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The Cardinal Müller Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church Paperback – April 1, 2017
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About the Author
Cardinal Gerhard MUller is the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Formerly the bishop of Regensburg, Germany, and a professor of theology, he is president of both the Pontifical Biblical Commission and the International Theological Commission. He is also the author of many books, including The Hope of the Family and Priesthood and Diaconate.
Fr. Carlos Granados is the General Director of the Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos (Library of Christian Authors). He holds a Ph.D in Sacred Scripture.
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The book is the transcript of an interview of sorts between Gerhard Cardinal Müller and Fr. Carlos Granados. It begins with a section titled "A Report on Hope." In this section, the doctrine of Christian hope is defined and questioned. Some questions presented are 1. What are the signs of hope? 2. Is it possible to regain hope once it has been lost? and 3. Do you have to be positive/optimistic to possess Christian hope? This leads to the next section, "What can we hope for from Christ?" Jesus not only brings us eternal life, but he is also providing us a path to divinization, so that we can be more like God. The section after this asks, "What can we hope for from the Church?" This leads us to a discussion about Eucharist, the requirements for receiving the sacrament, and being fit to receive. We also get some questions and answers about the pope and expectations for him. The remaining two sections in the book talk about family and society.
At the time this book was published, Cardinal Müller was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. This was the same title that Cardinal Ratzinger had when his report was published. This is not only a high ranking office within the Vatican, but it is also one that gives the head a view on the state of the Church that others do not have. His appointment in this position has not been renewed, but this was merely a matter of Pope Francis trying to limit terms, and not the great scandal that people are making it out to be. As for the book itself, I found this to be a refreshing read. In this book, we see Cardinal Müller's love for Christ and His Church. What I liked best about this book was the lens of hope through which everything was examined. Generally when you read a book of this nature, issues are looked at from a perspective of faith. This one uses hope instead, and I found this to be an appropriate and suitable perspective given the current attitude in this day and age. I highly recommend this book and am actually interested in Ratzinger's book now to see how things have changed in 30 years.
This book was provided to me for free by Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review.
Though many have trouble understanding this, neither popes nor prefects of the CDF can change what the Church has always proclaimed to be True. Anyone picking up this interview/book expecting otherwise will be profoundly disappointed!
A section entitled "A REPORT ON HOPE" is a prelude to the five following chapters. As per Cardinal Cardinal Müller, "in our dialogue with our very secularized world, we run the risk of presenting Christianity as being no more than a system of values, hiding its essence: hope in Him who has conquered pain, sin, and death" (p. 22). The next four chapters ask "what can we hope for from" Christ, the Church, the family. and society, respectively. The conclusion provides us with a "key to an understanding of mercy."
I. WHAT CAN WE HOPE FOR FROM CHRIST? "Faced with such an aggressively secular world, ...we cannot be afraid to present ourselves as convinced and practicing Christians!" (p. 40)
II. WHAT CAN WE HOPE FOR FROM THE CHURCH? "the Church is the communion of all who believe in Jesus....a community based on faith, but she also has an institutional dimension.... she performs a teaching, governing, and sanctifying function" (p. 65)
III. WHAT CAN WE HOPE FOR FROM THE FAMILY?
* He does not digress from what has always been taught, reminding all that "the purpose of marriage is not only natural but also supernatural" (p. 144).
* [re: Premarital counseling] "you have to tell them clearly that today, a family that does not pray stays together with difficulty" (p. 154).
* [re:indissolubility] "This message is not an unbearable cross or yoke: it is good news for spouses, reminding them of the greatness and nobility of their vocation....when it is faithfully transmitted, it confers grace" (p. 156)
IV. WHAT CAN WE HOPE FOR FROM SOCIETY? "Our Western society is witnessing...new stories with contradictory messages about what makes life great and beautiful" (p. 176). "There is only one way to overcome it: by clearly affirming that our only hope is in Jesus Christ" (p. 196).
V. CONCLUSION: THE KEY TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF MERCY "sacramental confession is the most paradigmatic expression of God's mercy" (p. 207).