4 August 2017


His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Mueller may not have been well treated by the current occupant of the Roman See ... but he was badly treated by the more eccentric wing of Traddidom long before that.

Among the things I most admire about Mueller is his steadfast defence of the highly important  principle, established by Benedict XVI and detested by the apostate sections of Germanic Christianity, that Episcopal Conferences have no theological status. The Universal Church, within which the Roman See is the centre of Catholic Communion, does have status; and so does the the Local, Particular Church, with its Bishop, Presbyterium, Diaconate and Laos. But 'Conferences'  ... no way. Lose sight of this, and you will find yourself wandering down the muddy track called Provincial Autonomy, which smashed up the unity and traditions of the once great Anglican Communion. The Universal Church does indeed have priority over the Particular Church, as Ratzinger demonstrated in his punctiliously courteous but devastating demolitions of the sneering and nasty Kasper. The scholarly clarity of the former was more than a match for the slippery and phony logic of the latter.

But the dafter traddies never really noticed any of this. It was Mueller's stand on Amoris laetitia which most irritated them. They totally failed to observe the dilemma upon the stiletto-sharp horns of which he skewered Amoris laetitia. His Eminence offered AL two alternatives: (1) it has changed nothing; Familiaris consortio and Caritatis sacramentum still rule, OK; or (2) it has changed the immemorial praxis and doctrine of the Church.

The former of these is the only viable option. It is widely suspected both by the pope's admirers and his critics that Pope Francis had hoped to create a massive and confused muddy area of ambiguities in which the solutions he wanted would bubble up to the service and gradually, over time, establish themselves as facts upon the ground. If that is accurate, Mueller called his bluff. Perhaps that is why he had to go.

Gerhard Mueller will now have the leisure to work on his major edition of Joseph Ratzinger's works; and, I hope, to do a lot of his own work. He is, for a cardinal, young, and has much to offer the Church ... for which reason I am particularly glad that he did not accept some face-saving but time-wasting 'role'. If this pontificate lasts long enough, Bergoglio may come to regret that he did not (as the English mingently express it) keep Mueller inside the tent.

Mueller has put up with major humiliations, such as the tediously insistent implication in Pope Francis' words that Kasper, and then Schoenborn, are this age's brilliant theologians. There are also compelling reasons for thinking that the more minor and private humiliations which Mueller endured, Friday after Friday, may not have been few in number. This kindly and intelligent man has served the People of God through all of that with grace, simplicity, and loyalty.

I particularly hope that he will have time to return to the question of Liberation Theology. Despite a fair bit of froth about the Poor and the Peripheries, Pope Francis has no interest in this. But the major problems of unequal distribution and of the multinational corporations are still with us. So are the consequent violent polarities (as we see today in Venezuela) and the concomitant theological questions. Mueller is the man to take a fresh look at them.


Tom said...

Father, I had never come across 'mingent' before and laughed heartily when I discovered its meaning. Thank you!

Nicolas Bellord said...

I entirely agree that many people commenting on Traditionalist blogs failed to understand the very difficult situation Cardinal Mueller found himself in. The fact that he has been removed and what he has said subsequently in support of the dubia must surely convince any serious person that there is something desperately wrong with this papacy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

I LOVE "bubble up to the service"! Most felicitous auto-correct ever. AL's potential effect on the liturgy has heretofore gone unremarked! ;-)

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father, Kudos!!

His Eminence did an excellent job under trying circumstances and you are right to identify the failing faith of far too many in Tradistan (Rad Trad Blogger coined that description).

Saint Vincent of Lerins taught us that such epic epochs that we are now alive in is one way that God tests us to see if we love Him but far too many of those who have pitched their tents in Tradistan are not willing to drink the bitter chalice and they refuse to wait on The Lord and yet they are forever boasting about how they are fighting although fleeing communion with one's Bishop and Pope is a very odd way to fight.

The sine qua non of Catholicism has always been that one must maintain the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority.

Athelstane said...

"It was Mueller's stand on Amoris laetitia which most irritated them."

If memory serves, he caught considerable criticism at the time of his appointment by Benedict XVI for his stances on liberation theology and the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - which I think seems to explain the somewhat jaundiced view many traditionalists had of him from the outset. His careful dance on Amoris Laetitia seems merely to have aggravated that judgment.

Damasus said...

Thank you so much Father for the heartwarming comment on cardinal Müller!
What does "mingent" actually mean? As a german-speaker I couldn´t find any translation.

Damasus said...

p.s. I LOVE your description of Kasper- and do hope that he reads it too....

William Tighe said...

It takes no great effort to google up the word "mingent;" this is what I found:

Mingent = discharging urine, as, for example, "I would not have known that the stadium's bathrooms were out of order, were it not for the long line of mingent men standing along the wall."

Christopher Boegel said...

Mingent !!

And I love and admire Cdl. Mueller.

Figulus said...


You might have better luck looking the word up in a Latin dictionary than an English one.

There is a saying we have about difficult but nevertheless useful collaborators, "I'd rather have him in my tent pissing out, than out of my tent pissing in."

William Tighe said...

Mingo, mingere, minxi, mi(n)ctum; an English latinate derivation is "micturition." See also meio, meiere, mixi, mictum.

Alan said...

Paradoxically etymologically connected, I think, with both a rude English term for a lady's naughty bit and a rude Sicilian term for a gentleman's naughty bit (and Commissario Montalbano's favourite naughty word).

Raghn Crow said...

From an article by William Oddie in the Catholic Herald, from 6 July 2013:
"So, I am sure that Archbishop, Cardinal-to-be Müller is doctrinally as solid as a rock. All the same, the Prefect of the CDF surely needs to be easily and unambiguously understood by the faithful. These speculative flights could lead to trouble, and I hope he will soon take steps to dispel the uncertainty by explaining himself in simple language." (This article is easily found.)

Seems to me, "Traddie" that I am, that the good Cardinal has had a problem being "easily and umabiguously understood" for some time. Didn't he try to state that AL didn't mean what it clearly meant? Or how would one describe it? "Damage control", as the politicians say? Surely it should have been said plainly that AL is wordy, obtuse and in some places quite wrong. Honestly, we need honesty. Simple clarity. Pope Francis isn't big on clarity, or not often. And he's the end product of Vatican II's non-clarity conjure of multiloquent verbose garrulousness. The Council's documents have more words in them than all the previous Church councils produced in history.

I'm truly sorry if I'm not too sympathetic to Card. Müller, but a friend's teenagers just asked him to boil Christianity down to its most important message. In a few words. Forsooth, thank the Lord they didn't pose the current Vatican muses such a query!