Mueller calls manifesto critics political strategists and ignoramuses

Cardinal Gerhard Müller says critics of his Manifesto of Faith – especially those who describe him as an anti-pope – are “political strategists and theological ignoramuses”.

He says those critics have not read his previous work on papal supremacy.

“The same people who were critical, even hostile, towards Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, whom they denounced as traitors of the spirit of the [Second Vatican] Council, now invoke Pope Francis.”

Mueller says the Manifesto he published last month was necessary because “many Christians are no longer even aware of the basic teachings of the Faith, so there is a growing danger of missing the path to eternal life”.

The Manifesto reaffirms the Church’s traditional teaching on issues such as communion for divorced-and-remarried people and Communion for Protestants.

After reading the Manifesto, Cardinal Walter Kasper compared Mueller to Martin Luther, saying: “One who rightly advocates reforms in the Church, but wants to pursue these behind the Pope’s back and enforce them in opposition to him”.

His critics, he claims, are trying to use Francis as a “vehicle for their leftist-liberal agenda to de-sacramentalise the Church”.

In his view, the church is mistaken in various ways at present especially in relation to:

  • The sexual crimes of some priests: priestly celibacy or the sacramentality of the episcopal and priestly offices is not responsible – instead, the church should look at the collapse of the priestly ethos and sexual morality during the 1980s
  • Church reform: true reform means “spiritual and moral renewal in Christ – not the de-christianisation of the Church or her transformation into an NGO, where global warming is more important than an awareness that God is the source and goal of man and of the whole of creation”
  • Misusing the word “clericalism”: when trying to find the causes of the abuse crisis, the term is being used as a “battle cry against the office instituted by God”.

The best remedy for these problems is to follow traditional teaching, he says.

“The sacramental constitution of the Church, obedience to the Ten Commandments, and fidelity to one’s call as a baptised, ordained, or married/unmarried Christian—these, when heeded, are the best protection against all forms of disobedience to our Creator and Redeemer and against injury to the love of God and neighbour, that love which encapsulates all the commandments.”

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