By Diane Montagna
December 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — “The more the Church gets taken up with politics and sets aside the reality of God, grace and sin, the more we betray the Gospel,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals, has said.
Referring to a recent interview on Luther and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Cardinal Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, noted that a high-ranking representative of German Protestantism didn’t mention God or Jesus once in over 20 minutes. He said it really “touches a nerve” when he sees political matters put before God in the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Brandmüller was speaking in a short interview with the Italian media outlet, Il Giornale. The questions focused primarily on what some perceive as attempts to rebrand Luther in the Catholic Church. Brandmüller himself converted to Roman Catholicism from Lutheranism as an adolescent.
Asked if Italian Bishop Nunzio Galantino’s praise of Luther’s reform as “an event of the Holy Spirit” was “a bit over the top,” Cardinal Brandmüller said that in culturally Catholic countries “Luther and the Reformation are often seen as exotic and therefore — for some — fascinating phenomena.” He suggested, however, that “before voicing [such opinions] it would be better to study the matter more.”
Cardinal Brandmüller was also asked what he thought about the statue of Luther being placed prominently in the Paul VI Hall during Pope Francis’ meeting with 1,000 Lutherans and Catholics from Germany in the lead-up to his visit to Lund last October.
The cardinal did not address the matter directly but said: “The disagreement between various forms of Protestantism — and there are many — and the Catholic faith regards the very foundations. The concepts, for example, of faith, sacrament, grace, and the church in Protestant doctrine stand in sharp contrast with the Catholic faith — but this is not the place to speak of it further,” he said.
Asked what “doctrinal lines of demarcation” still separate Lutheranism and Catholicism, amid rumors that an “ecumenical Mass” is being planned at the Vatican, Cardinal Brandmüller said that full Christian unity must be based on the clear truth of what the Mass is: “the celebration of the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, as most recently taught in Sacrosanctum Concilium at Vatican II.”
Finally, when asked if such “rigid positions” in these matters aren’t just “traditionalist grumblings,” Cardinal Brandmüller quipped: “Am I [a traditionalist grumbler] if I’m convinced the Pythagorean theory is still true?”