Archbishop Gerhard Muller

December 10, 2012

VATICAN CITY – Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as breaking with the truth both espouse a "heretical interpretation" of the council and its aims, said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

What Pope Benedict has termed "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" is the "only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology," Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29.

"Outside this sole orthodox interpretation unfortunately exists a heretical interpretation, that is, a hermeneutic of rupture, (found) both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist" side, Muller said.

What the two camps have in common, he said, is their rejection of the council: "the progressives in their wanting to leave it behind, as if it were a season to abandon in order to get to another Church, and the traditionalists in their not wanting to get there," seeing the council as a Catholic "winter."

The doctrinal chief's remarks appeared in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, to present the seventh volume of The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger.

Muller said the term aggiornamento or updating – one of the watchwords of the council – "does not mean the secularization of the faith," but a "making present" of the message of Jesus Christ, he said.

This "making present" is the "reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ," he said.

"The tradition of apostolic origin continues in the Church with help from the Holy Spirit."

It leads to greater understanding, intelligence garnered from a deeper experience of the spiritual, and preaching by those who through the "apostolic succession have received an assured charism of truth."