The naming of the Bishop of Regensburg Gerhard Müller as new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was preceded and was followed by the spread – first through anonymous emails and then in articles on the web, including the Italian site of the Society of St. Pius X – of small extrapolations from his writings that show questionable positions in matters of faith. Are things truly thus? Vatican Insider interviewed on this matter theologian Nicola Bux, Consultant of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In his book on Dogmatics, Müller writes that the doctrine of the Virginity of Mary "not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth"
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the physical aspect of virginity is due entirely to the fact that Jesus was conceived without human seed, but by the action of the Holy Spirit. It is a divine work that exceeds all understanding and human possibility. The Church professes the real and perpetual Virginity of Mary but does not enter into physical details; neither does it seem that the Councils and the Fathers stated otherwise.
In this line, it seems to me, along which what Müller wrote should be understood, [Müller] does not support a "doctrine" that denies the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, but warns against a certain, as it were, "Capernaism", i.e. a way of reasoning "according to the flesh" and not "according to the spirit", that already appeared at Capernaum among the Jews at the end of Jesus ' discourse on the bread of life. [Jn vi]
In 2002, Müller, in his book "Die Messe - Quelle des christlichen Lebens" [The Mass - Source of the Christian Life], speaking of the Eucharistic Sacrament, writes that, "the body and blood of Christ do not mean the material components of the human person of Jesus during his lifetime or in his transfigured corporality. Here, body and blood mean the presence of Christ in the signs of the medium of bread and wine."
It was precisely in Capernaum that the terms used by Jesus, flesh and blood, were misunderstood as anthropomorphic and the Lord had to reiterate their spiritual sense, which does not mean that its presence is less real, true, and substantial. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding this. Saint Ambrose says that it is not the the element formed by nature, but the substance produced by the formula of consecration: its very nature is transformed, so body and blood are the being of Jesus. The Tridentine Council says that in the Eucharist Our Lord, true God and true man, is "substantially" present. He is sacramentally present with his substance, a mysterious mode of being,admissible on faith and possible from God.
St. Thomas [Aquinas] had said that the mode of "substance" and not the "quantity", characterizes the presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The bread and wine as a species or appearances mediate our access to the "substance", something that happens especially in communion. All the same, the Tridentine Council sees no contradiction between the natural way of the presence of Christ in heaven and his sacramental being in many other places. All this was reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI in his Encyclical Mysterium Fidei, unfortunately forgotten. The senses are not enough, but faith is required from us. It is a mystery of the faith.
On Protestantism and the salvific unicity of Jesus, Müller said, in October 2011: "Baptism is the fundamental sign that sacramentally unites us in Christ, and which presents us as the one Church in front of the world. Thus, we as Catholic and Evangelical Christians are already united even in what we call the visible Church."
St. Augustine defended against the Donatists the truth that baptism is an indestructible bond, which does not abolish fraternity among Christians, even when they are schismatics or heretics.
Unfortunately today debate is feared in the Church, but moves on theses and ostracism of those who think differently. I refer to theology, of course, in which different opinions may be acceptable.
However, doctrinal development benefits from debate: who has more arguments, convinces. In the charges against Bishop Müller, there is extrapolation from the context: it is easy to condemn anyone like this. A true Catholic must trust the authority of the Pope, always. In particular, I believe that Benedict XVI know that he does. And I would like to renew to the Society of St. Pius X the invitation to trust the Pope. "
It has been said that the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would not have been up to now very favorable to the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
I am certain that he understands the reasons that have led the Pope to promulgate it and that he will act in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the Motu proprio. As for the extrapolations of which we spoke, those things written by Abp. Müller belong to his time as a theologian, and a theologian produces no doctrine, at least immediately. As a Bishop, he must instead defend and disseminate the doctrine that is not his, but of the Church, and I think that he has done this. As Prefect, he will continue to do so, under the guidance of Pope.