Cardinal Gerhard Müller, 75, named in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, now called the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith — a post which made him the chief doctrinal official of the Catholic Church. He was present at the Synod, and has just spoken about his experience… and in this context he has cited a passed from the 1st Letter of John which refers to “the spirit of the Antichrist”…
Letter #150, 2023, Thursday, October 26: Müller
The “Synod on Synodality” is now nearing its conclusion.
A final summary text is expected to be voted on and released on Saturday, October 28, in two days.
As we await that text, there are appearing, here and there on the internet, various texts and comments which may offer Catholics around the world some insight into what went on during these weeks in October 2023, and what this may lead to in the final session of this synodal process which will come in October 2024, a year from now.
German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, 75 — who was a close personal friend of his fellow German, Pope Benedict XVI, and entrusted by the late Pope with the delicate and important task of editing his collected works, and has been in retirement for several years — was chosen to be one of the 365 participants in the Synod (one source said to me — with a slight smile — that the number 365 was chosen on purpose, so that there might be “one delegate for each day of the year”; there were also about 100 more observer-delegates, bringing the total present to about 460).
Now Müller — and, again, he was quite close to Pope Benedict, and, for several years, the chief doctrinal officer in the Church under Pope Benedict at the end of his pontificate, and then under Pope Francis for the first four years of his pontificate — has given a very brief statement to a German news agency about his experience of the synod. Here is a link to the German news agency kath.net story, and a link to a Lifesitenews translation of the story.
This is what Müller said:
“My influence on the Synod was completely limited.
[Note: So, Müller judged his own role during the three weeks of the Synod to be… quite marginal…]
“I was only able to speak publicly once.
[Note: Müller seems to feel he might usefully have spoken more often, contributed more to the Synod…]
“However, the conversations at the table were good.
“Only the influence on the entire course and the agenda that was visible in everything (blessing of extramarital sexuality, before and outside of marriage, diaconate and priestly ordination for women, leveling the difference between priests, bishops and laypeople) was visible, just in the selection of the synod participants to speak at the press conferences, where they monotonously repeated their theses.
[Note: Müller is saying that, for him, there was a kind of “pre-planned agenda” or “orchestration” for the synod — “the entire course and the agenda that was visible in everything” — which included the “monotonous repetition” of “their theses.”]
“There was no papal commandment of silence for the heretics and globalists.
[Note: !… Evidently, Müller felt some Synod participants were speaking more openly and more often with the press than he was…]
“The call for harmony means that no one should oppose this agenda if they do not want to be pilloried as a rigorist, a traditionalist, a clericalist.
[Note: !… No comment necessary…]
“People always spoke about the Spirit in a completely un-Catholic/unorthodox way, without considering that the Holy Spirit is a divine person and not a fluid, and therefore can only ever be mentioned together with the Son and the Father. Compare 1 John 4:1ff (see below*). Only he who believes in the Son of God incarnate has the spirit of Christ, as distinct from the spirit of the world or the spirit of Antichrist.”
[Note: !… Müller, the former top doctrinal official in the Church, is saying that people at the Synod “always spoke about the Spirit in a completely un-Catholic/unorthodox way.” This is… astonishing. You tell me what it means… Following this, Müller includes a citation from Scripture, from the 1st Letter of John:]
“The Bible passage 1 John 4:1ff reads (Standard Translation 2016):
1 Beloved, do not trust every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist that you heard was coming. Now he is already in the world.
4 But you, my children, are from God and have defeated the false prophets; for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
5 They are of the world; therefore they speak as the world speaks, and the world listens to them.
6 But we are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not of God does not listen to us. By this we recognize the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
[Note: Müller chooses a passage which mentions “the spirit of Antichrist” to illustrate the problem he found at the Synod. What does this mean? Just asking…]
After this introduction, Müller provided two texts to the German news agency, which are reproduced here (they are the two statements that Müller contributed to the Synod):
Statement of October 6, 2023:
By Card. Gerhard Ludwig Müller [Form A Table 06-07].
A Church that no longer confesses like Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of God, is no longer the Church of Jesus Christ. The Son of the Father and the anointed of the Holy Spirit is in His person the Way to God. In Greek terms: He is He Hodos and the pilgrim church takes the path to the eternal home syn Christo. So the Church of Christ is in its essence and mission syn-hodos with Christ. The name of the church is converntus et congregatio giò is systema kai synodos, as John Chrysostomos says in the commentary on Psalmo 149:1 (PG 55, 493). From this follows the Christological and Trinitarian interpretation of the predicates of a synodal church: participation, community and mission.
- Being a Christian means participation in the divine nature and participation in the high priesthood of Christ and especially of pastors in the ministerial priesthood.
- As the sacrament of the world’s salvation in Christ, it is a sign and instrument of the most intimate communion with God and the unity of all humanity.
- The sacramental Church is the present Christ and thus the continuation of the mission of the Son by the Father for the salvation of the world. The risen Lord himself says to the apostles and their successors, Go and make disciples of all nations, by no means excluding the Chinese (!) from the Chinese faith and baptism…And as he did with the disciples of Emmaus, today he promises to stay with us and to accompany his pilgrim Church, he means synodically, to the end of the world.
Statement of October 11, 2023:
Card. Gerhard Ludwig Müller [Modulo B 1 Tavolo 02-06].
Vatican II is the best guide for orienting the Church in the twenty-first century. Because its doctrine is the authentic expression of the Catholic faith.
I would like to say just something about the ministerial priesthood.
“Presbterorum Ordinis” points out the important tasks that ordained priests are to perform in the renewal of Christ’s Church. The sacramental priesthood is not a higher degree within the common priesthood of the whole church, as the Protestants said. Rather: “The priesthood of priests presupposes, certainly, the sacraments of Christian initiation, but it is conferred by a peculiar sacrament by which priests, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are marked with a special character which configures them to Christ the Priest, in such a way, that they can act in the name of Christ the Head.” (OP 2)
It is Christ himself who calls, teaches, forms his apostles and their successors and makes them sharers in his consecration and mission from the Father (PO 2).
The vocation crisis, therefore, does not stem from divine grace and the charismatic celibate lifestyle, but, in the case of sexual or spiritual abuse, results from psycho-social and moral defects of individual men, especially when one disregards the sixth and ninth commandments of the Decalogue. But we also know that some innocent people have been accused simply because they are priests and to undermine the credibility of the Church. The grave sin of the indecent abuse of adolescents or impudence between persons of the same or opposite sex excludes from the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9; Rom 1:26f). A mortal sin is the opposite of an expression of God’s love. For God never blesses sin that separates man from the source of eternal life and leads him to ruin.
In forming seminarians to be good shepherds who give their own lives for the flock of Christ, we must not indoctrinate them by repeating the neo-Marxist and pseudo-psychological phraseology of the cultural revolution of the last century, but we must orient them in the personal love of Christ with respect to Christian anthropology and moral and social theory as the Council did magnificently in “Gaudium et spes.”
Any division of the Church in the left-right scheme of political parties or in ideological directions fails. The unity of the Church is not established by a compromise formula, but has its origin and constant source in Christ, her Head, who holds together all the members of his body, which is the Church. No one can lay any other foundation than that which is already laid: Jesus Christ. This synod of bishops bears fruit only when we follow the new and straight path of Syn-hodos, the companionship with Christ, that is, when we follow the One who has revealed himself in his person as He Hodos, the way, the truth and the life.