Cardinal Müller: "Francis and I? I am Loyal to the Pope, but no Flatterer"
(Rome) Matteo Matzuzzi of Il Foglio published a detailed interview with Gerhard Cardinal Müller, the Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Congregation of the Faith, who had been dismissed by Pope Francis on June 30th. The interview also addresses the question of why Cardinal Müller gave the decisive vote in the final vote of the bishop's synod of 2015, which saved Cardinal Kasper from a defeat and Pope Francis from the loss of face, but only made the controversial post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia possible.
The pope was breaking the dams, the Prefect of Doctrine and the Faith played fire-brigade - and was shown the door
In the last 16 months, since the publication of the controversial post-synodal letter of Francis, Amoris laetitia, Cardinal Muller has entered the public with a clear counter-position to the pope without criticizing the Pope directly and by name. The core question of the double bishops' synod on the family was whether or not re-married divorced - and in consequence other believers in irregular relationship situations - are admitted to the sacraments. The traditional doctrine of the Church is decidedly no, because Christ teaches the indissolubility of marriage against the divorce practice of the Old Testament. On 20 February 2014 Cardinal Walter Kasper, on the other hand, said yes to the Cardinal's Consistory. There is no doubt that Pope Francis favored Kasper's affirmation and that today's practice was made possible by him in some dioceses and whole countries. Officially, however, the pope did not raise the question, in order not to expose himself to charges of heresy. Critics therefore speak of an oblique advocacy.
The fact is that today every bishop of the world Church can decide for his diocese himself, whether or not remarried divorced persons are admitted to the Holy Communion. In 1977, as the historian Roberto de Mattei recalled a few days ago, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre prophesied this fragmentation of the world Church, which would have to reach out to those who want an adaptation of the Church to the temporal spirit.
Francis Brought the "Greatest Confusion"
Cardinal Müller has repeatedly appeared in the past months in order to contradict the case of Kasper and his followers. The Prefect of Faith renounced any criticism of Pope Francis, although that he was the main contributor to the "greatest confusion" only a blind man could deny, as Cardinal Carlo Caffarra criticized at the beginning of the year. Cardinal Müller emphasized, however, what was implicitly a criticism of Cardinal Kasper, and also of Pope Francis, that the doctrine of the Church and, indeed, the resulting practice had changed.The prefect of faith also emphasized that "no one, not even the pope," could change the doctrine of Christ about the indissolubility of marriage.
Clear words, which, however, could not stop the oncoming train of the Kasperians because they know the Pope on their side. Thus they could and can call the CDF prefects, whether they were called Müller or Ladaria, a "good man" in the distant Rome.
Before the first Bishop's Synod, Kasper had declared unequivocally against criticism that the Synod was either going the way it wanted it, or it could be canceled at once. It was a form of coercion that would have had consequences but which did not exist, because Kasper had been the shadow of Francis since the beginning of the pontificate.
An "inherited" CDF prefect
The relationship between Pope Francis and the Faith Prefectures inherited from Benedict XVI. never reached a brotherly cordiality. At the latest, with the protest letter of the thirteen cardinals, one of them Müller, at the beginning of the decisive bishop's synod in 2015, led to the final break.The cardinals felt they were being led by nose, and said that clearly.They gathered in Rome to discuss each other, and had to conclude that the Synodic Government, already determined by faithful Bergoglians, had already already formulated the synodic result.The Cardinals protested against a defeat of the Synod and, above all, against preconceived results.Pope Francis and his court hadbeen caughtin flagranti manipulating the course of events.
The pope "raged," was how Edward Pentin reported when in November 2016 the Dubia (doubts) of four cardinals about Amoris laetitia became known. He did not so much rave about the letter, which he could dispose of in the paper basket. He raged that the letter became public. The same papal anger against the four cardinals, Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra, and Meisner, with their Dubia(doubts) about Amoris laetitia is still there a year later. Francis ignores the Dubia to this day, and it may be concluded that he had also ignored the protest letter of the 13 Cardinals of October 2015. His anger, the only reaction, is triggered because the criticism of the Cardinals, whether wanted or not, came to the public.
In 2015, the pope himself appeared before the synodals and raged against a "hermeneutics of conspiracy". Against the Dubia of the Cardinals, he sent out his closest collaborators, who attacked and publicly denounced them. To be exact, the representatives of the papal entourage did not fall over the Dubia, which would have been justifiable. No, they left the Dubia on the left, refused to be contentious like the Pope, and fell upon the Cardinals themselves.
Cardinal Müller was dismissed on June 30th. The admission that he had not been extended in his office after the expiry of his term of office is, at best, cosmetics to defuse the situation.
It is well known that at the end of the double synod on the family, which was specially constituted and directed to push through the Kasper proposal and allow the remarried divorced to Communion, that with the dambreak in the remarried divorced against the Christ's commandment, further dam breaks would be automatically included.
Schönborn's Graduality Principle and Humanae vitae
The Kasper thesis, with which he wanted to achieve his goal, could also be applied to other situations. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn already provided the extended theory for the first family code in 2014: the gradual principle. There are therefore no irregular situations. As such, the Church identifies all sexual relations between people outside marriage, the only regular relationship provided by God. According to Schönborn, every relationship between two people is only a gradual differentiation of the Lord's command. Sometimes more, sometimes less. The Church should accompany the fullness, but in all respects already weakened the realization of this commandment. This thesis forbids, this is the main point, any criticism of irregular relations , such as adultery. This would overcome the contrast that finally exists between the Church and the Zeitgeist since the sexual revolution of the 1960s. This was a contrast that a few clerics felt as a strain and which they wanted to get rid of today rather than tomorrow.
Pope Paul VI. Had, on the other hand , affirmed him with his Encyclical Humanae vitae, which was often designated as prophetic, in the "Revolution Year" Even at that time, entire bishops' conferences, including those of the German-speaking world, were denied him. A break that has since destroyed the Church like a poison on the living body. Amoris laetitia is the first step to overcome the break. Not in the sense of the restoration of the commandment of Christ, but by capitulation to the prevailing temporal spirit and its hypersexualization.
At the end of the Bishop's Synod in 2015, the plan of the Kasperians, supported by Francis, still seemed to fail. The required majority was not reached during the vote on the synod report. A victory of the sacramental order handed down throughout the line, but with a beauty defect. The Pope would have stood in public as a loser, and a profound break would have been visible in the church. Such a scenario not only made the Kasperians nervous, who were threatened with a loss of content. It also made those nervous about the public image of the church, its image and prestige.
Thus, a compromise was made feverishly presented by Cardinal Schönborn, who - not Kasper - became one of the real makers of "Amoris laetitia". The vote on the revised final report resulted in a majority of only one vote. Knapper did not go anymore. Cardinal Müller had voted for the compromise. His voice was so decisive.
Why did Cardinal Müller vote for synod report?
Matzuzzi asked the dismissed faith prefect why he had voted for the Schönborn draft. He had, since the publication of Amoris laetitia, had to run after the Bergoglians, to remind them, quite unsuccessfully, that "no authority, no priest, no bishop and not even the pope" could correct the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Here the answer from Cardinal Müller:
"The Synod has clearly stated that the individual bishops are responsible for this way [of the remarried divorced] to lead people to the full sacramental grace. This interpretation is there, no doubt. But I have never changed my private and subjective position. As a Bishop and Cardinal, I have represented the doctrine of the Church, which I also know in its fundamental developments from the Council of Trent to Gaudium et Spes, which constitute the two guidelines. This is Catholic, the rest belongs to other convictions. I do not understand how different theological and dogmatic interpretative positions can be reconciled with the clear words of Jesus and St. Paul. Both have clarified that you can not marry a second time when the legal partner still lives. "
"Understand the Reasons for the Dubia of the Four Cardinals"
At the same time, Cardinal Müller explained the reasons given by Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Brandmüller, Cardinal Caffarra, and Cardinal Meisner, who had since passed away, to the Pope to present fiveDubiato Amoris laetitia.
"I do not understand why you do not start a dialogue in peace and serenity. I do not understand what obstacles stand in the way. Why are such tensions made public, too?"
Words which are an obvious criticism of Pope Francis, who has refused to meet the Cardinals' desire for dialogue since September 2016. Also, at their request of last April to be received by the Pope in audience, the four cardinals received no answer. No Answer!
The Spirit of God and the Spirit of the World
Cardinal Müller sees a willingness within the Church to work to adapt to the spirit of time. Matzuzzi referred to Benedict XVI's criticism of the Zeitgeist. Cardinal Müller:
"The emeritus pope spoke of the zeitgeist, but St. Paul spoke of the spirit of God and the spirit of the world. This contrast is very important and must be understood. The affirmation of faith - the Church and the bishops - does not depend on the applause of an uninformed mass. And another thing: our work is treasured and appreciated when we convince a man to give himself completely to Jesus Christ by placing his existence in the hands of Jesus. In his first epistle, St. Peter speaks of Jesus Christ the souls of souls! And today one speaks of responsibility for culture and the environment? Yes, but we have many competent laity. People who bear responsibility in politics: we have governments and parliaments, etc. The Apostles did not transfer Jesus to the secular government of the world. There were prince-bishops in earlier centuries and they have not done well to the Church."
And addressed to secularization, Cardinal Müller said:
"They live as if God did not exist. The problem is not secularization but de-Christianization."
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Photo: Il Foglio (Screenshot)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org