Catholic World News

New CDF prefect: post-Vatican II problems were not caused by Vatican II

October 04, 2012

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that “the problems that we had after the [Second Vatican] Council were not caused by the Council.” “The development of the secularist mentality, for instance, had nothing to do with the Council,” Archbishop Gerhard Müller continued. “It came about before the Council, in the 19th century, when we had secularism promoted by liberals who denied the supernatural and saw the Church only in terms of a charitable institution.” Archbishop Müller added:
The role of the Church is not only to help in the social field; its secondary mission is to help the bonum commune [the common good]. But the first reason for its existence is to preach the Gospel and thus give hope to the world. Therefore, we have an interlinking between the event of the Council and assault of secularism. The waves of secularism began to undermine the Church long before the Council, but they accumulated into a tsunami at the same time as the great event of the Council. Partly because of this coincidence, a certain type of secularism then found its way into the inner circles of the Church.

The result is that we now not only have secularism coming from outside the Church, but we have a type of liberalism within the Church which has caused us to lose our direction a little. We must look to our own resources — the Scriptures, the Fathers, the dogmatic teachings of the Church — and, like a good captain, steer the way ahead.

Asked about the Society of St. Pius X, he said, “We have breakaway groups, not only on the traditionalist wing, but also on the liberal wing. I think that some have developed sets of ideas, which they have formed into an ideology, and then they judge all things in the context of this one set of ideas.”

Archbishop Müller criticized the view that the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on religious liberty contradicted preconciliar teaching.

“That is not true — it’s a false interpretation of history,” he said. “In the 19th century, the freemasons or liberals interpreted religious freedom as the freedom to reject the truth given by God. It was this false notion of religious freedom that the popes of the 19th century rejected, and the Second Vatican Council repeats that we are not free to reject the truth. It is on another level, on the level of human rights, that everyone has to be true to himself or herself and act according to his or her own conscience.”

“Furthermore, the Church cannot, on the doctrinal level, contradict herself — that is impossible. Any perceived contradiction is caused by false interpretation.”

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 04, 2012 10:33 PM ET USA

    "The result is that we now not only have secularism coming from outside the Church, but we have a type of liberalism within the Church which has caused us to lose our direction a little." Something familiar in all this. Direction, orientation and such things. What are the implications for the ship at sea losing direction? The loss of direction has been significant and it has placed many at risk. "A Little" has little to do with "us" losing our direction. It's always a big deal for souls.