ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Gerhard Müller cautioned today that any attempts to “modernize” the Catholic Church’s transmission of Gospel teaching “brings only illusory results.”
During a speech delivered at Rome Life Forum, a conference founded by LifeSite’s editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen, Cardinal Müller stressed that fidelity to the revelation of Christ is indispensable to bishops’ authentically carrying out the teaching office of the Church.
This year’s Rome Life Forum runs from October 31 to November 1, immediately following the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality, which threatens to formalize heretical teachings.
Cardinal Müller pointed to the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum’s explanation that “This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on.”
Irenaeus of Lyons clarified that the “authentic” manifestation of the apostolic succession of the bishops is to be anchored to “Sacred Scripture” and “Apostolic Tradition,” said Cardinal Müller.
Thus, “Bishops who betray their divine mission in order to avoid being accused of proselytism or of being rigorists for defending Christian morality have forgotten the meaning and reason of their existence,” said Cardinal Müller.
He noted that the temptation to adapt the Gospel to the current trends of the world was warned against by St. Paul, who said, “If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ: the Gospel I preached did not come from men … I received it through the Revelation of Christ” (Gal 1:10f).
The cardinal underscored the fact that the early Christians were also reminded, in an admonition that is just as applicable today, that “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever! Do not be led astray by various strange doctrines” (Heb 13:7-9).
In today’s world, this means that the pope and the bishops must hold firm to the Church’s mission “for the salvation of the world in Christ” and must not attempt to adapt to or earn the approval of the world by “proving their right to exist” through serving secular ideologies, such the “eco-religion” and “anti-rational woke movement.”
Such capitulation to the world not only defies Christ but comes back to “bite” those who attempt it, Cardinal Müller pointed out. He recalled how in the 17th century, the philosopher Blaise Pascal had warned the Jesuits against moral laxity in his Lettres Provinciales, since “These ‘smart guys’ wanted to reconcile Christianity with the frivolous goings-on of the Bourbon court. But despite their willingness to secularize Christianity, they ended up being the victims of their own strategy of adaptation.”
“Bishops and theologians who have forgotten that in Christ alone we are given the fullness of grace and truth or who … think they can develop the teachings of Christ according to their own liking, should remember the words of St. Paul: ‘If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ: the Gospel I preached did not come from men … I received it through the Revelation of Christ,’” said Cardinal Müller.
He compared the clergy’s temptation today to relinquish the truth of Christ for worldly favor to that of Pontius Pilate, who hoped to be spared suffering himself by inflicting suffering upon Jesus Christ and overseeing His Crucifixion and Death.
“The advice to the Church to modernize Her true teaching of the Gospel with the help of a relativistic philosophy brings only illusory results. One must not fall for the following suggestion: If you want to reach the people of today and be loved by all, then, like Pilate, leave aside the truth, then you will spare yourself persecution, suffering, cross and death!” said Cardinal Müller.
Far from compromising “with the powerful and wise of this world,” the Church must always instead proclaim “Christ crucified: to Jews a stumbling block, to Gentiles foolishness; but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:23f).