The soap opera continues…
“Cardinal” Müller Piles On, says Benedict XVI “Disappointed” at his Dismissal
Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa/Alamy Live News
The German press is abuzz today with regard to some explosive comments made by “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Müller in a new interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the German quivalent of the American Associated Press. Muller is the former head of the Vatican’s Unholy Office (the Modernist Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), who, despite his track record as a Modernist heretic, was dismissed from his position by “Pope” Francis on July 1, presumably because Francis does not tolerate Modernists who oppose adultery.
Various German newspapers have begun to publish reports on the new interview, one of which is available in English:
Cardinal Müller Piles On
Cardinal Müller makes his displeasure known: In Rome there is a “hypocritical devotion to the Pope” and “courtly behavior”. He also has a clear opinion on abuse.
For five years, the former Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller was the Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As his five-year fixed term was drawing to a close, the Pope dismissed him from his service at the beginning of July. A reason was never given by the Vatican. However, political and theological differences between Francis and the conservative Müller are considered to be the main reason.
Müller had criticized the Pope in various respects, for instance, in the context of the post-synodal papal letter, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), in which the Pope makes Communion possible for the divorced-and-remarried under certain conditions.
Müller claims not to know the reasons for the non-renewal of his term. But what the decision means, “everyone can imagine”, he has said now in an interview with the news agency, dpa. He was called to Rome by Pope Benedict XVI for this very office alone. “You can usually expect that it will last until the age of 75. But now it has been decreed differently.” For me, the world does not collapse. I can continue to do much for the Church. “
It was true that alleged tensions between himself and Francis had been talked about “by interested parties”. “The Pope has always assured me, however, that he does not believe these rumours and trusts me fully.”
Müller nevertheless considers criticism of the Pontifex to be constructive. Many people maintain a “hypocritical devotion to the Pope” according to the rationale: “The Holy Father has an idea, and we follow this unconditionally, and all are full of admiration.” But the Pope, according to Müller, is also only a man: “That means that not everything he does and says is, from the outset, already perfect and unsurpassable.”
Every Catholic, especially every bishop and every cardinal, has a positive and constructive relationship with the Pope, according to the Cardinal. “But that is completely different from courtly behaviour and subterranean machination, against which Pope Francis has always spoken out.”
He [Muller] would like to see less of Pope cult among the faithful. “There should not come into existence a personality cult and a touching-the-Pope tourism, which is a bit dangerous in the age of the mass media, so that people now do nothing but cheer the Pope, or that one goes to Rome for sensational pleasure. To be able to say, then, ‘I have seen the Pope, [sitting] in the first row, very close to him’.”
“Priest a priori suspected of abuse”
During his time as Bishop of Regensburg (2002 to 2012), the cardinal allegedly delayed the investigation of the abuse scandal at the Domspatzen [the Cathedral Choir]. He has always denied this. With the publication of the final report on the scandal, allegations were again voiced which the Cardinal apparently interprets as a general attack on the Catholic Church. “It is obvious that the Catholic Church is treated more harshly on this subject and that priests are suspected a priori,” said the 69-year-old in Rome.
“There are clergymen – let it be lamented before God – who they have committed such crimes, but on that account one cannot be collectively suspicious of the others just because they are also priests.” The percentage is even less with regard to the total number of clergy in the world than in the case of comparable pedagogical professional groups – which of course does not in any way excuse the criminal offense nor alleviate the suffering of the victims,” he said.
Müller refers to a study of the forensic psychiatrist Norbert Leygraf from the University of Duisburg commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference. According to this, paedophilia was diagnosed only in nine out of a total of 78 priests who had been examined for accusations. The proportion of priests with a sexual preference disorder in the entire priesthood is not significantly different to the proportion of those affected by it in the German general population. However, the question of whether or not sexual assaults by Catholic clergy have occurred disproportionately frequently cannot be answered “either by means of extensive US studies or by the present study,” the authors wrote in 2012.
Cardinal Müller has been repeatedly criticised for his unhappy dealings with the victims of abuse, including the lack of dialogue. “Some people think they write a letter and get an answer with the verdict about the defendant,” he said. “This is simply not possible, because the process has a structure and must be carried out according to objective criteria.”
In addition to his responsibilities as a Regensburg bishop, Müller was, as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responsible for the investigation of abuse worldwide. He defends himself against the accusation that he, as prefect in Rome, also hindered the processing of such cases. “It is simply not true that we have been negligent in the prosecution of such crimes, or that we have delayed the conclusion of cases due to insufficient dedication to the task,” he says. “The exact opposite is the case.” The Congregation has always taken a zero-tolerance approach despite some external attempts at interference, Müller said.
There are great prejudices against Catholic clergy on account of celibacy, according to Müller. “People think that if someone lives in continence voluntarily, he has to get rid of his feelings somewhere [else]. Even if that were true, a normal person would look for a relationship with a woman rather than a child.”
This text, published today in the internet edition of Der Spiegel, does not touch upon everything Muller said in his interview, as is evident from reports by other news sites, who quote Muller also on other topics, such as his lamentations about how Germans are treated in the Vatican when it comes to the selection of residential apartments.
In addition, Muller mentions that he was “never a conservative” (can’t disagree there!); he reaffirms that his relationship with Francis was always a good one, at least as far as he knows; and he condemns the recently-passed “homosexual marriage” law in his native country as a “false label”, affirming that matrimony can by its nature only be between a man and a woman.
But perhaps his most explosive utterance of all, especially in light of the recent snafu about the “Cardinal” Meisner funeral in Cologne, was reported in Die Welt:
What is next for him? The cardinal no longer has a concrete assignment. A return to Germany is not an option for him. “What am I going to do in Germany? I gave up everything there in order to serve the Univeral Church in Rome.” It is indeed sad, he says, that there is now no German left in such a high position in the Curia. The retired Pope Benedict agrees with him on this: He too is “disappointed” that his contract [to serve as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] was not renewed, according to Muller.
(“Kardinal Müller kritisiert ‘scheinheilige Papstdevotion'”, Die Welt, July 19, 2017; our translation.)
If enough web sites and blogs pick this up, it will reverberate throughout the globe: Yet another “Benedict vs. Francis” moment that adds fuel to an already-raging
The Novus Ordo’s ostensible “two-party system”, as Professor Mark Silk has called it, is taking on concrete shape. Although it is but part of the same Modernist religion, it is becoming undeniable that there are indeed two facades now to it, one for the conservative adherents and one for the open liberals.
At this point, it would probably only be a slight exaggeration to say that if Benedict XVI were to declare now that he had been forced out of office, half the Modernist Sect would rally behind him, and the formal schism would be complete.
Image source: alamy.com