Cardinal Müller: "Small Left and Right Factions" -- "Announce the Gospel Without Betraying"
(Rome) There have been rumors for weeks that Cardinal Gerhard Müller could be replaced by Pope Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine and the Faith. The former bishop of Regensburg was appointed by Benedict XVI. eight months before his unexpected resignation, to Rome. He still tries to form a counterpoise to the Pope's line by means of written and oral statements, at present mainly on the question of the admission of remarried divorced persons to the sacraments.
Personally, the cardinal vehemently denies this, as in the interview published yesterday by La Repubblica.
The balancing act between the task of guarding the faith, on the one hand, and the fact that he exercises this task only as an employee and an assistant on behalf of the pope. "Let there be no hesitation to bring sexual abuse to the authorities"
In yesterday's Sunday edition, Paolo Rodari published a detailed interview with Cardinal Müller. As Vaticanist of the daily Il Foglio, Rodari accompanied the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. With the election of Pope Franziskus, he moved to La Repubblica in 2013, the "only" daily newspaper, which Francis regularly reads according to his own statement. Since then it has been quieter for the journalist.
In the opening credits of the conversation, Rodari writes that Cardinal Müller "denies the vernacular, which wants to see him as a 'right' guardian against the 'left' openings of Francis. The occasion for the interview was the publication of the Italian edition of Cardinal Müller's book "The Message of Hope", according to English title. The book was originally published in the spring of 2016 in Spanish.
The Cardinal reaffirmed the "zero tolerance" for pedophile priests. He urged the bishops to urge such priests to self-report and to bring the offenders to the authorities themselves. He also called minors themselves to bring cases to the public authorities.
"Priests are citizens like everyone else. If they commit a crime, they are to be held responsible for civil and criminal law. This is the only way to avoid a repeat of the abuse. "
Is there opposition to Pope Francis in the Roman Curia?
Rodari: Does Francis have adversaries in the Roman Curia?
Cardinal Müller: All Cardinals have studied theology, they all know the doctrine of the papacy and the episcopate. We are competent priests who know the mission of the Pope and its importance for all. We live with Francis an affective and effective collegiality. Unfortunately, some media are more aware of the legitimate differences of opinion and not the great harmony. The pope is the 266th successor of Peter, and everyone, including him, has his own history. This individuality is the form in which everyone fulfills their mission. Francis has the peculiarity of coming from an outside European continent. This difference is precious to us.
Rodari: Especially in the Internet, there is no lack of those who are able to oppose what you say about the doctrine of the faith ...
Cardinal Müller: These are small right and left-wing factions, which use me and the pope to argue among themselves. These are ideological positions that I do not share. By the way, soon a book of mine will be published about the pope and the papacy. [The German original edition was published on 20 February ] We all serve the work of the Pope. We work together to serve its mission.
Rodari: Do you think that with regards Communion, Francis is taking a new step for the remarried divorced?
Cardinal Müller: We have the message of Jesus and the Bible, which speaks clear words to the foundation of marriage in God's salvation. The sociological conditions are changing, but one must also bear in mind that there are different anthropologies which ours, based on the Word of God, do not accept. The Gospel is to be proclaimed without betraying it. With the sermon and testimony of Christian life, Francis wants the people of God to feel the closeness of the Good Shepherd.
Rodari: What does it mean that Mercy lives?
Cardinal Müller: God is not a cold lawgiver, but a present, near God. Already in the Old Testament, God had proved his closeness to his people by freeing them from slavery and giving them milk and honey. Jesus was merciful towards the needy, the sick ... Living mercy means to live the Gospel all the way.
Rodari: Is there the danger that the insistence on love forces the circumstance into the background that the truth has a name for the faithful: Jesus Christ?
Cardinal Müller: There is no contradiction. God is the creator of all men and loves all. Everyone has an identity and is to be respected. Jesus is not pushed into the background. The insistence on love is rather to speak the language of Jesus. Recently, Francis has met the representatives of other cultures. He said to them, "Even if we do not speak the same language, we can understand each other because we speak the language of the Holy Spirit, love."
Text / translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: La Repubblica (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org