Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Bishop Gerhard Mueller and infallibly proposed teachings
We definitely live in dark times. Increasingly, Catholic dogma is coming under attack even within the Church. Just recently, Bill Tammeus, a Presbyterian elder and former columnist for The Kansas City Star, writng for the National Catholic Reporter online, complained that, "Ultimately, truth in Christianity is not a doctrine, not a dogma, not a creed, not a papal bull, not what's said in a sermon, not even the words in the Bible. Rather, truth in Christianity is a person, Christ Jesus."
Yes, it is true that faith is primarily in God and not in a set of truths. But because the Lord Jesus reveals truths about Himself and his plan for us, one cannot believe in Him without also accepting with faith every one of the truths which He reveals. Vatican I definitively teaches that, "By divine and Catholic faith everything must be believed that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, and that is proposed by the Church as a divinely revealed object of belief either in a solemn decree or in her ordinary, universal teaching" (DS 3011/1792).
To this formulation of Vatican I, Canon Law adds: "It is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore, all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatever which are contrary to these truths." (Canon 750).
In its Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provides us with a helpful commentary on the nature of the "religious submission of soul" or of "will and mind" which the Fathers of Vatican II said is to be given by the faithful, including theologians, to authoritative but noninfallibly proposed magisterial teachings (see Lumen Gentium, No. 25).
This Instruction clearly distinguishes between questions that theologiand may raise about such teachings (see Nos. 24-31) and dissent from such teachings (Nos. 32-41). The Instruction tells us that questioning can be compatible with the "religious submission" required, but the document also firmly repudiates dissent from these teachings as incompatible with this "religious submission" and irreconcilable with the theologian's vocation which is always to be at the Church's service. Dissent from infallibly proposed teachings is a fortiori excluded.
In my last post, I noted how the new Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has denied the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar in his theological writings. Does Bishop Gerhard Mueller stand by his writings? If so, he is dissenting from Catholic dogma, from infallibly proposed teachings.