Müller, Küng, Marx, and St. Joan of Arc
Cardinal Müller Put under Pressure and Hans Küng is Encouraged; Saint Joan of Arc as the Patron Saint for our Sustained Combat
On this Feast of St. Athanasius, and inspired by the story of Saint Joan of Arc, I was encouraged to write this article.
At the end of last week, three major events happened that are very troubling for faithful Catholics. One event relates to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, one to Father Hans Küng, and the third relates to Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
First of all, reports came to us that Carlos Osoro, the archbishop of Madrid, Spain, forbade Cardinal Gerhard Müller from presenting his new book on hope at the Catholic University San Dámaso, because this book is — Osoro alleges — “against the pope”. Guiseppe Nardi, who first reported this story in German on Katholisches.info, refers to the original Spanish source, Infovaticana.com. I report here on this story since, from other sources as well, I know it to be the truth.
Infovaticana also surprisingly reports that Archbishop Osoro has been incorrectly reporting, in his official Curriculum Vitae (which he had once sent to the Vatican), that he has four licentiates, namely in philosophy, theology, natural science, and pedagogy. As has now been confirmed, Osoro, in fact, does not have those licentiates. After Infovaticana had also reported on his scandalous treatment of the head of Doctrine in Rome, Osoro has now said that he himself will participate at the presentation of Cardinal Müller’s book, but it still will not take place at his own university. Rather, the presentation will happen at the private University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid. It is unlikely that the archbishop would have given such a prohibition to a senior cardinal of the Church, had he not felt a sense of assured protection from above. In fact this incident seems only possible due to the fact that, indeed, there is an objective disagreement between Pope Francis’ reforms and Cardinal Müller’s doctrinal position which affirms and preserves the traditional teaching of the Church.
In addition, it has now been reported that that Cardinal Müller was not given the copy of the final version of Amoris Laetitia – but only, instead, a much less problematic text – for his own final doctrinal review. It is once more due to the important work of Guiseppe Nardi that this important fact – which has subsequently been confirmed by other sources – was reported first in Italy, and has now been made known far and wide. While it seems clear that the orthodox forces – with Cardinal Müller at the top – are being increasingly ignored, pushed aside and even bypassed, the progressive forces are in fact being further promoted and now also encouraged in other ways.
Therefore, it is important to report on the second important event of the last week: the encouragement of the progressivist, Father Hans Küng, who was removed in 1979 from his teaching position as a Catholic theologian under Pope John Paul II for his heterodox teaching. For now, it seems, his hour in the spotlight has at last come. As the National Catholic Reporter first reported, Hans Küng has now received a personal letter from Pope Francis in which he is encouraged to discuss – and thereby effectively to question – the Dogma of Papal Infallibility itself! This story has now been reported also by the official Vatican website in German, on Radio Vatikan, as well as by the official website of the Swiss bishops. The pope’s encouragement comes in response to an open letter to the Holy Father written by Küng in March of 2016. In it, he requested an open discussion of this settled dogma. He also explained rather explicitly why he wanted to question this Dogma: namely, because Papal Infallibility is now is a barrier that makes impossible the further reforms of the Church in many other fields. Küng wrote:
The themes [of reform that came up in recent times]were: agreements among the different confessions; mutual acceptance of the offices and of the celebrations of the Last Supper; questions of divorce of marriage and of the ordination of women; concerning forced celibacy [sic]and the catastrophic lack of priests; and, finally, and especially, concerning the leadership of the Catholic Church.
This proposed agenda for further reforms shows that the essential parts of the Catholic Faith are already under attack by the notably heterodox Swiss theologian. And now, it seems, he continues his assault with the support of the Vicar of Christ, who has been put in his office for the express purpose of defending the irreformable Deposit of Faith!
The third event — no less discouraging to the faithful who loyally cling to Christ, His Church, and her teaching as it has been handed down to us from the Apostles — relates to a position of prominence recently given to German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops conference and proponent of the Kasper proposal. This same cardinal – who only a year ago had announced that Germany would go its own way if the synods on the family spoke up against the German bishops’ own approach toward the “remarried” divorcees – has now been given the distinction of presenting and discussing approvingly the papal document Amoris Laetitia in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s offical newspaper! On 27 April, Cardinal Reinhard Marx praised Amoris Laetitia, saying:
Instead, he [Pope Francis] leads this doctrine back to its kernel and to the language that comes from the Gospels so that some things can be newly discovered. Even the indication that existing doctrines and norms of the Church are in need of an adaptation in the pastoral practice, is not [however]a novelty which Pope Francis introduces.
Cardinal Marx does not explain here, however, the way in which a change in the doctrinal teaching of the Church concerning those couples objectively living in the state of sin would putatively lead “the doctrine back to the language of the Gospels.” Mathias von Gersdorff, one of the most courageous defenders of the Catholic Truth in Germany, has raised the question as to whether German priests will now soon be compelled to admit “remarried” divorcees to the Sacraments. Knowing well the position of the German Bishops’ Conference under the leadership of Cardinal Marx in this matter, von Gersdorff raises the following question:
Should the German Bishops’ Conference come to instruct pastors and other pastoral workers to give Holy Communion to remarried divorcees (if only in individual cases), conservative priests would be put in front of a grave decision of conscience. For, they would be ultimately forced to commit a sacrilege; that is to say, an especially grave sin. They of course can turn to Rome, but nothing indicates that they would receive help from there.
The Catholic Church, therefore, faces a very serious situation, where many vulnerable souls are at stake and where there seems to be a growing atmosphere of intolerance toward those who try to defend the Catholic Truth.
In this context, it was surprisingly providential for our little family when I was sent an announcement from Ignatius Press concerning a new DVD about Saint Joan of Arc that had just been released. In the middle of my recent series of articles about Amoris Laetitia, I decided to request a review copy of this film. On the evening after my open call for the pope to rescind Amoris Laetitia was published, I watched the entire well-made film late into the night. It turned out to be the right decision, since St. Joan of Arc is, in so many ways, the saint for our days!
When Saint Joan of Arc heard the call from God to unite France and to crown the true French king, the country was in a desperate situation. As it was depicted in the movie, “France was without hope.” The ongoing war and occupation sustained by the English for a long time had exhausted the French, and the lack of security and food took away most of the rest of their energies. Do we not feel sometimes like this today, though in a more spiritual than material sense?
The film beautifully depicts how Saint Joan of Arc rouses the spirit of the people. She instills in them the fire of resistance to a protracted evil and, with this newly heightened spirit, they even start winning some battles. The saint does not only gather the people to build up a strong resistance, she is also strategic; she applies the principle of “seizing, retaining, and exploiting” the initiative and not only to be reactive to the prior initiatives of the enemy. At the same time, she is also merciful with her opponent. If possible, she would rather spare the lives of the English, even though they had been deeply cruel to her people.
In addition to this spirit of trying to do the seemingly impossible and of not giving up, but, rather, trusting in God, Saint Joan also possesses a profound acceptance of God’s will. After she successfully helps Charles VII to be crowned, she receives the message from God through Saint Catherine that she will now undergo a deep suffering, that she will be betrayed by this very same king, and that she has to undergo this, too, for him and for her country. “And in the end,” she hears, “all will be well.” Little did she know that this meant that she would finally be burnt at the stake. But Joan of Arc gives herself fully into God’s providence, trusting and at the same time fighting when necessary. The movie depicts her as a strong woman who contradicts others where the truth is being opposed, and who does not put a specious authority above truth. Yet, at the same time, Joan also fears and suffers. Only at the last moment of her mortal life, surrounded by flames, a dove is portrayed as coming down from heaven – and she then understands that the words “and all will be well in the end” in fact were meant not as an assurance of her corporal liberation from the English and from her episcopal accuser of heresy, but, rather, her martyrdom.
One last and inspiring part of the movie needs to be mentioned. When our eight-year-old daughter wrote today a little review of this movie, she named as one of the three most beautiful parts of it “that Jean de Metz (a soldier who accompanies Joan of Arc in her battles and, in the end, stands there in front of her bound at the stake, holding up to her a crucifix) was so loyal to her.” During lunch, she and her brother discussed how Jean’s name is John in English, and how St. John the Evangelist was also so loyally standing next to the Cross of Our Lord. And they were not to forget the loyal St. John the Baptist, either.
I can only request that all those who read this consider purchasing this DVD, so that they, too, may be inspired by this portrayal of Saint Joan of Arc. She is our saint. She will help us continue this combat against the siege and occupation of Rome and against this seeming occupation of the Seat of Peter itself by a man who now even seems to contradict God’s Laws. Saint Joan will give us the spirit to try the impossible, to be forceful and strong when God’s truth is undermined, and, yet, to keep true charity. She will give us the strength to fight when all seems to be against us, when the Powers That Be seem to have all that they need to accomplish their maneuvers. She will teach us that he will finally win who is with God, and not against Him. She will teach us that the saints are with us, and, most of all, the Heavenly Mother.
As Sister Lucia said not long ago to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra: “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” We have been given enough to know what needs to be done. Let us do it!
Let us also remember that Saint Joan of Arc, in light of supernatural Grace, won in the end. France was finally united. So will it be so that, one day, with the help of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Catholic Church will be more fully loyal again – and radiant with love for Christ.