“It is not clericalism, whatever that may be, but turning away from the truth and moral licentiousness are the roots of evil." Preaching for the priestly ordination of Brother Michael Sulzenbacher SJM. By Gerhard Cardinal Müller
ROM (kath.net) kath.net documents the preaching of the former Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Cardinal Müller, upon the priestly ordination of Michael Sulzenbacher SJM in Rome in the church of Sant'Agnese in on 15.9.2018 in full length - kath.net thanks Cardinal Müller for the friendly permission to publish [This was stolen from e-commerce website kath.net. Be sure to hit their paypal]
Dear brother Michael Sulzenbacher,
I admire - in human terms - your courage and - spiritually speaking - your trust in God. In difficult times, you will approach the sacred altar. With your Adsum you express the readiness to sacrifice your whole being and life to God. This is the decisive step on your earthly pilgrimage and an hour of grace for the whole people of God.
But the Church, founded by God and made up of human beings, is, according to its human side, in a deep, man-made crisis of its credibility. In this dramatic moment, we suspect and fear the possible negative consequences of scandals and leadership mistakes. Involuntarily we think of the splitting of Western Christendom in the sixteenth century or the secularization of spiritual life in the wake of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
It is not clericalism, whatever that may be, but the turning away from the truth and moral lawlessness are the roots of the evil. The corruption of doctrine always entails the corruption of morality and manifests itself in it. The grave rejection of the sanctity of the Church without remorse is the result of relativizing the dogmatic foundation of the Church. This is the real cause of the shock and disappointment of millions of faithful Catholics. Analyzing the causes of secession from the one Church of Christ in the sixteenth century, the church historian Hubert Jedin (1900-1980) stated in the first volume of his "History of the Council of Trent": "The word reform hid heresy and the emerging schism.” (I, 151).
At that time as well as today there is much talk of reform.
What is behind the iridescent and media-friendly propaganda formula "reform of the Curia and the whole Church", if not - as I hope - the renewal in the truth of the revelation, and the following of Christ, is meant? It is not the secularization of the Church, but the sanctification of men for God, that is true reform.
It is not reform but a heresy to think that the doctrine of the Church can be kept, but for the sake of the weak man, one must invent a new pastoral which diminishes the claims of the truth of the Word of God and of Christian morality.
The salvation of sin is based on the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. Without the truth of the Incarnation, the Church would shrink to a mere innerwordly improvement agency. For our yearning for God and the desire for eternal life, it would have no meaning. The priest would only be the official of a social-religious movement. The Church does not gain in relevance and acceptance when she adds the drag of the spirit of the times to the world, but only when she brings the torch to it with the truth of Christ. We should not care about secondary issues and work on the agenda of others who do not want to believe that God alone is the origin and the sole purpose of man and of all creation.
For the real danger to today's humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil. The best environmentalist and nature lover is the Herald of the Gospel that there is only survival with God, not just limited and brief, but forever and ever.
In the opinion that Christian dogma is no longer the basis and criterion of morality and pastoral, a christological heresy emerges. This is to contrast Christ, the teacher of divine truth, and Christ the Good Shepherd. Christ, on the other hand, is one and the same person. He did not keep silent before Pilate, but "offered his good confession and acted as a witness to the truth." (1 Tim 6,14). To the relativism of Pilate, who embodies the cynicism of worldly power, Jesus contrasts the redeeming power of the truth of God: "Yes, I am a king, for that I am born and come into the world to bear witness to the truth, and everyone that is of the truth will hear my voice." (John 18:37).
One and the same Christ says of himself "I am the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14: 6), who is also, as the bonus pastor, (Good Shepherd) the pastoral of the Church in person, revealing the mystery of His person and mission "I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep." (Jn 10:11).
To be a witness to the truth of Christ and Servant of the Good Shepherd: this is the mystery and origin of the sacramental priesthood in the Church of the New Covenant.
The only high priesthood of "the sublime shepherd of his sheep" (Hebrews 13:20) excludes any other path to God other than through Jesus Christ, but the sacramental and ecclesiastical realization of redemption once for all by Christ himself, the ministry the mission of the apostles. In the Holy Orders, the apostolic authority and mission passes to the bishops and priests.
So, dear brother, at this hour the word of St. Paul to his fellow apostle and follower of Timothy: "Escape from false doctrine, be servant of the Word, proclaimer of the true faith, and fighter for the truth of Christ, so you will grasp the eternal life to which you have been called and for which you give the good confession to many witnesses.” (1 Tim 6,12). These many witnesses today are all gathered here: your mother and father, who gave you the first witnesses to believe in Christ, the "savior of the world" (John 4:42), with your grandparents, siblings, and brothers all relatives and friends, the confreres of your community, the many priests and deacons, and finally also me. As a bishop, I have the authority of Christ to give you share in the authority and mission of the Messiah through the laying on of my hands and the consecration prayer. Thus, in the person of Christ, the Head of the Church, with the power of the Holy Spirit, you can teach, guide and sanctify the believers (PO 2) so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth, love God above all and neighbor as himself even.
He is a true pastor who, with the love of God, looks upon the people entrusted to him and, in his spiritual activity and Christlike way of life, aligns himself with the high priest to whom he serves. The good shepherd is different from the hired one because He loves people with the heart of Jesus and Mary and because he uses his life for the flock of the Lord. The apostle is "the co-worker of God, servant of Christ, steward and dispenser of divine secrets" (1 Cor 4: 1, 2 Cor 6:1). He is concerned only with one thing, "in full reverence for the Lord, to win men for Christ." (2 Cor 5:11). He has been given the ministry of reconciliation for proclamation and sacramental mediation. And that is why consecrated priests, like the apostles, are "sent by Christ, and it is God who admonishes them: be reconciled to God." (2 Cor 5:20).
Certainly he also stands in the ranks of the faithful and needs on the way of the earthly pilgrimage - like all of us - the grace for his spiritual work and the forgiveness of God for his sins and omissions. But the truth of the faith he proclaims and the salvation he conveys in the sacraments does not, thank God, depend on the depth of his spirituality or the high morality of his life, but on the objective salvific effect of the sacraments. For Christ uses man, but He does not depend on them in His saving action. For He alone is the "author of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5: 9). While Christ was without sin, all believers and their shepherds need forgiveness. The confession of our sins belongs in the confessional. But if consecrated persons lead a double life in cynical contempt for their vocation, these deeds belong to the spiritual judgment. Evil acts must be condemned by the ecclesiastical authority, the wrongdoers judged to be punished according to the law. Anyone who considers ecclesiastical criminal law incompatible with the Gospel of love does not act out of mercy but out of contempt for the people who have been deceived of their rights and dignity. "Woe to the world with its seduction, there must be trials, but woe to the person who caused them." (Mt 18,7). This applies in a special way to those who, through the ministry, have become role models, typos, for the faithful, and are sanctified in the holy consecration with the Holy Spirit.
So I would like to remind you, dear brother, and all of us, before receiving the holy ordination, the apostle Peter's admonition to his fellow priests: "Carry as shepherds on the flock of God entrusted to you, not out of compulsion, but on a voluntary basis as God wills it, not out of greed, but out of affection: do not be rulers of your communities, but examples for the herd. For when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the never-fading garland of glory." (1 Pet 4: 2-4).
And in the reverse direction, all believers should feel responsible to their pastors when they read in the Hebrew letter: "Think of your leaders who have proclaimed the word of God for you, look to the end of their lives, and imitate their faith ... Obey them, and submit to them, for they watch over you and must give an account of them, and they shall do it with joy, and not with sighs, pray for us. " (Heb 13: 7, 17f).
Dear Brother Michael, We pray for the grace that you will become a good priest after the Heart of Jesus and His dear Mother Mary. So be it! Amen.
Rome on September 15, 2018
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller - Homily preached by Michael Sulzenbacher SJM, in Rome in the Church of Sant 'Agnese in Agone
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org
Foto (c) Servi Jesu et Mariæ