The German cardinal underlined that Pope Francis “rightly insists on the unconditional recognition of Vatican II.”
“Nobody can call himself a Catholic who either wants to go back behind Vatican II (or any other council recognized by the pope) as the time of the ‘true’ Church or wants to leave that Church behind as an intermediate step towards a ‘new Church,’” he said.
Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith from 2012 to 2017, also said that the Church must not “pass on its responsibility for unity in cult to the Bishops’ Conferences ... Presumptions that one may “improve” the verba domini (e.g. pro multis – 'for many' – at the consecration, the et ne nos inducas in tentationem – 'and lead us not into temptation' – in the Our Father), contradict the truth of the faith and the unity of the Church much more than celebrating Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII."
The cardinal’s statement comes at a time when many bishops in Europe have yet to respond publicly to the motu proprio on the extraordinary form.
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising told CNA Deutsch that it is “currently examining the relevant implementation / regulation.” The Archdiocese of Berlin said when the motu proprio would be implemented cannot be foreseen there in the middle of the summer holidays.
The motu proprio stated that it is a diocesan bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese.
“A little more knowledge of Catholic dogmatics and the history of the liturgy could counteract the unfortunate formation of opposing parties and also save the bishops from the temptation to act in an authoritarian, loveless, and narrow-minded manner against the supporters of the ‘old’ Mass,” Cardinal Müller said.
Bishops are appointed as “shepherds by the Holy Spirit,” he explained, not “merely representatives of a central office – with opportunities for advancement.”
“The good shepherd can be recognized by the fact that he worries more about the salvation of souls than recommending himself to a higher authority by subservient ‘good behavior.’ If the law of non-contradiction still applies, one cannot logically castigate careerism in the Church and at the same time promote careerists,” he added.
“Let us hope that the Congregations for Religious and for Divine Worship, with their new authority, do not become inebriated by power and think they have to wage a campaign of destruction against the communities of the old rite – in the foolish belief that by doing so they are rendering a service to the Church and promoting Vatican II.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.