Cdl. Müller: Humanae Vitae Infallible

by Alexander Slavsky  •  •  March 12, 2018   

To change the teaching is 'a crime against the Church'

You are not signed in as a Premium user; we rely on Premium users to support our news reporting. Sign in or Sign up today!

ROME ( - The Vatican's former doctrine chief is reaffirming that contraception is intrinsically evil.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller spoke Wednesday at Rome's Lateran University on the infallibility of the Church's ban on artificial birth control taught in Humanae Vitae: "[M]aterially it is infallible, because it belongs to Christian anthropology and revealed anthropology and natural anthropology."

"God is the Creator and the parents are the servants of divine providence, which includes the existence of men," Müller went on.

"[T]he current attempt to put in contrast the last three pontificates, with the pretext of imposing an heterodox teaching to the faithful is a crime against the Church and a betrayal of her mission and mandate," he continued, "whose final task is that of preserving the faith authentically inherited by the Apostles."
Müller's comments came during a launch of a new book by Fr. Paweł Stanisław Gałuszka, Karol Wojtyła and Humanae Vitae, which evaluates the insights that Cdl. Karol Wojtyła (later Pope St. John Paul II) and the Polish bishops contributed to Paul VI's encyclical when Wojtyła was archbishop of Krakow.
The book includes a number of documents that have never been published, including a letter that Wojtyła sent to Paul VI in 1969 after many bishops expressed disapproval of Humanae Vitae. The letter proposes that the Holy See "contemplate a series of provisions aimed at helping priests and laity" to settle issues over the "harmful" interpretations of the document while also proclaiming its teaching dogmatic and infallible.
Msgr. Livio Melina

Monsignor Livio Melina, former president of the John Paul II Institute in Rome, attended Müller's lecture along with Vatican key figures, including German Cdl. Walter Brandmüller and Polish Dominican Fr. Wojciech Giertych, theologians of the pontifical household, and Bp. Jean Laffitte, a prelate of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Melina noted that the Church's ban on birth control has not been dogmatically defined ex cathedra, yet the teaching "belongs to the universal ordinary magisterium" and is infallible.

He also insisted the media's portrayal of Wojtyła as a "rigid" traditionalist versus a "more open" Paul VI is "fake news."

"Cardinal Wojtyla did not ask Paul VI to declare that the encyclical is infallible," explained Msgr. Melina. "He just asked to reiterate that the teachings in it are part of the Church's ordinary [universal] magisterium, [which is] infallible."

His Eminence referred to an article, "Re-read Humanae Vitae in light of Amoris Laetitia," by Italian theologian Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. This article was drawn from a lecture Chiodi delivered in December at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University, part of its series of conferences around the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The university has a group headed by professor Gilberto Marengo to study the genesis of the encyclical.

"There are circumstances that require the use of contraception," Chiodi said. "An artificial method for the regulation of birth could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out," calling "the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality."

Cardinal Müller insisted that any discussion to either change or 'reinterpret' the teaching of Humanae Vitae is 'a crime against the Church.'

Cardinal Müller insisted that any discussion to either change or "reinterpret" the teaching of Humanae Vitae is "a crime against the Church." He also regarded the discussion "only based on dualism, and this will make a bad service to the Church."

The encyclical "goes beyond the sterile polarization between artificial and natural birth regulation," said Müller. It "has a positive message, as it looks at men in their entirety."

His Eminence emphasized that "secularization dupes men, depriving them of God," which is "an anthropological deficit, as it abandons men to despair and uselessness." He calls "the paradigm of secularization" "nihilism."

Müller's five-year term at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ended in July after rumors of conflict between him and Pope Francis. The cardinal has spoken up in defense of marriage and the sacraments.


Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.

We rely on you to support our news reporting. Please donate today.
By commenting on you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our comment posting guidelines