After the chatter and confusion of recent days there is a short, rather refreshing interview with Archbishop Mueller on the (future) role of the CDF, he returns to some Ratzinger themes, for example the relationship of bishop to the pope and the place of Bishops Conferences, the primacy of doctrine, doctrine and pastoring.
Obviously it is a corrective to some of the speculations resulting from the various pronouncements.
a few excerpts
It's not as if other bishops or Pope Benedict had constantly spoken about abortion, sexual morals or euthanasia. And pastoral work is not a therapeutic game. It wants to serve people with the Word of God. That is why juxtaposing doctrinal and moral teaching against pastoral work is not in the mind of the inventor. The former is the source of the latter.
If Jesus Christ is not the Son of God who became Man, then he cannot be the Good Shepherd. Pope Francis has that special charism of being able to translate the Church's doctrine of the faith, which he adheres to unconditionally as he never tires of emphasising, into a personal encounter with people. As Pope he behaves like a local pastor.
The CDF is responsible for the whole world in the interests of the papal Magisterium. Bishops lead local Churches. The papal and the episcopal office are legitimised by divine law. That is something that bishops' conferences are not. They are work groups but do not have a competence to teach of their own over and above that of an individual bishop's mandate. So they are not a third authority between the Pope and bishops. I don't think, therefore, that we'll see a sort of federalist reform similar to that in the Federal Republic [of Germany] where key competences are relayed from the central state to the individual [German] states. That is not how the Church is constituted. According to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the Church consists in and of the local Churches.
National Bishops' Conferences, I fear see matters somewhat differently from +++Mueller - nearly akin to 'National Catholic Churches'(?).
Yes Father, a good interview and very Ratzingerian… As we have discussed in the past, Bishops’ Conferences continue to be an issue. The uninformed attribute to them an authority they don’t have, which leads people to expect that they will be given more power. The archbishop scotched that idea by rightly pointing out that they have no power over individual bishops.
What needs to happen is that Bishops’ Conferences - if they are to be retained at all - assume more responsibility, especially responsibility for resolving problems within their sphere of influence. It has been a too frequent occurrence in the past that they dumped problems on the Vatican and then complained about the slowness of the Vatican response.
Instead of spawning myriad committees and study groups that generate reams of print that nobody reads, they should be ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy and liturgical orthopraxis. When Irish priests were off the rails for years in doctrine and liturgy, where were their bishops or the Bishops’ Conference? That’s just one example. The same has happened here in the US and is still happening in Germany and elsewhere.
@GOR: Except that Conferences of Bishops do have certain power over individual bishops. For example, in England and Wales, Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi are transferred to the Sunday, and according to c. 1246.2, the Conference has the authority to do this (with the approval of the Holy See). This means that if, say, the Bishop of Hallam wished to untransfer (not a word, but never mind!) some Holy Days, he wouldn't be able to do so; canon law doesn't give him individually that right.
In certain circumstances, the Conferences can ride roughshod over individual bishops. A two-thirds majority and the ratification of the Apostolic See (cf. can. 455.2) is all that is required. So in a conference of 10 bishops, if 7 want to transfer some Holy Days and 3 have grave reservations about it, the 3 are just going to have to suck it up. They can't choose to opt out of the decision of the Conference.
If it were up to me, Conferences would be purely informal and non-binding. Then there wouldn't be anywhere for individual bishops to hide behind each other, as happens in England and Wales at the moment.
So, Mueller's the "good cop?"
Jon, I don't think so, I do think every one is trying to make sense of Francis.
Nothing like a little dash of precission!
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