Cardinal Müller’s latest Critique

From Gloria TV News:

Speaking to the Corriere della Sera Cardinal Müller said that Pope Francis’ popularity is good for the Church. He noticed, however, that this popularity does not motivate people to receive the sacraments nor does it induce non-Catholics to change their wrong beliefs. As an example, Müller named the known Italian politician Emma Bonino, a fan of Francis, who at the same time strongly supports abortion. According to Müller we must be careful not to confuse Francis’ popularity with a renewal of the faith.

Müller also mentioned a “magic circle” around Francis which is concerned with “spying on alleged opponents”. He named the July dismissal of three collaborators of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Quote: “They were good and competent priests who worked for the Church with exemplary dedication”. He adds: “People cannot be dismissed ad libitum, without evidences or trial, on the basis of anonymous letters”.

Cardinal Müller emphasized that Church authorities must listen to those who have serious questions or fair claims without ignoring or, worse, humiliating them. Otherwise, this could encourage disoriented and disappointed Catholics to go into schism. Müller believes that the cardinals who have voiced doubts about Amoris Laetitia, or the 62 signatories of a letter of criticism to the Pope, should be heard. They should not be brushed away as “Pharisees” or grumblers.

Müller further stressed that a Pope should always listen to arguments before making decisions. According to him a good relationship between the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will always be the key to a profitable pontificate.

Cardinal Müller believes that after almost five years it is time to go beyond the understanding of the Church as a “field hospital”.  Quote: “Today we would need more of a Church Silicon Valley. We should be the Steve Jobs of the Faith and convey a strong vision in terms of moral and cultural values and spiritual and theological truths.”


Here is the text of  Cardinal Müller’s interview published by Corriere della Sera on November 26th:

Cardinal Gerhard Müller speaks with an even tone and a marked German accent. We are in the Piazza della Città Leonina apartment that was previously occupied by Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI, in a building inhabited by high-ranking prelates.

“There is a front of traditionalist groups, just as there is with the progressivists, that would like to see me as head of a movement against the Pope. But I will never do this. I have served the Church with love for 40 years as a priest, 16 years as a university professor of dogmatic theology and 10 years as a diocesan bishop. I believe in the unity of the Church and I will not allow anyone to exploit my negative experiences of these last few months.

“Church authorities, on the other hand, need to listen to those who have serious questions or justified complaints; not ignoring them, or worse, humiliating them. Otherwise, without desiring it, there can be an increase of the risk of a slow separation that might result in the schism of a part of the Catholic world, disorientated and disillusioned. The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant Schism of 500 years ago should teach us, above all, what errors to avoid.”
“The Pope confided to me: ‘Some have told me anonymously that you are my enemy’ without explaining in what way,” he recounts unhappily.

“After 40 years at the service of the Church, I had to hear this: an absurdity set up by prattlers who instead of instilling worry in the Pope they would do better visiting a ‘shrink.’ A Catholic bishop and cardinal of the Holy Roman Church is by nature with the Holy Father. But, I believe, as Melchior Cano, the 16th century theologian said, that the true friends are not those who flatter the Pope, but those who help him with the truth and with theological and human competence. In all the organizations of the world, deceivers of this type serve only themselves.”

“Tensions [in the Church] arise from the contrast between an extremist traditionalist front on some websites and an equally exaggerated progressive front, which today seeks to become accredited as ‘superpapal.’

“Look: if there is a perception of an injust act by the Roman Curia, almost due to inertia a schismatic dynamic might be set in motion, difficult to reverse.

“I believe that the cardinals who have voiced doubts about Amoris Laetitia, or the 62 signatories of a letter of criticism, which was excessive, to the Pope, should be heard, not dismissed as ‘Pharisees’ or grumbling people.

“The only way to get out of this situation is a clear and candid dialogue. Instead, I have the impression that in the ‘magic circle’ of the Pope there are some who are focused primarily on being spies against presumed adversaries, thus preventing an open and balanced discussion. Classifying all Catholics according to the categories of ‘friend’ or ‘enemy’ of the Pope is the worst harm that they cause to the Church.

“One remains perplexed if a well-known journalist [Note: probably referring to Eugenio Scalfari], is an atheist who boasts of being a Pope’s friend; and in parallel a Catholic and cardinal bishop like myself is being defamed as the opponent of the Holy Father. I don’t believe that these people can give me lessons in the theology of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.

On the unprovoked dismissal of the Pope by some theologians of his Congregation: “People cannot be fired on a whim, without evidence or trial, just because someone has accused them anonymously of making vague criticism of the Pope…”

Müller does not see a more divided Church than it was in the years of Benedict XVI.

“But I see her weaker. Let us try to analyze the problems. Priests are growing more scarce and we give responses that are more organizational, political and diplomatic than theological and spiritual. The Church is not a political party with the party’s struggles for power. We need to discuss existential questions about life and death, about the family and religious vocations, and not permanently about ecclesial politics.

“Pope Francis is very popular, and that is a good. But many people no longer take part in the sacraments. And his popularity among non-Catholics who cite him with enthusiasm, unfortunately, does not change their false convictions. Emma Bonino, for example, praises the Pope but remains firm in a position in favor of abortion that the Pope condemns. We must be careful not to confuse the great popularity of Francis, which is also a huge asset for the Catholic world, with a true revival of faith: even if we all support the Pope in his mission.”

The image of the Church as a “field hospital,” an image Francis first used in his interview with Civilta Cattolica in the summer of 2013.

“It was a great insight of the Pope, but perhaps now it is necessary to go beyond the field hospital, and to bring an end the war against the natural and supernatural good of today’s men who made it (the field hospital) necessary,” he says.

“Today we need more a type of ‘Silicon Valley’ of the Church,” Müller says.

“We must become the Steve Jobs [founder and head of the Apple computer company, now deceased] of the faith, and transmit a vision that is strong in terms of moral values and spiritual and theological truths.”

“It is not enough,” he adds, “the popular theology of some monsignors or the too journalistic theology of others. We also need theology at the academic level.”

From his words it is clear that the criticisms are directed above all toward some collaborators of Pope Francis.

“It’s good to use language that people can understand. Francis tends rightly to speak against the arrogance of intellectuals. But sometimes, the intellectuals are not the only arrogant ones. The vice of pride pertains to the character, not to the intellect. I think of the humility of St. Thomas, the greatest Catholic intellectual. Faith and reason are in harmony. ”

In the perspective of the Cardinal, a model of the papacy that tends to emerge from time to time, “more like the sovereign of the Vatican State than like the supreme teacher of the faith,” can give rise to some reservations.

“I feel that Francis wants to listen to and integrate everyone. But the arguments of the decisions must be discussed first. John Paul II was more a philosopher than a theologian, but was assisted and advised by Cardinal Ratzinger in preparing the documents of the magisterium. The relationship between the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was and will always be the key to a fruitful pontificate. And I also remind even myself that the bishops are in communion with the Pope: brothers and not delegates of the Pope, as the Second Vatican Council reminded us.”




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5 Responses to Cardinal Müller’s latest Critique

  1. Cardinal Müller is a kind and generous man – kind and generous almost to a fault.


  2. kathleen says:

    According to Müller we must be careful not to confuse Francis’ popularity with a renewal of the faith says the introductory passage.

    In the article Card. Müller then goes on to clarify this. As they say in Spain (translated): “Tell me who your friends are, then I’ll tell you who you are”!
    Very revealing.

    Pope Francis’ main “popularity” appears to be among pro-abortionists, LGBT activists, Catholic progressives (who often deny and disbelieve much of Catholic magisterial teaching), and finally non-Catholics who are mostly ignorant of true Catholicism.
    OTOH, Francis’ unpopularity among most orthodox Catholic believers has nothing to do with him personally – and in fact it is probably from this section of the Church that he receives more prayers of supplication and sacrifice for a faithful fulfilling of his ministry as Supreme Pontiff – but it is due to his continual dismissal, insults and disdain shown to faithful Catholics, plus his ongoing stubborn refusal to “confirm the brethren in the Faith”, as a true ‘shepherd’ would do; and all this despite numerous beseeching appeals from the ‘flock’.

    Cardinal Müller is a loyal prince of the Church, whose main concern and mission is the defence of the Church’s sacred Deposit of Faith. Pope Francis should have the insight to see through the “magic circle’s”* malicious criticisms of the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    * “magic circle”! Now where have I heard that description before 😉?


  3. Toadspittle says:

    ” As they say in Spain (translated): “Tell me who your friends are, then I’ll tell you who you are”!”
    In other words,, “Don’t mix with people who don’t think exactly the same way you do.”


  4. kathleen says:

    How narrow minded of you to see it that way, Toad! (Predictably “narrow minded”, as usual.) Are you unaware that Christ tells us to see Him in each of our neighbours and to love them accordingly? We must shun no man.

    That’s not to say that one can only make a true friend of those with whom we share a basically similar outlook on life. Like Our Blessed Lord in His earthly life (e.g., the Apostles, Lazarus, Mary and Martha, Nicodemus), though He loved and cared for everyone, seeking out the stray sheep to bring them too into the fold. Our Lord did not leave sinners in Satan’s clutches, nor encourage them to continue indulging in their grave sins. He converted them!

    Can you in all honesty say that Pope Francis tries to bring pro-abortion advocates, active sodomites, heretics, etc. back “into the fold”? To save their souls. On the contrary; he promotes many of them to influential places in the Church!
    And can you truthfully admit the harsh words and treatment he consistently deals out to traditional Catholics who try to be faithful to the Church’s teaching imitates this caring love of Christ?

    I think not.


  5. Mary Salmond says:

    Cardinal Muller has expressed my sentiments exactly. Words must mean be precise, especially from the Pope.


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