John Vennari: Mueller on Francis’ “Lack of Theological Structure”

www.cfnews.org/page88/files/4612b11ab534bf6eabb520ccdec2da04-362.html

7 April 2015

CFN note: We are aware that Müller is a Vatican II, ecumenical prelate. Yet even he sees the lack of theological prowess of Pope Francis, and recommends that the CDF provide the “theological structure of a pontificate”. As the last line reads, “…according to Müller, the current pontificate – and John XXIII’s too – lacks sufficient theological ‘structure’.” – jv

The German cardinal has suggested a new area of responsibility for his dicastery: to provide the “theological structure of a pontificate”

ANDREA TORNIELLI

VATICAN CITY

In one of the numerous interviews he has given over the past few weeks focusing on the next Synod, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke about a new task for his dicastery. It is a task that is never been mentioned in the documents outlining the precise competencies of the former Holy Office.

In an interview with French Catholic newspaper La Croix, the German cardinal stated: “The arrival of a theologian like Benedict XVI in the Chair of St. Peter was no doubt an exception. But John XXIII was not a professional theologian. Pope Francis is also more pastoral and our mission at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to provide the theological structure of a pontificate.” So according to Müller’s statement, the former Holy Office must “theologically structure” Pope Francis’ pontificate. And this is probably the reason why the Prefect gives public statements on such a frequent basis, like never before.

This is a significant piece of news bearing in mind what is stated in article 48 of “Pastor Bonus”, the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia promulgated by John Paul II in 1988, that: “The proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world.”

While the Pope “by the will of Christ Himself”, as Francis recalled at the end of the 2014 Synod, is the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Canon 749). Until a few decades ago (the last to do so was Paul VI) it was the Pope himself who personally presided over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, precisely because of this task which, by virtue of the Petrine primacy, only he has the power to exercise. A primacy which belongs to the Bishop of Rome, which involves presiding “in charity” and resolving theological questions where needed.

Cardinal Müller’s words – which introduced the new task of “provid[ing] the theological structure of a pontificate”, a task that had not been formalised until now – went practically unnoticed. While on the one hand his words open up new doctrinal scenarios in relation to Church tradition, on the other hand they seem to suggest that, according to Müller, the current pontificate – and St John XXIII’s too – lacks sufficient theological “structure”.

Originally posted at Vatican Insider

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3 comments on “John Vennari: Mueller on Francis’ “Lack of Theological Structure”


  1. Captain Kirk: Mister Spock! Vatican II, the current papacy, and lack of theological structure….
    analyze using your usual superior Vulcan logic!

    Spock: It is possible, Captain, that the lack of coherent structure and its weaknesses
    are something that has attracted the attention of some bishops and theologians.
    However, I must point out that the ideology of progress underlying the progressive modernism of Vatican II
    has not yet been thoroughly examined with logical rigor or acuity by adherents to modernism.

    Captain Kirk: Is that a problem, Spock?

    Spock: It is if the Catholic faith, the Church, and Western civilization are in fact declining, Captain.
    Progressive modernism would then risk being the theological equivalent of arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    The Professor: Well, Gilligan, without mixing metaphors, the iceberg in this analogy would be Vatican II
    while post-conciliar progressive modernism would be the Titanic.
    The Cardinal and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would be offering lifeboats.
    Gilligan: What about the orchestra on the Titanic?
    The Professor: Possibly the Vienna Boys Choir…
    Or some of the music ministry folk groups with Yamaha guitars you find
    at suburban Novus Ordo parishes.

    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: Now, if we’re going to talk about structure,
    we really should review Fides et Ratio and Aeterni Patris.
    When we still had the Ratio Studiorum at Fordham, Georgetown, Boston College, Holy Cross,
    St. Joseph’s, Gonzaga, and the Loyolas, of course, this wasn’t a problem.

    Spock: I can pull up a complete printout on that from the computer in a few moments, Captain.

    Robin: Fides et Ratio?
    Batman: It’s technical, Robin.
    Theological and philosophical structure are part of the great legacy of the High Middle Ages.
    The Age of Faith and Reason, natural law, and the Thomistic synthesis.
    How is your Latin homework coming? Keeping up with fourth declension genitive and dative forms?
    Robin: It’s coming, Batman.
    I think I should be getting the hang of Cicero in a few weeks.

  2. Classic, Howl! Simply classic!

    LOL!

  3. So the aim is “to provide the theological structure of a pontificate.”

    Well, that’s really easy, no problem at all.

    The structure goes like this:
    On a plane – walk up and down the aisle, say whatever comes into your head.
    See a reporter – sit down, get chummy and….say whatever comes into your head.
    Walking out of a church, see newsmen…say whatever comes into your head.
    See a telephone just sitting there, pick it up, phone some lady in South America, she tells about her marriage problems….say whatever comes into your head.

    Simple system.
    Easy to do.
    …just don’t notice the chaos you leave behind you.

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