The Battle for the Church is on

February 13, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – In my blog post from yesterday (see here), I commented on Cardinal Muller’s Manifesto of Faith. This Manifesto had drawn immediate fire from the Pope’s stable of twittering sycophants. To their number may be added Cardinal Kasper who recently weighed in with his own thoughts. As was to be expected, Kasper criticized Cardinal Müller and his Manifesto of Faith. Maike Hickson’s reporting for LifeSiteNews on Kasper’s response may be found here. As reported in Maike Hickson’s article, Kasper ‘accuses Müller’s text of containing “half truths” and merely “personal theological views,” and therefore promoting “confusion and schism.”’

Kasper finds fault with Müller on various points, including his emphasis on belief  in the Holy Trinity as a differentiating feature of Catholicism from non-Christian religions–an apparent knock against Pope Francis’ “Human Fraternity” document which spoke of religious diversity as ‘God willed’ (see here). Cardinal Müller in his Manifesto of Faith wrote:

“The distinction of the three persons in the divine unity (CCC 254) marks a fundamental difference in the belief in God and the image of man from that of other religions. Religions disagree precisely over this belief in Jesus the Christ. He is true God and true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Word made flesh, the Son of God, is the only Savior of the world (CCC 679) and the only Mediator between God and men (CCC 846). Therefore, the first letter of John refers to one who denies His divinity as an antichrist (1 John 2:22), since Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is from eternity one in being with God, His Father (CCC 663). We are to resist the relapse into ancient heresies with clear resolve, which saw in Jesus Christ only a good person, brother and friend, prophet and moralist. He is first and foremost the Word that was with God and is God, the Son of the Father, Who assumed our human nature to redeem us and Who will come to judge the living and the dead. Him alone, we worship in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Only and True God (CCC 691).”

Surprsingly — or perhaps, perhaps not so surprisingly, rather, than acknowledging key distinctive differences between Catholicism as the only true religion willed and founded by God, and all other religions; Kasper prefers to emphasize the commonalities among them. Kaspar said in his rebuttal to the Manifesto (emphasis added):

“It is undoubtedly true that the confession of the Triune God constitutes a fundamental difference in belief in God and the image of man from other religions. But are there not similarities, especially with the Jews and the Muslims, in the belief in the one God? And are not these similarities today fundamental to peace in the world and in society? Half the truth is not the Catholic truth!” (source: Cardinal Kaspar, as quoted in an Catholic News Agency article).

While peace is certainly a laudable goal — indeed the Lord said “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), Kasper in his objection wants to minimize, if not ignore, key and vital differences between religions (e.g., the Trinitarian dogma) but, in so doing, he sacrifices the truth for peace. This, as in the words of Cardinal Müller, would make of Jesus Christ “only a good person, brother and friend, prophet and moralist” (cf Manifest of Faith). However, as the Lord Himself said: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Cardinal Kasper further attacks Cardinal Müller’s Manifesto of Faith on other issues, such as Müller’s rejection of communion for the civilly divorced and remarried and non-Catholics–something for which Kasper has been a leading proponent.

Now enter Bishop Athanasius Schneider auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, who had himself supplied his own response to the Pope’s “Human Fraternity” statement (see here). Having made that response, Bishop Schneider now turned his sights on Kasper and his criticism of Cardinal Müller’s Manifesto of Faith. Bishop Schneider’s response to Kasper may be found in Maike Hickson’s LifeSiteNews artice (see here) in full. I will not comment on all of the good bishop’s response, but I found this particular comment on Kasper particularly devastating (emphasis added):

“A clear profession of the Divinely revealed truths is in our days in the life of the Church often not anymore tolerated and is perceived even as a provocation, as one could see this, for instance, from the prompt, intolerant and astonishingly aggressive reaction with which Cardinal Walter Kasper has rejected the Manifesto of Faith of Cardinal Müller. With his reasoning against the Manifesto of Faith, Cardinal Kasper has only demonstrated that he himself does not anymore live in the true Faith of the Apostles and of the Church of all times, but, on the contrary, he represents a Christianity that in the manner of a gnosis has built up for itself a world of an alleged faith after the taste of one’s own ego or the predominance of the respective “Zeitgeist” (the spirit of the age).” (Source:  Bishop Athanasius Schneider response to Cardinal Kaspar, as provided and quoted in a LifeSiteNews article “Bishop Schneider praises Cdl. Müller’s Manifesto of Faith: ‘necessary’ and ‘very timely’” by Maike Hickson)

Very strong words. In his Manifesto of Faith, Cardinal Müller clearly called out some key errors circulating within the Church and among the hierarchy today, but without naming names. However, it was clear which one of the hierarchs Müller had in mind is — i..e, Pope Francis. However, in saying Cardinal Kasper “does not anymore live in the true Faith of the Apostles and of the Church of all times…”, Bishop Schneider has called Kasper a heretic in all but name. As I suggested in my recent post (see A Correction of Pope Francis: A glimmer of hope there will be one?), the time for addressing  the errors of our time in a gingerly or gentlemanly fashion must now end. As Müller’s Manifesto makes clear, the eternal fate of souls is at stake.  Thus, it was refreshing to read both Müller, who in clear words identified key errors, and Schneider, who essentially called Kasper a heretic.  Müller’s and Schneider’s recent commentaries are positive steps in the right direction, but more public and consistence resistance to errors must be demonstrated by our bishops and priests — inclusive of a formal correction, which I hope is in the works again (see here).  It is long past due for the errors and heresies of our time — as well as their chief advocates — to be specifically named….and corrected. The Battle for the Church is on.

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).

12 thoughts on “The Battle for the Church is on

  1. Oh! The irony!
    Half-truth Kasper sowing his confusion and division. A manifest liar. He never said we need not pay too much attention to the Africans, after all. Or that Jesus Christ did not perform miracles.
    Oh, half-truth Kasper. He is such a card.
    I’d attribute it to geriatric diminishment, but its been going on forever. More likely protracted adolescent narcissism in a rocking chair.


  2. Let me express my gratitude for your vigilance and fortitude. Your perspective is worthwhile and appreciated. It is heartening to see the leadership laymen and women have taken in pitching the raking light on the range of abuses transpiring in the Church. God reward you and your colleagues in this noble effort.


  3. Cardinal Müller’s “Manifesto of Faith” is practically worthless since he once again refused to name PF. Until that happens, clearly and loudly proclaimed, nothing will change. Unless they do that, I suggest, that they don’t want it to change.


    1. John, thanks for the feedback. I agree names have to be named, etc…and make that point. Still, even as it is, that Francis is the target is manifest to all. I do think this is an escalation in the resistance to Francis…and believe we’ll see more steps, hopefully, in the near future.

      Thanks. Steve


      1. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you but….

        In another article, Card. Müller has once AGAIN stated that PF is orthodox. So, he wasn’t named because Card. Müller doesn’t see PF as a problem. Unbelievable! !!


      2. John, thanks for the comment. How to explain Muller? I certainly can’t read his mind, but undoubtedly his view has hardened against Amoris Laetitia, for example; and he sees problems with the pope’s abu dhabi statement. My sense…only a hypothesis…is that he views PF’s views a material heresy, but that PF is not a formal heretic. Within such a framework…you could still say PF is “orthodox” in as much as he is not resisting the Church. Just my take.




  4. I second James’ comment. Glad to see some reasoned and balanced Catholic commentary that is faithful and orthodox. I hope that your readership grows. I think that Card. Müller and other good and faithful bishops have finally figured out how Pope Francis operates and have learned from the Dubia experience. Müller’s Manifesto is brilliant in that it did not directly accuse Pope Francis, but rather, clearly and boldly restates Catholic teaching. Pope Francis would not respond anyway to an attack or threat. Card. Kasper, perhaps thinking Francis had his back, went on the attack and exposed himself to Bishop Schneider’s perfect kill shot. Notice that even in Bishop Schneider’s direct rebuke of Card. Kasper, the tone of his response is extremely pastoral.


    1. Thanks, DC for your comments. You are right about Schneider’s response…a “perfect kill shot.” I am sure it left its mark on Kasper. Things are going to escalate, I believe. It is undoubtedly Akita’s time of “bishops against bishops, and cardinal against cardinal.”

      Thanks for the response. Steve


  5. Based on the just published excerpt of Card. Müller’s interview with Der Spiegel, I think he is learning: (1) stay on the offense; (2) don’t attack up the middle (Pope Francis on doctrine or theology… at least not yet) (3) attack his weak flanks (poor personnel policy, governance style) (4) give the pope a way to save face by blaming it on bad advisors who have their own agenda; (5) ruthlessly attack his sycophants (they don’t know theology) when theology is your greatest strength; and (7) keep calm and focused while your enemies are emotionally overreacting on social media (and making themselves look ridiculous.)


    1. Sorry. Card. Müller’s interview with Der Spiegel is the same position he always held in regard to PF. He once agains displays willful ignorance of PF’S history (as priest, bishop and later), his selection of advisors, ghost writers, bishops and cardinals and what he has actually stated publicly.


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