VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is reiterating Catholic teaching on the male-only priesthood.
In a written statement to LifeSiteNews on Thursday, Cdl. Gerhard Müller affirmed that the Church's ban on female deacons and priests is an infallible dogma of the Faith.
"The demand that the Amazon Synod must rule that the Sacrament of Holy Orders — in its first degree, the diaconate — may also be validly administered to women, contains several errors," observed Müller.
"The first error consists of the opinion that the Magisterium stands above Revelation and that a synod of bishops (with merely a consultative character), an ecumenical council, or the Pope alone could alter the substance of the sacraments," he explained.
"The second error lies in the opinion that the Sacrament of Holy Orders really consists of three Sacraments," Müller continued, "so that one has accordingly to decide whether [Pope John Paul II's] declaration Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994) merely applies to the ordination degree of the bishop, or of the presbyter (= the priest), or of the deacon."
"The third error consists of misleading a theologically uninformed public by putting forth the thesis that the definitive decision of Pope John Paul II," the cardinal noted, "namely 'that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful' is not a dogma."
Cardinal Müller refuted all three errors, declaring:
It is certainly without doubt, however, that this definitive decision from Pope John Paul II is indeed a dogma of the Faith of the Catholic Church and that this was of course the case already before this Pope defined this truth as contained in Revelation in the year 1994. The impossibility that a woman validly receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders in each of the three degrees is a truth contained in Revelation and it is thus infallibly confirmed by the Church's Magisterium and presented as to be believed.
"When it comes to a dogma, one has to differentiate between the substantive and the formal side," Müller explained. "The revealed truth which is being expressed in it ... does not therefore depend upon the external form of the definition."
"The essential statements of the Creed, for example, have not been formally defined," he noted, "but they have been defined in their substance and in an exquisite manner, and they are presented by the Church as statements that have to be believed for the sake of salvation."
Müller's statement comes on the heels of an assertion by Austro-Brazilian Bp. Erwin Kräutler — lead author of the Amazon Synod's heretical Instrumentum Laboris, or working document — that Pope John Paul II's teaching on the invalidity of female ordinations is not an infallible dogma.
"I know it is not easy to oppose exclusion of women from the ordained priesthood, as it has been cemented by Pope John Paul II in his 1994 apostolic document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," Kräutler told German media late last month. "But, even if the Pope explained at the time that 'all the faithful of the Church are definitely to hold this decision,' it is nevertheless not a dogma."
Commenting on the perspective of Churchmen like Kräutler, Müller observed:
Some people now suggest that the doctrine that only a baptized man (who meets the necessary objective and subjective preconditions) may validly receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders is instead to be relativized, namely as an intermittent, private opinion of John Paul II, because some theologians or bishops are of the subjective opinion that this doctrine is not a dogma.
"According to the thesis of Modernism as condemned by the Magisterium ... a dogma of the Catholic Faith is not the definitive and irreversible insight of the Church that a truth is contained in Revelation," he continued, "but it is, rather, an expression of the dominant opinion which has gained, with the help of journalistic strategies, the authority of the Pope who then happens to be reigning."
"The Word of God in Scripture and Tradition and the fact that the Magisterium is bound, in substance, to the unique and unparalleled Revelation in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of the Faith, is here being replaced by an ecclesial-political loyalty to the line of the actual Pope," the cardinal warned, "but only under the condition that he is in accord with their own opinion."
"These same 'false brothers' — who now wish to turn the ecclesial loyalty of each Catholic toward the Pope into an unconditional submission under this one man and into a senseless sacrificium intellectus — belonged to the most ruthless enemies of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Müller noted.
"Moreover, this same ideological camp now presents itself in their well-known magazines, websites, and so-called non-fiction books as defender of the reform Pope, without noticing that they undermine, with their politicization of the papal authority, the theological foundation of the Petrine Office," he wrote.
"Catholics are not anymore to believe in God, but in the Pope, whom the mainstream ideologues inside and outside the Church present as 'their Pope,'" he added. "These ideologues themselves then condemn, in a shocking fit of religious mania, every clear-minded Catholic, faithful bishop, and priest as enemy of 'their Pope.'"
Müller concluded: "If the Amazon Synod is to become a blessing for the whole Church and to strengthen her unity in the truth, instead of weakening it, the thinking along the lines of parties and ideologies has to stop."