Cardinal Müller’s self-delusion and sense of entitlement

Entitlement Cardinal Muller

Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s criticism of Pope Francis’ termination of his tenure as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is simply astonishing.

His complaint is that he had no warning and the termination was a summary dismissal.

I don’t know where the cardinal has been in recent months. But it doesn’t seem to have been in Rome.

Or if he was in Rome, he must have kept his winter muffs covering his ears and fogged goggles to (not) see with.

Even from a great distance – I live in Bangkok – it’s been obvious to me that if he didn’t change his tune, he wasn’t long for his job.

In recent months, the cardinal’s had three of his clerical employees sent packing from the CDF for their reported resistance to the current pope’s agenda.

Again, and as the world knows, the two lay people who resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors left explicitly because of their frustration with the obstacles and blockages that CDF staff placed before action and reform. Cardinal Müller denied there was any problem.

For him then to invoke nothing short of his entitlement to remain as the reason he’s most upset puts him, at least for me, in a parallel universe.

Clerical entitlement

Entitlement is just the most loathsome feature of clericalism.

It’s what the retarded seminary system inculcates; it’s what operates at too many levels of Church governance; and it’s a million miles from the sort of sacrificial service Jesus exhorted the Apostles to in John’s Gospel on the night before he died when he washed their feet and insisted, despite Peter’s protests, they should do this to others.

Cardinal Müller’s complaint against the pope is also about the process of his removal.

It is the complete absence of any sense of irony in this line of complaint that leaves me dumbfounded.

The cardinal headed an office in the Vatican whose modus operandi has been for about 500 years to ignore due process, deny natural rights and force those they’ve targeted to turn up to cross examinations where the accused is not given prior warning of the charges, who has made them or what evidence the charges are based on.

Müller is on very thin ground pursuing this line of attack to say he’s suffering from lack of due process.

But what’s more, what a spectacle to the world this display from Cardinal Müller is.

The abject lack of self-awareness as he digs his own hole deeper is something to witness.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again

Everyone in any workforce, me included, is contracted for a job for a specific length of time, which then comes to an end.

Sometimes hopes for reappointment are disappointed. And at other times, employees – and some of them senior – are fired.

I’ve had that happen in my professional life.

It wasn’t pleasant and I could have spent a lifetime in the vinegar bottle complaining about it to anyone silly enough to keep listening to me. Or, as the song goes, “you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again”.

And guess what? That has been the start of some great things in life for me.

Reversals are God’s opportunity to be God in our lives, if only we let Him, let go of control and start being led by the Spirit. And after all, isn’t that what the Christian journey is about?

All of us in any workforce have moved on from jobs we enjoyed but in which our time has come to an end.

Some of us have been moved from a task we thought not finished.

Either way, things change.

Why?

Really because we kid ourselves if we think our lives are only in our hands. This is no lasting city, as the Letter to the Hebrews (13,14) reminds us.

And that is especially so in the Vatican.

There, all appointments are by the grace and favour of the boss – the pope – and no one should be deluded to think they have a job for life. Only the pope has a job for life or until he resigns. He’s unique.

Everyone else is there to work for the company.

If you don’t like the company’s policies – and you’re entitled not to like them – then the alternative is to go home to the diocese or religious community you were ordained to serve.

One of the worst things clericalism does to male celibates is given them a role as a substitute for a life and a personality.

In his present circumstances, Cardinal Müller has a chance to reclaim both.

News category: Opinion.

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