic Church have failed. Short of a highly improbable last-minute reversal, the integrists will never return to the bosom of the Church. And the discussions finally ran aground precisely on the matter of Vatican II.... With the fiftieth anniversary a few days away, the stumbling-block has therefore been definitively removed, for those who still had any doubts: the Second Vatican Council is non-negotiable.” She added with joy tinged with pity: “Of course we can rejoice in the announcement of this break, in that it reaffirms the conciliar teaching. And yet. Every rupture is bitter, and this one is no exception to the rule.”
Several observers are astonished that this announcement had been made the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on a radio program, in Germany, whereas during the ad limina visit of the French bishops last month the news agency I.Media had learned that “in the Vatican, they think that it is legitimate for Bp. Fellay to want to meet his new interlocutors before issuing his official response” (to the Roman proposal dated June 13, see DICI no. 257 dated June 22, 2102). It also explained that no formal request for an interview with Abp. Gerhard Ludwig Müller or Abp. Augustine Di Noia, respectively President and Vice-President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, had been made yet. (See DICI no. 261 dated September 28, 2012). (Sources: NCRegister/NDR/KNA/Reuters/Apic/La Croix/IMedia – DICI no. 262 dated October 12, 2012)