Cardinal Müller: Christianity Truly Knows Human Nature and Its Real Rights

In an interview with Kath.net, Cardinal Müller also spoke of the limits of modern science in knowing man.

Newsroom (29/09/2021 23:05, Gaudium Press) Marco Tosatti has published in his Italian blog an interview given to Kath.net by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We present here some of the specific texts from the cardinal’s interview on human rights and natural law .

Cardinal Müller states that before speaking of human rights, the fundamental question is: “What is man?” To this question, the Judeo-Christian tradition answers that “The special nature of the human being is rooted in being created in the image and likeness of God.” “Human beings exist and live with God in a universal, relatively given relationship that transcends the world.”

God is the origin and the end of all beings, and these truths find their explanation in Divine Reason.

Contrary to the Christian, and even the Aristotelian vision of the God-Logos, “modern natural science – methodically limited to the mathematical-geometric way of thinking and the mechanical causal link – remains only an impenetrable enigma for the universe as a whole and for the origin of life, as well as the uniqueness of human reason that transcends itself towards being as such. Science, therefore, fails to explain man’s deepest questions, and ends up as nihilism, “…that is, the negative experience and desperate opinion that existence lacks meaning and purpose, and that man is derided in his search for the sense of being and the orientation of his actions towards the good.”

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Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is a unity of body and soul, and the body, understood also as creation, defines our nature, which is the nature of man or woman. When this is not taken into consideration – neither the relationship of our nature to God nor the specific conditions of each nature – an “absolute self-determination is sought, each constructing for himself ‘human rights’, ideologically and politically propagated and legally applicable to sex change, to ‘same-sex marriage’, (…) or to assisted suicide”.

On the contrary, for Christianity, human rights are natural rights, intrinsic to the nature of man, as nature truly is.

Yes, there is a rationale common to all men

But, Kath.net asks, “Can one still speak of a single nature, defined everywhere in the same way, to want to justify natural rights? Or is the definition of nature, however, not universally binding, but rather a consequence of natural and cultural developments, which are not defined uniformly in the world?”

To this question Cardinal Müller answers: “The same reason exists everywhere, it is even expressed in different languages. Everywhere man has culture, although in different forms and qualities. According to his real possibilities, man is a being who walks upright, even if the newborn child cannot yet walk or the sick and elderly suffer from the problem of the curvature of the body. The same principles of logic exist everywhere, even if the consequences vary culturally.”

“The Catholic Church exists in different cultures and, in one world community, unites completely opposite characters in the same faith, in the same liturgy. The diversity in the realization of humanity does not impede the vision that we are, in any case, brothers and sisters of the same family and we owe this to the one God and Father of all, Who created us not as a grey mass, but in the beauty of individual diversity,” the Cardinal stressed.

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Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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