Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. Card. Rodriguez v. soon-to-be Card. Müller

His Eminence Rodriguez Card. Maradiaga gave an interview to at least one German newspaper. It was reported by Reuters that he spoke to a newspaper of Cologne, Germany, Köln, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.  I found an interview, if there is only one, at the site of the Frankfurter Rundschau.

[UPDATE 21 Jan 1643 GMT – the Frankfurter Rundschau has removed that article from their site! You get a 404 page.  For the whole thing at Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger go HERE]

The Cardinal openly criticized soon-to-be Cardinal Müller.

Okay, maybe Müller brought a little of this on himself by defending Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who spent a lot of money to revamp the bishop’s residence.  Fine.  He’s a big boy and he can handle that heat.

But … Rodriguez suggests that Müller’s problem is that he is a professorial theologian who doesn’t grasp the real world:

Ihr Mitbruder, Kardinal in spe Gerhard Ludwig Müller, hält als Präfekt der Glaubenskongregation offenbar mehr von der Autorität der Kirche.

MARADIAGA: (lacht) Ich habe es gelesen, ja. Und ich dachte: “Okay, vielleicht hast Du Recht, vielleicht aber auch nicht.” Ich meine, ich verstehe ihn: Er ist Deutscher – ja, ich muss das sagen, er ist obendrein Professor, ein deutscher Theologieprofessor. In seiner Mentalität gibt es nur richtig oder falsch, das war’s. Aber ich sage: “Die Welt, mein Bruder, die Welt ist nicht so. Du solltest ein wenig flexibel sein, wenn du andere Stimmen hörst, damit du nicht nur zuhörst und sagst, nein, hier ist die Wand.” Also, ich glaube, er wird dahin gelangen, andere Ansichten zu verstehen. Aber jetzt ist er halt noch am Anfang, hört bloß auf seinen Beraterstab.

“…ein deutscher Theologieprofessor…”?

Who else was a German Theology professor?

Unless Rodriguez thinks he is Vice-Pope, he should not speak like this to the press about the Prefect of the CDF.  As a matter of fact, Cardinals probably should not speak to the press at all.  Come to think of it, neither should Popes, much less Vice-Popes.  Emeritus?… I digress.

Rodriguez does NOT speak for Francis.  Nothing suggests that he does.

In any event, maybe Rodriguez just had a bad moment with the interviewer.  Maybe he went too far.  It happens.  After all, he has a history is speaking in somewhat exaggerated terms, and right now – with all the worldly attention he is getting in Pope Francis’ shadow – he could be feeling his oats.

I am leaning toward His Eminence having had a bad day.  You might remember that he made that infamous statement that Jews who run the media in the USA blew the clerical sexual abuse thing out of proportion.  Remember the reaction from the ADL?  The ADL was outraged by Card. Rodriguez’s statements in 30 Giorni that Jewish influence in the media trumped up the clerical sexual abuse controversy to distract from Israeli-Palestinian problems.  Not a good day.

It is interesting, however, how courageously the Cardinal attacked the German soon-to-be Cardinal Müller, Prefect of nothing less than the CDF, in a German newspaper of Cologne, Köln.

What better way to capture press notice?

“But Father! But Father!”, you are tempted to whisper, “Francis is against… I can barely bring myself to say the hated word… careerism….”


So, what’s the play here, if there is one?

If I were to put on my analyst’s cap….

First, as I said before, it could be that Card. Rodriguez had a bad day.  That happens.  We have bad days.

Is there some ecclesiastical game here?

Let’s think about this.

If, as some are saying, Pope Francis wanted to get rid of Müller from the Curia – and there isn’t much evidence of that, since Francis is signing off on what he’s doing – then Francis would have to move him to someplace like Cologne, Germany!

Keep thinking.  In Cologne, the chapter of the Cathedral have a lot of say about who gets the archbishopric there. Unless… unless… he is a Cardinal. The Pope can’t just move any ol’ bishop there, against the will of the chapter, but he can move a Cardinal. What do you know?   Francis is making Müller a Cardinal in February, which makes him movable … out of the Curia and to Germany? Promoveatur ut amoveatur?

So, would Francis make Müller a Cardinal to move him to Cologne? No way.  Francis doesn’t like professiorial types as bishops of dioceses. He wants “pastoral” types. Müller is said to have failed that test in Regensburg.  Germany would go up in flames.

So… would Rodriguez dump on Müller in order to “help” him move from the Curia to Cologne? Doesn’t seem logical.  Pretty cynical, since that goes against everything Francis says he is about. If Rodriguez were against Müller being in the CDF, then why run Müller down in Cologne, the logical place for him to go?   That doesn’t make sense…

… unless Card. Rodriguez was having a bad day.

Or unless he simply want to undercut Müller and … undermine the Congregation and Müller’s arguments about the divorced and remarried?

Okay… I am just rattling on here.  Pay no attention to me.

In any event, what Card. Rodriguez did was display dirty laundry publicly.  When you are a Cardinal, you don’t do this.  Okay, Card. Marx did this to Müller too.  Let that pass.  I say: When you are a Cardinal, you don’t do this.

I will add that if Card. Rodriguez doesn’t like Müller’s reasoning about Communion for the divorced and remarried, then deal with the arguments instead of carrying on an ad hominem attack in a German newspaper.

QUAERITUR: Does Card. Rodriguez have more than, “that’s not how the world works”?  I suspect not.  Müller, on the other hand, had cogent arguments in L’Osservatore Romano.

Go back and read these:

Do you remember what I predicted? I wrote about Müller’s essay on the Communion and the divorced and remarried?

This is going to be spun by the left as the Bad Guy’s attempt to stop Francis.

Müller won’t be presented as the voice of reason. No, he will be the Bad Guy.

Fishwrap will say something nasty about him, something personal, like, “Now that Müller is secure in his appointment as Prefect, he feels free to attack ‘mercy’.”

Card. Rodriguez talking about the way the real world works is, effectively, the same thing: Müller doesn’t understand the “real world”… that is to say… Müller doesn’t understand mercy.

Keep your eyes on the upcoming Synod of Bishops. Watch who makes pleas that we abandon the Church’s teaching and discipline and simply wave a wand over the divorced and remarried … and say we should just ordain married men as priests, for that matter.

As I think about this through, we are seeing preparatory work for the the Synod.

In the meantime… whose is actually running the Diocese of Tegucigalpa?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Phil_NL says:

    Makes one wonder how many ‘bad days’ a cardinal can have. I was frankly shocked by the earlier episode you quote: ” Card. Rodriguez’s statements in 30 Giorni that Jewish influence in the media trumped up the clerical sexual abuse controversy to distract from Israeli-Palestinian problems.”

    Sounds an awful lot like Williamson without the Tradition and whitout being not in communion.

    Eisenhower is rumoured to have said, when asked if he made any mistakes during his presidency, “Two, and they are both on the Supreme Court”. I fear either BXVI or soon-to-be St. JPII could have uttered similar lines, mutatis mutandis….

  2. Martin_B says:

    In Cologne, the chapter of the Cathedral have a lot of say about who gets the archbishopric there. Unless… unless… he is a Cardinal. The Pope can’t just move any ol’ bishop there, against the will of the chapter, but he can move a Cardinal.

    Well, he really can’t. [I think he can.]

    The rules for the see of cologne, as for any other see in former prussia, are:
    – in addition to the nuntio and other local bishops the chapter is to submit a list of potential candidates
    – the pope draws up a list of three (called “terna”) in consideration of these lists
    – the chapter elects the new archbishop from the terna
    – the pope names the elected as the new archbishop according to can. 377

    Wich means, the chapter is free to choose any one out of the terna, even if there is one cardinal and two priests on it.

  3. Jacques-Antoine Fierz says:

    Just a precision, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is the victim of a diffamation campaign just because his really big fault is…. to be Catholic and faithful to Rome.
    Who can read german can get the information from this website: http://www.kath.net.

  4. polycarped says:

    Simply depressing.

    If Rodriguez reflects the kind of men the HH is surrounding himself with – which I fear he may do – then hold on to your seats even tighter everyone. What a buffoon. Not only does there seem to be such a profound lack of right judgement and common sense but the ease with which some of these ‘Princes’ are happy to finally stab poor Benedict XVI in the back is astonishing – such wimps. Whilst Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst’s behaviour – if what the German Bishops have probably spun to the max about him is legitimate – may be due cause for concern, where is the concern for the impact of the disobedient, dissenting (dare I say verging on heretical..?) nonsense coming from the German Bishops on Catholic souls?

    That’s me being polite on a day when my patience with all of this is just wearing a little thin – sorry. Let’s just say I’m having a bad day and leave it at that.

  5. CharlesG says:

    Another strike against Cardinal Maradiaga in my book… I believe he is purposely trying to undermine the CDF and the Holy See’s doctrinal authority. If the Holy See doesn’t protect the Deposit of Faith and Catholic Doctrine, including moral teachings, who else is going to? Maradiaga is example no. 1 why decentralization of “doctrinal authority” to bishops’ conferences is dangerous. I sure hope that the Magisterium will survive intact this papacy and the impending curial reform that everybody parrotted was absolutely necessary. (I have yet to see any reason for reform of the Curia structurally — the reform needed is for people in the Curia to believe the faith and try to be holy.) The Holy See and the Cardinals have a sacred trust — if they give away the store in terms of our 2,000 faith, then what happens? Our Lord’s promise to Peter about the gates of hell is rapidly becoming my only hope these dark days.

  6. CharlesG says:

    our 2,000 faith => our 2,000 year old faith

  7. jcr says:

    As I read Aber ich sage: ‘Die Welt, mein Bruder, die Welt ist nicht so. Du solltest ein wenig flexibel sein …,’ I thought of Screwtape’s comments about how useful the idea of “the real world” can be for countering rational argument.

    Translation for those who don’t understand German: “But I say: ‘The world, my brother [Cardinal], the world is not so. You must be a little flexible…'”

  8. Justalurkingfool says:

    This is no surprise to me at all. What I am wondering about is when men like Father Z and Ed Peters will come under increasing negative pressure. [It it already going on, at least for me.] However, for the present the tactic of those with the real power may be to let it “seem” as if what was once orthodoxy still has a voice, as gelded as they will allow it to be.

    How tolerant of those in power, indeed. I shiver at their magnanimity.

  9. SimonR says:

    I feel sympathy for Archbishop Muller. It appears quite lonely for him at the moment. There were the criticisms by Marx and now Maradiaga not even to mention those by the German Episcopate.

    These are strange times. I have noticed that I am beginning to read less and less of Francis. It’s not that I have something against him, it’s just that I don’t find myself inspired by him or his words. His homily for the the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord was 3 paragraphs long!

    I am beginning to think of the reign of Benedict as a golden age. [I would try to shake that, if I were you. It wan’t a perfect pontificate.] We were spoilt. As Father Fessio said, with the death of John Paul II and Benedict no longer Pope, the age of giants is at an end.

    Perhaps someone should send Cardinal Maradiaga a copy of Francis’ speech to the Curia at Christmas which included these words:

    “Holiness, in the Curia, also means conscientious objection. Yes, conscientious objection to gossip! We rightfully insist on the importance of conscientious objection, but perhaps we too need to exercise it as a means of defending ourselves from an unwritten law of our surroundings, which unfortunately is that of gossip. So let us all be conscientious objectors; and mind you, I am not simply preaching! For gossip is harmful to people, harmful to our work and our surroundings”.

  10. Traductora says:

    Well, it could be worse. Wasn’t Cdl Maradiaga on the list of papabile? [Not in any serious way.] That said, some odd statements have been emanating from people who are supposedly close to the Pope. I don’t know if he just doesn’t care or if they reflect the way he thinks. Certainly, while he talks about “collegiality,” he himself seems to act or at least speak unilaterally and rather unpredictably, and others around him seem to be adopting this style.

  11. Imrahil says:

    I just wanted to say what the dear @Martin_B has said. Whether someone is a Cardinal or not is not important here.

    The Pope can still, of course, draw up a terna of, say, the one he wants for bishop, plus the district superior and vice-district superior of the SSPX, or so.

    (When Cardinal then-already Meisner came to Cologne, the Pope was said to walked by the chapter – which might be where this rumour comes from. However, the Pope simply sent a terna including Cardinal Meisner, and the chapter could not bring itself to a two-thirds majority as demanded by its own rules. The Pope then used his supreme authority to change the chapter rules, so that a simple majority would suffice, upon which Cardinal Meisner was quite normally elected.)

    As to Regensburg, it sometimes seems to me that Cardinal des. Müller virtuously was ready to play the “bad guy”. As far as I can see the diocese is now rather flourishing by German standards.

  12. OrthodoxChick says:

    Traductora said, “…some odd statements have been emanating from people who are supposedly close to the Pope.”

    I don’t think that’s by accident. I think that while Pope Francis is certainly not embracing the traditional Mass, he is turning out to be less progressive than some of that bent in the curia and conclave had hoped. [As I have been saying all along.] He has shown no willingness to jettison doctrine when push comes to shove. Speaking in a way that appeals to liberals and progressives in the name of being pastoral toward them is one thing, changing doctrine is quite another. I think comments like these are the methods liberals are using to try to nudge the Holy Father over to their side in terms of his actions rather than just his public comments.

  13. Unwilling says:

    Haben Sie gern Schach zu spielen?

    jcr nicely citing Screwtape:
    “nur richtig oder falsch… die Welt ist nicht so…solltest ein wenig flexibel”
    [only right and wrong… the world is not like that… gotta be a bit ‘flexible’…]
    It is tempting to reply: Yes. Neither the World, nor the Flesh, nor the Devil.
    Aber… aber… ein deutscher Theologieprofessor einmal sagte: Hier stehe ich!

  14. RJHighland says:

    Really what you get out of the article is Cardinal Rodriguez should keep his mouth shut and not criticize Cardinal Mueller? How about the fact a close advicer to the Pope thinks Mueller is too conservative. Talk about a horrific movement in the shifting center. The last word I would use to discribe Cardinal Mueller is conservative.

  15. robtbrown says:

    The Cardinal has done the pope no favor with these comments. The irony is that when Papa Bergoglio was in Argentina, his reputation was as a spiritual man who avoided confrontation. Now he is in the mouth of the lion.

  16. Deacon Augustine says:

    “In seiner Mentalität gibt es nur richtig oder falsch, das war’s. Aber ich sage: “Die Welt, mein Bruder, die Welt ist nicht so. ”

    So now the dictatorship of relativism is manifest in the words of a Cardinal who is supposedly close to the Pope! How quickly the modernists have taken advantage of Benedict’s departure and the smoke of Satan is rising from the sanctuary again. You can bet your last buck that they will use the Synod to attempt to “reinterpret” Church doctrine to make it mean exactly the opposite of what it has meant up until now. Perhaps this will be Francis’ Humanae Vitae moment – we had all better pray for him very much,

  17. Andrew says:

    At a recent visit to Miami Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga stated:

    “The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin – these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II – nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue.”

    You can read the entire text here:


  18. “then deal with the arguments instead of carrying on an ad hominem attack”

    Apparently Card. Maradiaga is just a typical liberal. Whether in religion or in the public square, dealing with arguments is not a liberal thing. Attacking ad hominem is.

  19. Eliane says:

    “Just a precision, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is the victim of a diffamation campaign just because his really big fault is…. to be Catholic and faithful to Rome.:” [This is a rabbit hole.]

    That can’t be said enough times. The spending in question was well in the works before he ever came on the scene. Francis threw him under the bus. I would love to be a fly on the wall when bishops, especially from the West, get together in very private places and vent about the current Petrine practice of dumping on them to make Francis look like the only worthy prelate in the Catholic world.

    “Card. Rodriguez’s statements in 30 Giorni that Jewish influence in the media trumped up the clerical sexual abuse controversy to distract from Israeli-Palestinian problems.”

    And there could be no truth to anything of that nature because, as we all can see, the media are focused on sexual abuse in all religions, in politics, entertainment figures, etc. with equal interest and intensity. Right?

  20. Phil_NL says:


    That vast trscts of the media try to hurt the Church at any possible junction does not mean that would be due to any Jewish influence. That is a canard that is heard only among rabid anti-semites and tinfoil hat loons. It reminds very much of the cesspits of history. Not to mention that its illogical as well: if anything, the only target being maligned more unfairly by the press than the Church is the State of Israel. [Discussion of the State of Israel is a rabbit hole. It is hereby closed.]

  21. Eliane says:

    To Phil_NL,

    You and I obviously have hopelessly divergent views on the conduct and foundational purpose of the State of Israel.

    If you actually mean to say that there is no Jewish influence in media, I will just leave it at that. So be it.

  22. Robbie says:

    My analyst cap tells me Maradiaga is a modernist. He told Cardinal Muller he doesn’t understand the real world, but here’s the best part. He said we’re about to enter a new age, as 50 years ago, when John XXIII opened the window for new air to come in!!! Yeah! Maybe we’re going to get a remake of “That 70’s Show” featuring your favorite hip and savvy Cardinals. I’m sure “On Eagle’s Wings” played by a guitar will sound wonderful as it echoes through St. Peter’s.

  23. Robbie says:

    I must add another comment. I think those who are focused solely on doctrine are missing the real show. Sure, Francis has shown no inclination to change doctrine, but Paul VI changed no doctrine either, correct? While Francis may not be as inclined as some of his closest aides to changed things up, I suspect men like Maridiaga and Marx see doctrine, especially that with which they don’t agree, as merely a nuisance.

    In one piece I read, and I’m sorry I don’t have the link, a chief Curial complaint against Cardinal Bergoglio was that he chose not to defend doctrine in favor of big, showy pastoral actions. Can’t the case be made that’s just what Pope Francis has done so far with “who am I to judge”? He never fought doctrine during his interview on the plane, but his comments certainly suggested a new approach.

  24. acardnal says:

    Let’s recall that Cdl Maradiaga is a member of Pope Francis’ “kitchen cabinet” which is responsible for developing a plan to reform the Curia! One can only wonder what will come of that. I think I’ll have another cannoli. Sugar helps.

  25. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    As much as I’d like to think he was only having a bad day, I unfortunately don’t think that’s so…especially after the comments he made in FL (which Andrew references above) as well as other comments given to the media after meetings of the Gang of 8. Seems he is one of the loosest canons who will bring some of the greatest harms in the next few years.

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  27. Deacon Augustine says: “In seiner Mentalität gibt es nur richtig oder falsch, das war’s. Aber ich sage: “Die Welt, mein Bruder, die Welt ist nicht so. ”…So now the dictatorship of relativism is manifest in the words of a Cardinal who is supposedly close to the Pope!

    Well, the dictatorship of relativism in among churchmen is nothing new. Similar criticisms were leveled at Bl. Clemens von Galen when he was raised to the See of Muenster in 1933. Someone even complained to then-Cardinal Pacelli that von Galen was “entirely 13th century.” I do not intend to compare Cardinal Mueller to Bl. Clemens, whose spirit is sadly lacking among our shepherds today, but only to point out that corrupt thinking in the hierarchy has been going on for some time. That is why we are undergoing our present purification.

  28. Imrahil says:

    Correction: I meant to say “FSSP” and was not thinking a suspended cleric would appear on the terna.

    (Though as far chances to actually being elected, that amounts to the same thing.)

  29. Joseph says:

    Here is just another modernist spout, who is rolling out the red carpet in view of the upcoming bishop synod, in order to push some of the agenda. It is definitively sniping on the level of bad politicians, but really no surprise.

  30. ChrisRawlings says:

    Some of the comments here are truly bizarre. What is it about some segment of traditionalism that actually thrives on playing the part of the episcopal Chicken Little? An interview with some German paper by the archbishop of Tegucigalpa should not be stealing your peace, folks. Say an Our Father for Cardinal Maradiaga’s faith, wisdom, and holiness and get on with your day. If you think that it is rough now, you would have loved the Early Church.

    Your job is to be holy and make disciples, not nitpick the episcopacy.

  31. msc says:

    Cardinal Maradiaga’s comments are clearly anti-semitic and he has made similar ones on other occasions–he was not having just a bad day. Even if he were, a person without serious prejudice does not just come out with a statement like that, even if he simply was not making himself clear.

  32. JacobWall says:

    Besides the fact that the we all loved our dear German theologian pope so much, it seems to be a fairly widespread (and diseased) way of thinking these days that Christians need to do away with theology and philosophy and replace it entirely with soup kitchens and personal experience. I’ve found this faulty attitude everywhere from liberal, anti-established-church Evangelicals to supposedly sound-doctrined Eastern Orthodox writers (not to mention Roman Catholic Cardinals, as we see here.)

    The whole, complete and universal (i.e. Catholic) Church needs soup kitchens, priests and bishops and the ghettos, and personal experience of the believers. It also needs faith in the living rooms of America’s suburban middle class. Likewise the Church needs prayerful, cloistered monks and nuns. It also needs academics, theologians and philosophers who spend much of their time lost in the depths of libraries. Even if they are not out serving soup in the ghettos, those serving soup in the ghettos need them, and vice versa. It’s always sad to see when people try to pit different (valid) expressions of the faith against each other instead of seeing the necessity they have of each other – especially when it’s a cardinal doing it.

    Speaking of which, I wonder how much time Card. Rodriguez actually spends with the sheep – or is that he’s just trying to paint the “right picture” of himself?

    Of course, finding a good “theologian” is not that easy these days, but that’s a different story. If we get more theologians in the line of our dear Pope Emeritus around, we’ll have no reason to complain.

  33. Pat says:

    The Honduran Cardinal studied moral theology in Rome under Fr. Bernard Haring (one of the many theologians who dissented). Thus, his intellectual formation offer clues to his doctrinal ambiguity.

  34. Polycarpio says:

    With a nod to ChrisRawlings, above, I wish to say that in this week of Christian unity, we might do well to practice a little Catholic unity, too. I will subscribe to Fr. Z’s comments above that Card. Rodriguez’s comments should not be read as more than a lapse of judgment regarding how the comments could be read by anyone wishing to create mischief. However, we should avoid being those persons. As for the idea that the comments are an “ad hominem” attack on the Prefect, I think not. The comments are no different in flavor or content than Cardinal Cipriani Thorne’s comments in two interviews in the press, in which he said that the Prefect was “naive” and called him “a good German” (whatever that means), pointed to his academic background, etc.

  35. MikeD says:

    I am reminded of a quotation from Pope Francis a few months back:

    “The reform of the Roman Curia is something that almost all the cardinals sought in the congregations before the Conclave. I sought it myself. [But] I can’t do the reform myself, these matters of management…. I’m very disorganized, I’ve never been good in this. But the cardinals of the commission are going to carry it forward. There’s [Oscar] Rodríguez Maradiaga, who carries the baton [as the group’s coordinator], there’s [the Chilean Francisco Javier] Errázuriz, they’re very organized. The one from Munich [Reinhard Marx] is also very organized. They will take it forward…. Pray for me that I make the fewest mistakes possible.”

    So, two of the cardinals who are closest to Francis have now both attacked Mueller. Both have had nothing to offer except ad hominem and bluster; certainly not even the hint of a cogent argument from them. We need to pray harder for the Pope, he has already made mistakes with Maradiaga and Marx.

  36. Pat says:

    Father Z, another “doctrinal-alert” I hope you can investigate: the Congregation for Clergy is revising a very important document, the Ratio fundamentalis, that governs all aspects of formation in Catholic seminaries. If am not mistaken, this initiative began under the former Prefect. Now, with Card. Piacenza gone, it will be important to find out how and who is putting forward changes to the Ratio.

  37. Bosco says:

    This brewing civil war within the Vatican cries out for a UN peacekeeping force. After all there is recent precedent for joint UN – Vatican cooperation., a co-operation prominently noted in the Irish Independent’s coverage on 17 January 2014.


  38. jhayes says:

    Andrew, thanks for the link to Cardinal Maradiaga’s speech in Miami, from which you quoted:

    “The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin – these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II – nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue.”

    That sounds very similar to Benedict’s statement:

    “The Second Vatican Council, with its new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or even corrected certain historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has actually preserved and deepened her inmost nature and true identity.”


    Which didn’t dispute that VII had changed “certain historical decisions” but that “the continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned”

    [Purposeful over-simplification?]

  39. Nordic Breed says:

    I saw a news clip of Rodriguez Maradiaga right before the conclave that elected Pope Benedict. He clearly stated that he thought he (Rodriguez) would be a good choice for Pope. I froze. “This man is dangerous,” I thought, and felt afraid at the thought that he might be elected. It was my first exposure to him. This Cardinal was not having a bad day. He was being his usual self.

  40. acardnal says:

    jhayes, I don’t agree that there is much similarity between the statements Francis and Benedict. I prefer the words of Pope Saint Pius X himself regarding Modernists and not revisionist theology and dogma:

    “Progress” of dogmas is, in reality, nothing but corruption of dogmas . . . I absolutely reject the heretical doctrine of the evolution of dogma, as passing from one meaning to another, and different from the sense in which the Church originally held it.”

  41. Bosco says:

    “harundinem quassatam non confringet et linum fumigans non extinguet donec eiciat ad victoriam iudicium” Matthew 12:20 The preference for the pastoral approach towards the sinner?

  42. Genesispete says:

    Simple – Muller cool; Maradiaga uncool. “Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio… Amen!”

  43. The Cobbler says:

    The ironic thing is that there are many lessons to be learned in the real real world (by which I mean the world where we average peasants work and live, not the social artifice that people usually refer to with the words “real world”) — mostly about dealing with people who aren’t bureaucrats and about how the average person thinks, but also about hard work and sacrifice (not that you can’t get those lessons elsewhere, either, for that matter, but there are few better ways than an ordinary, servile job… or the military…), about being practical, and about not outmanuevering yourself — and some of these lessons are even ones that some of our shepherds would probably be the better for learning (though I can think of plenty in the lower ranks who need it more than anyone in the higher ranks, so to speak, which is another story)…

    …but “Theology does not work” is no more one of them than “Astrophysics does not work” is, just because it is somewhat abstract and goes beyond dealing with people on the ground. You can’t get from the one, the real lessons in this world, to the other, the denial of anything that is inconvenient in the world, except by a leap of logic so giant it should not be attempted even on the moon.

    (Apologies for the nonlinear exposition. I would attempt to clean it up, but the result would probably just be rambling.)

  44. jhayes says:

    acardnal wrote I prefer the words of Pope Saint Pius X himself regarding Modernists and not revisionist theology and dogma

    That’s essentially what the SSPX said and the reason their negotiaions with Benedict collapsed. They would say “Gaudiam et Spes” says something different from the Syllabus of Pius IX – therefore it is wrong and cannot be accepted (and the same for Quanta Cura, etc).

    Whereas, Cardinal Ratzinger, in “Principles of Catholic Theology” said “Gaudiam et Spes” was a necessary revision of the Syllabus – a kind of “Counter-Syllabus”

    If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text [of the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes] as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter syllabus…

    As a result, the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789….

    The task is not, therefore, to suppress the Council but to discover the real Council and to deepen its true intention in the light of present experience. That means that there can be no return to the Syllabus, which may have marked the first stage in the confrontation with liberalism and a newly conceived Marxism but cannot be the last stage.

    In his 2005 Christmas Speech as Pope (which I linked in my earlier post), Benedict expanded on that and said that in comparing new and old statements of the Church, it is necessary to distinguish between principles and contingent decisions:

    In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church’s decisions on contingent matters – for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible – should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.

    On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.

    Basic decisions, therefore, continue to be well-grounded, whereas the way they are applied to new contexts can change.

    The Christmas Address is worth reading for a more detailed explanation of Benedict’s view that the VII Documents, while differing from past statements of Church’s decisions are not in conflict with them.

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