Cdl. Gerhard Müller is the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Not long ago, he granted an interview to a German newspaper, during which he provided some rather candid remarks regarding the Society of St. Pius X. Here is how Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported that interview:
Cardinal Gerhard Müller has said he expects the Society of St. Pius X, which has always opposed the Second Vatican Council’s declarations on religious freedom and ecumenism, to “unreservedly recognize” freedom of religion as a human right, and an obligation to ecumenism.
The recognition of the Second Vatican Council is “not an unreasonably high hurdle” to overcome, he said, adding that it was rather “the adequate remedy to enter into full communion with the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.”
Key statements, even if they are not proclaimed ex cathedra [and thus infallible], are, for us Catholics, still essential,” he said, adding that it is “not acceptable to take one and reject the other.”
Müller’s comments are the complete opposite of what Abp. Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, said back in April with the French paper La Croix regarding the Society:
The acceptance of the texts on relations with other religions [Nostra Aetate] does not constitute a prerequisite for juridical recognition of the Lefebvrist society and certain questions will be able to remain objects of discussion and clarification.
The affirmations of truths of faith and of sure Catholic doctrine contained in the Second Vatican Council documents must be welcomed according to the degree of required adherence.
Müller, in my view, has spilled the beans. Rome has to be none too pleased that he’s made these comments, as they may torpedo any sort of deal between the Vatican and the Society.
On the other hand, Müller’s words seem to be nothing more than a less diplomatic way of saying what the Holy Father has always believed about a possible deal with the SSPX. When speaking with La Croix on May 9th, the Pope said the following when asked if he would be willing to grant the Society a personal prelature:
It would be a possible solution, but, before, a fundamental agreement should be established with them. The Second Vatican Council has its value. We move forward slowly, with patience.
“The Second Vatican Council has its value.” “We move forward slowly, with patience.” That’s essentially the same as what Cdl. Müller has put forth.
It seems to me that the end goal of all this odious “dialogue” between Rome and the Society has always been to get them to come over to the Council, and not to seriously entertain the criticisms of it that the SSPX has.
Scripture tells us we can judge a tree by its fruits. Can’t it be argued that despite the fact Francis may say he admires the Society, his actions indicate his intentions are full of guile? Chris Jackson over at the Remnant certainly thinks so. In an essay he just wrote for that website, Jackson rightly notes that we cannot forget “the recent brutal oppression of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate under Pope Francis.” Jackson also adds this:
It seems that Pope Francis and Msgr. Pozzo are saying the same thing and taking the same approach that Cardinal Hoyos did years ago. The difference is that Cardinal Muller is firing a warning shot letting the Society know that sooner or later they must accept the Council. And once the SSPX is regularized and has a canonical structure under Rome, what position are they in to oppose a Roman authority insisting they accept contended novelties of the Council? At that point couldn’t Francis, Pozzo, or Muller demand that the SSPX accept ecumenism and religious liberty under obedience?
Michal Matt, the Remnant’s editor in chief, has also expressed doubt over a possible deal between Rome and the Society:
One can speculate as to whether or not the Pope’s bizarre no-strings-attached offer to regularize the Society of St. Pius X isn’t also connected in some way to the same old utopian dream of a ‘one world religion’, in that everyone and anyone–even ‘rad trad’ traditionalists–must be brought into the circle if the religious component of the New World Order is ever to become a reality…
Tough to disagree, is it not?