Cardinal Müller: Efforts to Explain ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ Add to Confusion Over Document
Cardinal Müller lamented that as a consequence of the declaration, ‘nobody is speaking about the blessing of marriage, of children, of the family,’ which is ‘our duty,’ and ‘not to divide the Church.’
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, said frequent efforts to try to clarify and explain Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust) are only deepening confusion and what is needed instead is a return “to the clarity of the word of God” rather than “bowing down to this absolutely wrong LGBT and woke ideology.”
In an interview with the Register, given in Rome on Jan. 29, Cardinal Müller responded to the continuing fallout of the Dec. 18 declaration that allowed “pastoral” and “spontaneous” non-liturgical blessings of those in same-sex and other “irregular relationships.” The document has met widespread resistance, especially in Africa.
The cardinal reiterated that he believes there was “no need” for the declaration and that people in same-sex relationships are “not brought to the Church by relativizing the truth and cheapening grace, but by the unadulterated Gospel of Christ.”
“How dare we, as the servants of Jesus Christ, make this Divine teaching unclear with mere human sophistry?” he said.
Cardinal Müller lamented that as a consequence of Fiducia Supplicans, “nobody is speaking about the blessing of marriage, of children, of the family,” which is “our duty,” and “not to divide the Church.”
Pope Francis tried to explain Fiducia Supplicans again on Wednesday, in a new interview published by the Italian Catholic journal Credere.
“Nobody is scandalized if I give a blessing to a businessman who may be exploiting people, and that is a very serious sin,” the Pope said. “Whereas they are scandalized if I give it to a homosexual. This is hypocrisy!”
He added that he blesses everyone in the confessional: “I don’t bless a ‘homosexual marriage’; I bless two people who love each other [che si vogliono bene].”
Cardinal Müller was appointed by Benedict XVI as the Vatican’s doctrinal chief in 2012, a position he held until 2017.
Your Eminence, at a recent plenary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope reiterated that blessings of irregular relationships should be spontaneous, non-liturgical, and not require moral perfection, that it’s about the blessing of individuals, not the union. But if this is the case, was there a need for such a document, as such individual blessings are already permitted?
There was no need for this document, but now the later interpretations are relativizing themselves and they are only deepening, widening the confusion. They cannot explain what the difference is between a liturgical and the private benediction. They are putting forward a nebulous connotation instead of saying what is absolutely clear in the Gospel, the word of Jesus Christ, transmitted to us in the Old and New Testament. How dare we, as the servants of Jesus Christ, make this Divine teaching unclear with mere human sophistry?
Some commentators are saying this document was needed in order to stop the Church in Germany, in particular, from going ahead with full-scale, liturgical same-sex blessings, that this will help prevent such a thing from happening. What do you say to that?
We cannot resolve the problems around the German bishops with these diplomatic maneuvers. We must say the truth: That it is blasphemy; that it is a sin. You can betray yourself, you can betray the others, but nobody can betray God. We must say the truth, not because we are saints and the others are sinners. If I preach the Gospel, I am under the judgment of the Gospel. The preacher himself must be a model of all. He must make great efforts to give good examples, to underline the faith with the credibility of the preachers. But he has to say the word of God, which makes us free, and not to present himself as more liberal and open-minded than God, who offered his own Son for the salvation of the world.
What do you say to the view that, in our overly sexualized culture, with many wounded by the tragic consequences of the so-called sexual revolution, such a document was necessary because there was no other way to reach these people, to bring them back to the Church?
These people are not brought to the Church by relativizing the truth and cheapening grace, but by the unadulterated Gospel of Christ. In view of the weakness of man, especially in the area of sexuality, Jesus did not show any sympathy for adultery, but said that whoever even looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart, i.e., has already transgressed the Sixth Commandment of God in the Decalogue and thus renounced the life of God and his truth (Matthew 5:28).
Another criticism of the document is not only its contents but what it is lacking. There is no mention, for example, of the sin of sexual relations outside marriage or same-sex acts, the importance of repentance and firm purpose of amendment, or exhorting the person to come to Christ.
They avoid it. For them, these people are only in difficult situations for their weakness, and so they deny the existence of the sin as a willingness to do wrong and act against God’s holy will [thinking]: They are only poor people, and we must help them.
But what is the help of Jesus Christ? It’s the help of grace; it’s the renewal of life. Everybody is called to the kingdom of God. Yes, everybody is called. But the salvation is the new life in Jesus Christ, to be free from the sin, and not only to respect a moral standard as an ideal set by an elite, or rules made by the society, but to do so according to the holy will of Jesus. This is the meaning of sanctification, and that is a true happiness that goes the way of God. That’s the true happiness — and not obstinately repeating sins.
And that’s not mentioned in the document.
No. Never mentioned. There’s no clear anthropology, clear doctrine: What is grace? What is sin? What is original sin? What are the personal sins? What to do with your own will and the cooperation of your free will with grace? In the Council of Trent, we have this great document about justification and original sin. And there it says, “If anybody is saying that also with the help of the grace, you are not able to avoid the sin, this is anathema sit and you are excluded from the full communion of the Church.” What is needed is a real turning away from sin and a full conversion to the Lord.
So do you think, given these weaknesses and errors that you say are in Fiducia Supplicans, that it should be withdrawn and, as some have requested, that Cardinal Fernández resign?
That’s a question for the Pope and is his responsibility. But I think with all these interviews and interpretations of the interpretation of interpretations, things are not getting better. Go back to the clarity of the word of God, and what is said in the Catechism, and not this bowing down to this absolutely wrong LGBT and woke ideology. That is not modern; that is a falling back to the old paganism. You see it in the old pagan Greek, Roman and Persian world: Everybody, everywhere allowed homosexual acts and sexual relations with minors, and they had not this high standard of morality given in the Ten Commandments. But on the other hand, St. Paul said even the pagans are, in the light of their reason and conscience, able to understand what is written in their heart (the natural moral law).