Here’s the FULL TRANSCRIPT of Raymond Arroyo’s interview with Cardinal Gerhard Mueller from 5/25/2017:
Cardinal Gerhard MÜLLER
Prefect – The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Interviewer – Raymond Arroyo (Managing Editor/Lead Anchor EWTN News)
Friday May 12, 2017
ARROYO: I want to start with your book, The Cardinal Müller Report which has a vague reference to your predecessor’s, The Cardinal Ratzinger Report, from many years ago. It focuses on hope and the various dimensions of hope throughout the Church, the world, the family. Where is hope most lacking, in your mind, and how do people miss it?
MÜLLER: Well the title is not only a vague link but it’s a directly wanted link because he spoke about the report, about the faith and we have another theological virtue which is a hope very linked, surely, with the faith and the love and we know and remember the big encyclical of Benedict, about Deus Caritas Est, God is Love. And therefore in our time what we think we need is hope, to have orientation for this short time of our earthly life. But we are waiting a long life, the eternity because we are created for the communion with God in love. And therefore we cannot restrict our existence only to the efforts in this world.
ARROYO: You’ve spoken at great length about Islamic terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism you call it, not dissimilar to President Trump actually. What is the role of the Church today in combating radical Islamic terrorism? Is it a theological opposition it can wage? Is it a different vision that should be put forward? What is your opinion?
MÜLLER: I think the tasks of the states and the communion of the states is different from that one of the Church. The Church is the body of Jesus Christ. Is a representation, a revelation of the incarnation of God and therefore we must enter in the discussion with the Islamic authorities about the contradiction of God with love and this terrorism which is acted in the name of God…therefore it is an inner contradiction between this violence, destructive violence against the human beings who are created according to the image of God and God himself who is the birth with love.
ARROYO: I want to move back into the ranks of the Church here…Let’s talk about Amoris Laetitia, this is an exhortation that is the result of two synods which has garnered so much attention. Reams of paper and ink have been spilled about what Amoris Laetitia intends and what it means, particularly in that, that eighth chapter. And in it the Pope seems to be suggesting and some have suggested, even in Bishops conferences around the world, that a divorced and civilly remarried Catholic, may, with the accompaniment of their pastor, without an annulment, receive the sacraments and be welcomed into the sacraments, despite the fact that, in time gone by, this would have been considered “living in sin.” Your thoughts? Is that possible? Is that what’s being advanced?
MÜLLER: The Pope at the beginning or before the two synods he spoke often from the rehabilitation of the Catholic understanding of marriage only and exclusively with one man and one woman because that is the will of God. And…the main reasons of the two synods and then the result in Amoris Laetitia is to underline the importance of the marriage and the families and the marriage especially the marriage between baptized persons as the sacrament. It is absolutely impossible that the Pope, as the successor of St. Peter and the vicar of Jesus Christ, for the universal Church, presents a doctrine which is plainly against the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the relator. The pope and Magisterium is only the interpreter. And therefore the doctrine according to the indissolubility of the matrimony, of the sacramental matrimony is absolutely clear. The approach of the Holy Father is to help and to have in his sight, in his eyes all these people who are living in the secularized society have not full understanding what is Christian life and thinking. He doesn’t want to say, either you accept all from the beginning or you are absolutely out. His thinking is all those people who are not so linked with the Church and have some difficulties, we must lead them, as good pastors to this point until they could accept completely the Christian doctrine and Christian life and our understanding. And the famous footnote where it says here, in some cases there is possibility of access to the sacraments of the penitence and Holy Communion. What is the sacrament of penitence? In the case of a mortal sin, against the Ten Commandments or other commandments of God, of the bill of God against the love, you need first the conversion. Inner conversion of the heart, penitence and… you must have the clear will to not sin the next opportunity. And then this case if they are ready to live as sisters and brothers there could be in some cases possible but it’s not possible to live with two legal wives, one is with sacramental marriage, with the other only civilly. It’s not possible because we don’t accept polygamy.
ARROYO: Just to be clear, many are interpreting this and many have as a, not doctrinal, but pastoral end-around annulment. So by being pastorally open to these people you can somehow avoid annulments and still get to the sacrament with your civilly married wife or husband…
MÜLLER: I criticized all the time this thinking or this opposition to let the doctrine as it is and to surpass it with the pastoral is not Catholic thinking because for us dogmatic and pastoral is the same thing. (laughs)
ARROYO: The practice is the belief….
MÜLLER: …is the belief. Not because… it would be…this interpretation would be certain revelation of Christological heresy…Christ as the word of God, the doctrine of the Church and Christ as the good pastor is the same person (laughs)
MÜLLER: You cannot separate…distinguish between Jesus Christ, as a teacher of the Word…and the good pastor who gave His life. And some of those people who present themselves as councilor of the Pope’s in the theology for the pastoral…that two and four can be five. That is not possible because we have theology.
ARROYO: Given all of that your Eminence, given all that you’ve said which rightfully is within a doctrinal as well as a historical context, does it trouble you that so many bishop’s conferences are at odds in their interpretation of Amoris Laetitia? Your German confreres are saying, “You may come to communion without an annulment.” You have the Maltese bishops saying similar things. And then the Canadians and the Americans are going in a different direction. Does this feel like a protestant Catholicism to you?
MÜLLER: That is not good that the Bishops conferences are making official interpretation of the Pope. That is not Catholic. We have this document of the Pope and it must be read in the context of the complete Catholic tradition. We don’t have two Magisteria, one of the Pope and another one of the bishops. I think it is a misunderstanding, a bad misunderstanding who make damage, could make damage for the Catholic Church.
ARROYO: Why do you think Amoris Laetitia has been so…It was a document intended, I think, to bring everyone together around the centrality of marriage and family, and yet it has caused such global division. I mean even the Pope himself, when he approves of the Argentine bishops interpretation, that seems to give credence and weight to the absolute opposite of what you’re…the interpretation that you’re advancing; that you can’t change this and that nothing has changed and that there is no possibility of this. The Pope seems to be giving a preference to the Argentines who say there is a path here…
MÜLLER: I’m not that clear with all that actions, bishops interpret the pope, the pope interpret the bishops. And, we have some rules in how to act in the Church. We have synods, coming together and then the pope make a summary and with his papal authority he gives his explanation or writes the documents and then must be…all be finished not with interpretation of the interpretation; that is not good for (the) Church. And I am saying (this) as a Catholic theologian.
ARROYO: What do you make of the Dubia that those five Cardinals submitted; should the pope answer the Dubia, just to put this to rest? To once and for all, use his papal authority to silence all of these voices and different interpretations? Is it time to do that in your opinion?
MÜLLER: Well the one thing is the content of this Dubia, legitimate questions to the pope. The other point is that this came out and was a public discussion and tensions between the Pope…the Pope and some cardinals that is not good in our world of the mass media. Our enemies are glad of the Church…to see the Church in a certain confusion. As Prefect I said dogmatically and doctrinally Amoris Laetitia is very well. Misunderstandings of the both sides are…has to do with ideological view of things and prejudices, no. And some entered the synod with their understanding, “we must fight for our ideas”. And they had argued too much…too ideologically. We must have also the responsibility for the unity of the Church. And it’s not good to make a pressure only or to enter as a pressure cooker for own ideas in the synod. And there is a problem the Church has in the world of today: that we have two wings, ideological wings, extremes and everybody wants to win, no? The battle against the other one but we have one revelation (that) is coming from God and the Revelation, the word of God unifies the believers. And is not our task to unify, in a totalitarian way, everyone must think like me, because the thinking of another person is not important for my salvation. Only the word of God can unify the Church and can save everybody.
ARROYO: You mention the Synod and this principle of synodality that has emerged in the last few years, particularly with Pope Francis; you mention it in your book. Tell me about that principle of synodality. Are you comfortable with that and how does that fit into the trajectory and the tradition of the Church?
MÜLLER: The principle of synodality is the principle of the common responsibility. We cannot say we have a passive part of the church as the lay people a passive and the other, the Magisterium, the bishops as active part. We have a common responsibility. We have the common priesthood of everybody as common. We are all prophets. We have responsibility for the transmitting of the Gospel beginnings, the families, no and all the Catholic institutions, Catholic colleges, universities and the Caritas. We have a common responsibility, but not like the Protestant Church but everybody has a responsibility but the bishops and the pope have a special responsibility.
ARROYO: Let’s talk about lay people making decisions. There was a lot of agitation…a group of people who wanted the Pope to explore female deacons. He opened up a study, a commission on it. When do you expect the work of that commission to conclude, and where do you think this will lead in the Church?
MÜLLER: The Pope didn’t speak about female deacons in the threefold and one sacrament of ordination but he said this commission should make a collection of all the studies about the “deaconess” or the female deacons in the antiquity. In some parts of the older Church there were women and widows who helped in come cases of baptism of women and in the charity, the “diaconia” they helped and they had the title “deaconesses”. But we have so much documents…I myself made a big collection of all these documents…400 pages…translated all from Greek and Latin…
ARROYO: And what is your opinion? Did they have Holy Orders or no?
MÜLLER: No. Impossible. It will not come. Otherwise, it is not necessary. We have, today more women in responsible positions that have more…higher than the old “deaconess”.
ARROYO: Your Eminence, I was with a journalist, a very well respected television journalist a few weeks ago. We were in a green room. He is not Catholic and he turned to me and said I’m so elated that the Pope is now opening up the possibility of female deaconesses, female deacons. This is a great step toward female priests. Why have the commission if, as you say, its not possible…there’s nothing in the history of the Church or the documentation to support this. Why authorize the commission at all and sort of…lead to the confusion that there’s a possibility here?
MÜLLER: Pope Francis denied the possibility of female deacons but he said we could study the old documents for having some inspiration, so to promote the engagement of women in the Church of today. Some charges, which are not sacramental charges, we have so much (many) women, Catholic women, important and famous women who are in charge of (as) professors of physiology and in other cases directors of schools…
ARROYO: Television networks…
MÜLLER: …teachers, and all this (laughs)…and all this responsibility we have for the world together. But I think also, people outside of the Church don’t understand the mission of the Church. They are thinking the Church is an organization like the other one and we have to promote in a generally abstract sense the emancipation of women, but this has nothing to do with, this is not an example for the general emancipation of women but everybody inside and outside of the Church has to respect that the Church is not a political or man made organization but is the Body of Christ. It is the People of God, the Temple of the Holy Spirit. It is an absolutely different character of all human organizations.
ARROYO: You mention the organization and some have been disturbed by the presence on certain Pontifical Academies and Commissions, in recent days there have been invited to these Commissions, people like Paul Ehrlich who wrote a book called The Population Bomb that basically calls for the extermination of people to help the planet. Stephen Hawking, who said we should leave the planet, human beings need to leave. Are you confused, or…are you disturbed at all by the presence of those people because it seems the Church is embracing their ideas by their very presence? Is that what’s happening?
MÜLLER: I think these people could be very good scientists, but anthropologically they have some lags (lax?)…some deep lags (lax?). And, we must always have respect for the natural law, the natural moral, which is common and the dignity of man that is the basis for our life together, and not only the realization of some ideas, no? The population, overpopulation of the world could be a problem but we cannot resolve the problem with the killing of the half of the mankind. We cannot…atom bomb…because for there to be enough, the half must die…of the mankind…and we cannot say only our lifestyle of the Western world is decisive and these people which are living in Africa and Asia, they are people of the second degree. We have all people we are equal and everybody has the right to life.
ARROYO: So, are you worried that by inviting these people who hold and have advanced these ideas for many years that we are elevating or giving moral credence or support, somehow, to those very notions?
MÜLLER: It could be the danger…could be the danger. But, we must avoid the danger and must be very clear and I think Pope Francis was very clear against the gender ideology, against trans-humanism (?), and I think as I know Pope Francis as a person, not only as Pope, he wants to impress and not to exclude these people, that they should learn a little bit from our good anthropology, that they would have more respect for human life and the problem of this agnostic people is that they understand only the other people as objects…objects of the science, of the investigation, and not as subjects.
ARROYO: So you see this as Pope Francis reaching out, this is really the embodiment of his ideas, going out to the peripheries of society, including…
ARROYO: …science and the arts and these areas, with people who, at times, might be at odds with the Church. You see this as almost an evangelical hand being held out to them?
MÜLLER: And, in other pontificates we were accused to be exclusive and not to be in contact with the sciences and with other ideological groups. It was a little bit separated from this, other groups and movements but I think the Pope has this plan that the Catholic Church is not only as a stand-point, a correct stand-point, but we must also communicate our vision of the world.
ARROYO: As I heard you talking about Pope Francis I was thinking you have such a unique position in that you’ve served and known very well, Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis. You’ve served under both and you’ve known both men. Tell me the similarities and differences of them…on a personal level…on a one to one level. The way they interact with you, and what you’ve learned from each of them.
MÜLLER: About the personal level, I don’t want to speak too much…
ARROYO: No, I wasn’t after that. I was just looking for…are there different approaches and interactions with you from one to another? Some are more direct, they want to talk, they want to have more conversation, others perhaps prefer written communications and you don’t see them as much and that’s really what I was after.
MÜLLER: No, its institutionalized contact, its not only a private contact for taking together coffee and speaking about this and this themes…but we have our special tasks. We have a doctrinal office for this doctrinal question of preparing of documents and we are preparing them and then bringing them to the Holy Father makes a probation or not. And the decisions we have to make in disciplinary cases, matrimonial cases, this official contact we have not private contact. But, it is institutionalized contact.
ARROYO: There was a story that emerged at Christmastime and it discussed three priests who worked in your office at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the story was that they were summarily dismissed. The Pope chose them and said I want them to move on and you put up some resistance. Is that story at all true? Did that happen?
MÜLLER: This is true that I am in favor of a better treatment of our officials in the Holy See because we cannot only speak about the social doctrine and we must also respect it and the Pope himself said we (have) some old behaviors of the courts and I am absolutely against this treatment and I think we can dismiss only people if they make a mistake and the criteria for our collaborators in our Congregation must be the orthodoxy and the integrity of moral and priestly life and the competence in the matter and other “criterias”, must speak Italian or we need people of different languages and cultures. That was my position I take…
ARROYO: These were men…
MÜLLER: Let me make clear, I am not a man of (the) court.
ARROYO: Yeah, these were men of real competence I’m told…
MÜLLER: Yes…yes…as old German professor, we are very clear.
ARROYO: That was the report. That you were very concerned about them…the three of them. Tell me how close we are to the canonical reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X. I know there was a doctrinal statement written up that they have to affirm. Where are we now?
MÜLLER: It needs time. What we need is a deeper reconciliation, not only signing of a document because the doctrine of the Church is very clear that what is necessary for complete, full communion with the Catholic Church, we have not different speeds, its not possible. Everybody who wants to be Catholic has to accept the Catholic creed and the Councils and to accept the seven sacraments and other doctrines and has to accept the hierarchical communion with the local bishop and the community of all bishops and the Holy Father we have.
MÜLLER: Here we need a deeper reconciliation. They must have a deeper approach holding the heart to the full communion of the Church. Some of them are thinking we are the “right” Catholics as we had been since 1962 and the rest is all abuse. And that is impossible to say. There are liturgical abuses and a lot of errors in the dogmatic sphere but we must overcome these errors and abuses and not justify their own separation, separatism from the Church. And belonging to the liturgy always the Catholic belief that the Pope or the local synods and other rites have the right and also the duty to reorganize the external forms of the liturgy. The substance of the liturgy is given by the revelation and cannot be changed.
ARROYO: Do you share Cardinal Sarah’s critique that we have a liturgical crisis today and that more reverent form, particularly the Extraordinary Form advanced by Pope Benedict, that there’s something there important for the rest of the Church to recognize and embrace?
MÜLLER: Yes, we have a crisis in liturgy but not beginning with the Second Vatican Council. Romano Guardini famously said in 1948 in Mainz in my city that modern people have, with the technology and all that have big difficulties with the “mysterium”, the mystery, for the contact with God and they have more a functional understanding of the liturgy, more for religious entertainment and we must come to this point to understand the mystery of God, the sacred. That is the problem but we cannot do it only with the exterior exchange, with the exterior form. We know it also in the old form of the liturgy it was also possible to celebrate in a routine…
ARROYO: Detached manner…
MÜLLER: …celebrate it in ten minutes the liturgy. What has this to do with the feeling of the mystery of God, with the presence of Jesus Christ and it depends of your inner attitude and understanding.
ARROYO: My final question, Your Eminence, and thank you for all the time. What is the most difficult part of this position you hold today as a man, personally?
MÜLLER: Our Congregation has this aim, this task, to promote the Faith all over the world and the whole Church and also defend the Faith but we have also the disciplinary cases and matrimonial cases and Paulinum and Petrinum. We have to prepare the decisions of the Pope and that is our work, but…what important today is to help to overcome the secularism, the agnosticism, the life without God because we have so much people in our Western world from coming out from Christian traditions who are thinking our Catholic Faith or Christian faith is very retreated and back and the old times, we are not up to date …prejudices…but I think, our conviction is that exactly from the Gospel we have the answers for the great questions of today.
ARROYO: Dealing with all of that, the clerical cases I know you deal with, the marriage cases, these big doctrinal issues that now have become the stuff of front-page newspapers. Does the weight of that affect you personally? I mean do you feel the weight of that office?
MÜLLER: Surely I feel the weight and the responsibility but the responsibility of the Pope is greater.
ARROYO: And how do you deal with that?
MÜLLER: I want to help him with our Faith and spiritual life also, our intellectual visions and experiences of the history of the Church and we are not Pelagians…with the help of the Grace we can confront all these questions.
ARROYO: Your Eminence, thank you again.
MÜLLER: Thank you very much.