Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vatican - SSPX: Point of no return?

Gelöst und locker: Erzbischof Gerhard Ludwig Müller scherzt bei seiner Rückkehr auch über eigene kleine Schwächen. Foto:
Müller: having the last laugh?

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, in a recent interview to the Mittel Bayerische was very critical of the SSPX. This does not bode well for future discussions with the SSPX, although hope is the last thing to die. Below are extracts:

Q: You have always been very critical of the SSPX. Now, you are responsible as Prefect for the return of the fallen-away Society into the bosom of the Church. How difficult is it?

A: The negotiations of the Vatican with the SSPX brothers are friendly, Christian and humane, but clearly in formation. Who wants to become Catholic again must recognise the authority of the Pope and the bishops. No one should think that he can impose his own ideas of the Catholic Church. The talks in Rome are not negotiations between two parties. No religious fraternity may impose conditions of the church. 

Q: The negotiations between the SSPX with the Vatican have been going on since January 2009. How much more time is needed?

A: Eventually, the "point of no return" is coming and they must decide: Do they wish for the unity of the Church? This includes the acceptance of the form and content of the Second Vatican Council, and the previous and subsequent statements and decisions of the Magisterium. There is no other way

Q: The main criticism of the SSPX is the Second Vatican Council's - the permission for Masses in the local language instead of Latin. Is there any leeway? 

A: What can be granted, is that which actually belongs to the diversity of the Catholic faith and life. The liturgical reform of Vatican II was factually correct and necessary. One cannot issue polemic against it just because there are abuses.

Q: The SSPX have just designated you again as a heretic, that is, as one who has fallen from the faith.

A: I must not give an answer to every stupidity. 

Godwin's comments:  The SSPX have always stated that they are Catholic and they recognise the authority of the Pope. The statement from Müller is at variance with various Vatican statements of recent years. And though the SSPX might have exaggerated by claiming that Müller is a heretic (although certain statements from him in the past e.g. his flirting with liberation theology, have raised eyebrows in the Roman Curia), mutual respect is needed for any dialogue to continue. Hopefully the point of no return is far away...