Cardinal Müller: View expressed by Cardinal Marx “an absolutely anti-Catholic idea”
26 March 2015
The following questions put to Cardinal Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, refer to Cardinal Marx’s views on the doctrinal authority of bishops’ conferences and his suggestion that the Church in Germany could decide for itself on a “pastoral” approach to the admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion.
An extract from the Rorate Caeli translation:
[FC:] Could certain doctrinal or disciplinary decisions on marriage and family be delegated to the episcopal conferences?
[Müller:] It is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the Catholicity of the Church. Episcopal conferences have authority on certain matters, but they are not a magisterium beside the Magisterium, without the Pope and without communion with all bishops.
[FC:] Recently, a German bishop [Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference] said that the episcopal conference that he chairs is not a “branch of Rome.” What do you think of this?
[Müller:] An episcopal conference is not a particular council, even less so an ecumenical council. The president of an episcopal conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and he does not have any particular magisterial authority due to this title. Hearing that an episcopal conference is not a “branch of Rome” gives me the occasion to recall that dioceses are not the branches of the secretariat of a bishops’ conference either, nor of the diocese whose bishop presides over the episcopal conference. This kind of attitude risks in fact the reawakening of a certain polarization between the local Churches and the Church universal, out of date since the Vatican I and Vatican II councils. The Church is not a sum of national churches, whose presidents would vote to elect their chief on the universal level.
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