(Rome) Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine and the Faith, is visibly angry. He had had several occasions to do this in recent times. It is not always possible for him to react. He does not accept everything silently. Now he has reacted to the resignation of Marie Collins.
The resignation of the Irish citizen, Marie Collins as a memeber of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was reproached by some of the media in an accusation against the Congregation for the Faith, led by Cardinal Prefect Müller. That was astonishing. Müller is known for a practice of zero tolerance. It was a hard indictment that he had hindered the work of the anti-pedophile commission. It is an accusation that does not want to match the facts.
"Fake News" from and about the Vatican
The presentation by the media, out of agency reports, however, was one-sided. The resignation had been properly exploited in order to put the position of Cardinal Müller and his Congregation in a bad light on such a delicate subject. The "evil Congregation of the Faith" is a stereotype, which not a few frequently want to willingly believe. The context of the "evil Congregation of Doctrine and the Faith" and the hindrance of the persecution of pedophile clerics and anti-pedophile prevention are all the more a scandalous mixture. Only, this is just not right. They are a lame media, or in other words, fake news, as they are so fond of saying. Coincidence, bad research, disinformation, attempted influence in inner-church affairs?
The line of zero tolerance, which Cardinal Müller pursues in terms of sexual child abuse, is authentic. It is different with the course of Pope Francis. Those who have good contacts with close papal-dignitaries or the pope himself are treated more gently than those who do not have these contacts. The key word Don Mercedes should suffice to name this line Of double standard. The dismissal of three members of the Congregation of the Congregation of the Congregation, which the Pope himself ordered, and which was enforced against the will of Cardinal Mueller, is also connected with the subject. Two of the three dismissed were concerned with the prosecution of clerical offenders, and their dismissal was not because they had a double standard. They represented the null-tolerance line of Cardinal Mueller, still holding to that which had been issued by Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Müller's Defense - The Case of the Chilean Bishop
Cardinal Müller can not publicly argue a series of connections to his own justification and the protection of his dicastery, because they could appear as a criticism of Pope Francis. Nevertheless, he did not want to take the attacks sitting down and formulated a defense. He criticized the criticism of the resigned Marie Collins, who had been chastised by the media for the Congregation, with the remark that the "Anti-Abuse Commission had so far only asked the Congregation for the dispatch of letters." In plain words, what impediment should have taken place if the Commission did not want anything from the Congregation, and therefore nothing could have been rejected.
The concrete reason for Collins's resignation, who herself had even been abused as a child, is the case of the Chilean bishop who had himself demanded Collins' resignation. Since this was not done after repeated requests, she took her own step to protest according to this threat. However, the bishop's benefactor is not the Congregation of Faith, but Pope Francis himself. The bishop concerned is Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, the Bishop of the Chilean diocese. Francis himself had appointed him Bishop of Osorno in 2015. Immediately, victim organizations were indignant at the appointment. However, Francis stood by Bishop Barroso Madrid, and in Rome, he even assured the Chilean faithful who wanted to bring to this to his attention (see The Bishop of Osorno has a super lawyer, Pope Francis, including a video of the correction). The bishop is not accused of sexual abuse, but a priest, Fernando Karadima, who is very well known in Chile.
Cardinal Müller's more fundamental criticism: "end with the stereotype"
The defense of Müller is thus made clearer in a further sentence, when he attacks a common stereotype: "With this stereotype that the pope stands on one side and the resistors on the other." Thus, the Cardinal already cited Matteo Matzuzzi in the Sunday edition of Il Foglio in its title.
The fact that Cardinal Müller mingled his statement by no means only in the matter of the anti-pedophile commission is evident from his choice of words. The quotation goes back to an interview of the Cardinal Prefect with Gian Guido Vecchi of the Corriere della Sera. Müller had said:
"I think that this stereotype should be brought to an end, the idea that on the one hand is a pope who wants reform, and on the other a group of adversaries who want to block it."
The words could also be translated so as to recognize their explosive nature. It is probably due to the conflict over the anti-pedophile commission, but it can also be read in a general context. "End with the stereotype that this pope is on the side of the good and the resistance is on the side of the evil."
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org