Austrian Monsignor: Pontificate of Francis Is ‘Divisive’

by David Nussman  •  •  October 3, 2017   

Msgr. Gerhard Maria Wagner laments ongoing confusion, off-the-cuff remarks

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DETROIT ( - In a recent interview, Msgr. Gerhard Maria Wagner is discussing the divisiveness and confusion within the Church during Pope Francis' pontificate.

In a Sunday piece for the Italian Catholic news outlet La Feda Quotidiana (LFQ), the Austrian monsignor laments the theological chaos inside the Church, which has come to the forefront in recent years.

Monsignor Wagner is asked about the Filial Correction, which was submitted to the Holy Father in August and made public in September. He admits some reservations about the document but affirms the Church's dire need for theological clarity.

He told LFQ, "The heretic or non-heretic theme is excessive for me. But I can say with certainty that the Church is experiencing a moment of serious doctrinal and pastoral confusion."

The monsignor continues, "The problem also arises from the incomprehensible choice of making no clarity about Amoris Laetitia and not responding to the cardinals' dubia. What did it cost?"

The interview addresses various sources of confusion in the Church today. Monsignor Wagner argues that the pope's controversial 2016 encyclical, Amoris Laetitia, "is a somewhat ambiguous text that puts our faithful and priests at a disadvantage."

But I can say with certainty that the Church is experiencing a moment of serious doctrinal and pastoral confusion.

He explains, "We often do not know what to do and how to behave, and we see it with diverse practical applications all over the world — a situation which can even slip into relativism."

"The big problem," Msgr. Wagner claims, "is that apostasy and even heresy in the Church have existed long before Amoris Laetitia. The quoted text does nothing but increase confusion and division, and this pontificate is divisive."

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La Feda Quotidiana then asked Msgr. Wagner whether the divorced and civilly remarried can be admitted to Holy Communion without repentance and change of lifestyle. "Absolutely not" was his response. "Doctrine does not change, and no document can do this and go against the Gospel and the catechism; the pope or the popes are not the masters of the Church. In my opinion, the answer lies in the Gospel."

The monsignor also expressed his disagreement with the pope's statements on the politics of immigration. "I fear that in less than 30 years Europe will be Muslim," he remarked, "and then we must react and be careful to understand that Islam is not a religion of peace and represents a danger."

He went on to note, "On Islam and migrants, I believe that the pope, whose intentions are certainly good, speaks too frequently, often off the cuff and with no caution as Benedict XVI did."

As many prominent Catholics have argued in recent months, immigration policy is a matter of national sovereignty and as such is beyond the limits of the Church's doctrinal infallibility.

"The big problem with bishops and popes weighing in on immigration, economics, or climatology: It's outside their competence," said John Zmirak of The Stream, writing for the new Catholic apostolate Serviam. "They have no special knowledge or authority. So they become like a traffic cop who stops you — to offer you orthodontic advice."


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