The faithful of a German parish have fought back against a “fundamentalist and inhuman” cardinal, successfully campaigning to block him from speaking at their church.
Driving the news
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former top doctrinal official in the Vatican, was slated to speak November 6 in a public debate with Gloria, Princess of Thurn and Taxis in the Saint Elizabeth Church in Bochum-Gerthe.
That was until the parish priest decided to cancel the event, due not only to logistical and monetary reasons – the cardinal and princess were selling tickets at 15 euros a piece – but also to a growing protest in the parish against the cardinal’s “conservative statements”.
The event with Müller and Princess Gloria was moved to another site, the Lohnhalle in Bochum-Wattenscheid, but it turns out that Catholics didn’t want the speakers there either.
“Cardinal Müller is also not welcome in the Lohnhalle in Bochum-Wattenscheid!”, Elisabeth Hartmann-Kulla, a spokesman for the Essen diocese branch of Catholic women’s right movement ‘Maria 2.0’, explained on Facebook.
“Critical and engaged Catholics (male and female) can nowhere accept without protest an evening event with the Cardinal and with Gloria Princess of Thurn and Taxis”, Hartmann-Kulla explained.
“Here two people are given a platform to present to the public their ultra-conservative opinions, which are fundamentalist and inhuman”, the spokesman added.
Hartmann-Kulla later clarified that the disinvitation of the cardinal and the princess was “in no way a hindering or halting of the readiness to dialogue and democracy”.
Still, the event with Müller and Princess Gloria was eventually cancelled altogether.
Why it matters
Though he has flip-flopped on the possibility of ordaining married priests, Cardinal Müller has a long history of opposition to the views of ordinary Catholics, up to the point in which he is now considered to be one of Pope Francis’ major opponents in the Church.
During the Amazon Synod, the cardinal described the presence of native “idols” in churches as a “grave sin, a crime against divine law”, despite the fact that official Vatican spokespeople described the Mother Earth statuettes as depictions of life and fertility.
Last February, Müller issued a “Manifesto of Faith” which many observers interpreted as an thinly-veiled attack on Pope Francis for creating “confusion” in the Church as a consequence of his reforms on women in the Church and communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, for example.
Müller even referred in his “Manifesto” to “religious delusion” and the “fraud of the anti-Christ”, which he said was the failure of pastors to teach the “truths of the Faith”.
But fellow German cardinal Walter Kasper blasted Müller for his “Manifesto”, saying he was “totally appalled” after reading the document.
“Is there a Luther redivivus [brought back to life] behind this manifesto? One that advocates reform in the church, but intends to bypass the pope and oppose him? I do not want to believe that. Because that would only lead to confusion and fragmentation. That would rip the Catholic Church from its hinges”, Kasper said of Müller’s text.
For the record
For her part, Princess Gloria has long been a friend of some of the most reactionary elements in the Church, such as Cardinal Raymond Burke and not least of all Cardinal Müller, whom she described as the “Trump of the Catholic Church”.
But earlier this week, the princess was also forced to withdraw her signature from the new “Protest” against Pope Francis for the ‘Pachamama’ statues of the Amazon Synod.
That was after her bishop, Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, also did the same.
“In light of the reaction of the bishop of Regensburg, my local bishop, to the ‘petition against recent sacrileges,’ I see myself compelled, convinced of the viewpoint of the Regensburg bishop… to withdraw my signature under this petition”, the princess wrote in a statement published on kath.net.