Vatican’s Chief of Doctrine Condemns Liberalism, Relativism, Nihilism

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by Ryan Fitzgerald  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 25, 2015   

Cardinal Gerhard Müller reviews Cdl. Sarah's new book God or Nothing

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REGENSBURG, September 25, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican's Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cdl. Gerhard Müller of Germany, is condemning a wide range of Western theological, philosophical and ideological errors like liberalism, relativism and nihilism.

In a wide-ranging review of Cdl. Robert Sarah's new critically acclaimed book, God or Nothing, Cdl. Müller, with the book, condemns everything from feminism, gender ideology and atheistic nihilism to Communion for divorced and "remarried" adulters and the infamous "spirit of Vatican II."

Cardinal Sarah is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Both he and the Church's doctrinal leader are on the same page with regard to the crises currently wreaking havoc on both the Church and the world. For example, Cdl. Müller commends Cdl. Sarah for blasting the West's neo-colonialism, in which countries like the United States try to blackmail Third-World nations into embracing sodomy and gender theory.

Cardinal Müller also endorses Cdl. Sarah's call for an authentic interpretation of Vatican II, as opposed to the so-called spirit of the Council.

The connection between society and liturgy isn't missed, either.

"In the age of the creeping or noisy de-Christianization of the Global Society, the true understanding of the liturgy and of its dignified celebration becomes a crucial question of survival for Christianity in the world of today and tomorrow," he notes. "In order to be able to fulfill this task, one needs more than a professional knowledge of the art of the liturgy in the stricter sense."

He continues with praise for Cdl. Sara, as well as profound philosophical insight:

The intellectual horizon of a Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has to have permeated intellectually the philosophical, fundamentally theological, the dogmatic and cultural, as well as political preconditions and conditions of being a Christian in modern and postmodern times. Only a deep and thorough diagnosis of the spiritual and cultural structure of the globalized world can also lead to the development of a therapy which overcomes the Nihilism — as the common denominator of all expectations and yearnings of a world without God — and thus can make the Faith in God as the reason and purpose for man to shine anew. The liturgical incapacity of the modern man ... and the "crisis of the sacramental idea" in a conscience which is reduced only to the aspect of immanence (as observed by Joseph Ratzinger), both have their roots in the monistic system of a naturalism which denies the transcendental dependency of man — both in spirit and in freedom — upon the Mystery of God. Consequently, this naturalism limits man one-dimensionally and intra-worldly and it is not capable of seeing man as a listener of the Word that points to a supernatural Revelation of God in the world, in history and in the spirit of man.

As Catholic thinkers have always emphasized, Cdl. Müller stresses that true freedom exists only in and under obedience to God. Attempts to achieve pure autonomy end ultimately in some type of slavery.

"Man is oriented toward the absolute. Only where God is above and in man, there is truth in freedom and justice in love," states Cdl. Müller. "Where man tries to take power over the absolute, he turns himself into an idol who, with the help of the clench for a totalitarian dominance, brings man sternly into line and thus enslaves him by means of a political exercise of power which makes use of the media."

The very identity of the Christian, says Cdl. Müller, consists in knowing "that from the Cross flows the true freedom, the true happiness of man and his eternal salvation."

Moving on, the cardinal sets his critical sight on the hedonism prevalent in modern culture and media. He laments the loss of celibacy among an increasingly materialistic people.

"Celibacy is only understood by spiritual people," he insists. "To the sophisticated and secular man, it appears to be a relic of an age in which the faithful relied completely on God."

He says today's form of hedonism "considers celibacy to be the object of hate per se. Consequently, it is misinterpreted, under suspicion, and ridiculed by those who are only able to assess the Catholic priesthood in the worldly categories of a cult official or a social worker (who, at times, wears strange clothes) or a life coach."

Without naming names, Cdl. Müller goes on to decry how even Church-affiliated charity groups have lost sight of the necessity to spread the joy of the Gospel, of Christ. "Some Catholic charitable organizations are today even embarrassed to speak about God," he says. "They want to limit themselves to purely humane activities, in order to avoid the reproach of proselytism."

The doctrinal chief relates such thinking to dangerous ideological currents that are intentionally secularizing and de-Christianizing the Western world.

At the end, the review of the ideologues who seek to establish an empire of merely earthly welfare — in contradistinction to the Faith in God — turns out not only to be sobering, but also to be shattering, even if one would only but limit oneself to consider the 20th century. Who, specifically, is astonished about the indifference among Western politicians and public opinion leaders concerning the immense cruelties against the Christians of Africa and of the Near East, when, after all, their overall goal is the de-Christianization of Europe and of the whole world? In the eyes of the enemies of the Church, are the human rights, after all, to be separated or split up?

At the heart of the problem is not only a denial of the absolute, revealed Truth, but a denial of the possibility of ever knowing it, too. "The idea of a supposed equality between the religions and the Self-Revelation of God in Christ proves to be a product of Western relativism which denies the possibility of a supernatural Revelation."

Next, Cdl. Müller mentions the laudable efforts Cdl. Sarah has undertaken to seek the authentic interpretation and implementation of Vatican II. Both prelates dismiss the illegitimate and banal "spirit of Vatican II," which is often used as a pretense for ideological change and false ecumenism.

Cardinal Sarah has lived during the whole crisis of the Church which showed itself after the [Second Vatican] Council — and he has accompanied it in a biographically and intellectually alert and spiritually compassionate way. He knows that it is not the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council which is responsible for it, but the ideological and political instrumentalization of the so-called "spirit of the Council," which is, however, a spirit of progressivist ideologies. Within the frame of Modernist schemes of development, Revelation and the Dogmas of the Church are merely historically conditioned transitional stages at the end of which stands the self-divinization of man. The Revelation in Christ and its heretofore history would only be a preparatory stage for an understanding of God, world and Church in which man himself is subject and object of the Revelation at the same time. That is the true background for the thesis according to which the "life realities" are the true source of Revelation, while Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition are being reduced to mere preliminary historical stages which are being removed by the higher position of the absolute spirit which unfolds and comes to itself in man. The depositum fidei (1 Tim 6:20) — the whole truth of the Revelation which the Church and especially the Magisterium of the pope and of the bishops have to preserve faithfully — is then replaced with the opinion of the majority, as further organized by the media, in which, supposedly, is to be found the sense of the Faith of the people of God. In truth, there is not to be found a new revelation in the sense of the Faith of the people of God, but, rather, there is the Revelation of Salvation which was given by God in Jesus Christ "once and for all" (Heb 10:10) and which is being preserved completely and then applied to the People of today and of tomorrow.

Concluding his thoughts, he reminds readers, "It is not about adapting Revelation to the world, but about gaining the world for God."

One might expect students and teachers of theology to understand such a principle, but the academic world of theology hasn't been spared of the harmful effects of ideology, either.

"Instead of studying Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition," observes Cdl. Müller, "students of theology, research institutes, and survey polls concerning sexual morality only squander their time and the money which had been donated to them with the help of the Church tax payers."

He adds, "They are only determined and set resolutely so as to bring in line the Magisterium itself, as if the life of the Church would follow the laws of a party agenda." He believes it most likely that the drivers of this line of thought are probably "not aware of the consequences of such theories and they downplay their position in order to put innocent souls to sleep — especially by talking about a merely pastoral approach."

Nevertheless, says Cdl. Müller, Cdl. Sarah holds that it is "destructive for the Church when she exposes herself to the political and social media struggle for power." Ideological movements, he explains, don't seek truth, but instead merely "want to turn the Church into an opponent or collaborator of Naturalism — in its Liberal, Nationalistic, or Communist versions."

How far does the theoretical rot extend?  "The de-Christianization is to be promoted all the way into the anthropological roots," asserts Cdl. Müller.

And this certainly has consequences in the practical moral dimension. "When man in his bodily, spiritual and intellectual being is merely the product of an ideological construct — and thus owes his existence, not to the goodness of God, but, rather, to the arbitrary societal interests and ideological pressure groups — any morality will thereby be deprived of a foundation," he states.

The moral devastation thus proceeds into various specific, hot-button areas.

In the program for the destruction of morality and with the atheization of mankind, the moral code of law is turned into its opposite. The killing of a child in the mother's womb becomes a woman's right; the disposal of a severely sick person or of the dying person becomes an act of mercy; the multi-billion dollar programs to promote abortion and contraception are euphemistically declared to be part of the struggle against poverty — with the further result (and intention) that the natural resources are being preserved for the rich and are not being consummated by the armies of the poor; additionally, the self-destruction by means of drugs is now an act of self-determination, and the human trafficking with women from poor countries is only lukewarmly being combated — or, even worse, trivialized as being merely caused by themselves. The multi-billion dollar sex-and-pornography industry is nothing other than an exploitation of human beings who are already being deprived of their personal dignity. It unworthily joins the ranks of the greatest of crimes against humanity.

Gender theory, or gender ideology, is another conceptual scheme that hinders traditional Catholic thought about the sexes, namely with regard to their fruitful complementarity. Cardinal Sarah apparently demonstrates "that the gender ideology has no argumentative foundation and that it has to be seen as a consequence of the radical feminism and the purported sexual revolution of the year 1968, which did not care about the just participation of all men and women in the intellectual-cultural life," says Cdl. Müller, "but which, rather, aimed at the destruction of the bodily-intellectual identity of human beings as man and woman."

The "gay agenda," through which society's now-widespread celebration of sodomy has been promulgated, is yet another result of corrosive ideological trends. Cardinal Müller speaks with a refreshing frankness on the matter.

Concerning homosexuality, which is given disproportionate importance and weight — compared to the fateful questions of humanity — the Church alone defends the dignity of each person. The Church rejects the game with the concerned persons [homosexuals] and protects them against their instrumentalization for the sake of the ideological proof that man is not made by God, but, rather, that he is a product of societal self-and-external determination which one could thereby manipulate in a random fashion. The human dignity and the civil rights of man and woman of these persons [homosexuals] are, however, not at all part of the open debate here. By legally and socially placing the marriage of man and woman on the same foot and level with a sexual relationship between persons of the same sex, marriage in its essence as a unity of body, life and love between a man and a woman is thus destroyed. Therefore, the foundation of the future of mankind is being altogether removed in a biological, mental and cultural way. That is the truth which shines through the nebulous wall of propaganda and agitation. The goal of the gender ideology and of radical feminism is not the recognition of the personal dignity of human beings with homosexual inclinations, but, rather, the destruction of the marriage between man and woman and thus the destruction of the family which naturally flows out of the life-long bond between man and woman as father and mother of their common children.

Gender ideology is, unfortunately, not just a problem to be fought in the West. As Pope Francis has lamented many times, gender theory is being pushed by blackmail in Third-World countries in Africa. Cardinals Müller and Sarah are no less keen to the insidious plots.

It is only a subtle neo-Colonialism when the Development Aid for Africa — as offered by international organizations and Gender-Ideology-States — is connected with the adaptation of this destructive ideology. "They shall rather starve to death if they do not want to expose themselves to our brain washing"; this is the shameless blackmail. The demon of European and Anglo-Saxon pride resurrects itself again when students from the poorest countries are given a dose of mainstreaming and lessons in Gleichschaltung [phasing] — funded, of course, with the help of Western tax money — so that they shall bring into line in their own homelands the Elderly who are still [purportedly] caught up in a pre-rational way of thinking, in view of their own taboos, and who are thus still untouched by the wisdom of the gender ideology.

"The Church owes to the people the truth of God," declares Cdl. Müller. Yet, he adds, "now, even from within the Church, there is a call for a new sexual morality, some people might then — while ignoring the truth of the Gospels — consider this call to be a liberating removal of burdens, a removal of pressure from family, media, the working place, and would, thus, welcome it."

However, man is not helped by an old Pagan sexual teaching which is being praised anew which is based upon false anthropological premises and which contradicts in a diametrically opposed way the Commandments of God and which is, from the standpoint of Revelation, to be qualified as being heretical. Only that which is morally good and which is in accordance with God's will can lead man to happiness and salvation. Entirely apart from the fact that hedonism itself is an age-old heresy and has as its theoretical foundation only the atheistic Nihilism, one can only — in the light of such an atheistic anthropology — consider sexuality as a morally free space in which there exist merely a few external rules. However, from its essence, sexuality itself is exposed to be accountable to the moral principle of the discernment of good and evil: Namely, that it has as its criterion — with the help of the unity of the person in soul and body — love and its self-giving, without reservation and without calculation or mutual instrumentalization.

Sins, sexual or not, can always be forgiven, and mercy is always plentiful, Cdl. Müller, with Cdl. Sarah, is quick to remind us. "We all know ... that we are sinners and that, especially in the realm of sexuality, there shows itself to be seen very clearly the weakness of man to integrate the bodiliness into the being as a person."

"God never refuses His forgiveness to that man who sees his misconduct and who sincerely repents his guilt, and He also gave to the Church that authority to forgive all sins in the Sacrament of Penance," says Cdl. Müller.

A particularly grievous offense, though, is when sins are not identified or called out as such. And as scandalous as that would be, positively endorsing or supporting those evils would be even worse. In this, the "Kasper proposal" for the Church to allow divorced and "remarried" adulterers to receive Communion comes to mind.

"The scandal does not lie in the fact that the Sixth Commandment has been violated," explains Cdl. Müller. "The real scandal would be — and it would be the apostasy of the Church from God — if the Church would not anymore name the differences between good and evil; or if She — in a shameful way — would even declare that to be good which God declares to be a sin; or if one would even refer to God with pious words in order to justify the sin, instead of the sinner."

 

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