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(LifeSiteNews) — On today’s episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, I had the privilege of sitting down with Cardinal Gerhard Müller. His Eminence shared with me his thoughts on the rumors of Pope Francis’ resignation, the significance of Bishop Robert McElroy becoming a cardinal, and the Vatican sowing confusion in its differing treatments of human rights defender Cardinal Joseph Zen and pro-LGBT propagandist Father James Martin. Below the video is a transcript of our interview. It has been edited for clarity.
John-Henry Westen: Thank you, Eminence, for joining us on The John-Henry Westen Show. If I could start, we are right now experiencing a lot of consternation. There’s a bunch of cardinals in Rome right now. Megyn Kelly was just on television saying something’s going on. There’s a lot of rumor about “Pope Francis may retire,” “Pope Francis may be dying.” Can you tell us anything about what’s going on in Rome right now?
Cardinal Gerhard Müller: I don’t exactly know what is happening, but nobody knows what is happening. All is in God’s hands. The day will come that everyone has to die, and the pope is a human being, a man like us. He’s a pilgrim on this earth, and we have to pray for him because he is a successor of Saint Peter, the first pope and the shepherd of the universal Church, and also a human being with all his lights and shadows. And we have to ask pardon of God and look for His grace.
I don’t know personally that he will retire. Pope Benedict did retire; this was a great shockwave for the Church because the pope is a bishop, the bishop of Rome. At the same time, he has a principle of the permanent fundamental unity of the whole Church, in the communion of all the bishops, the local judges. Therefore, this has some repercussions, implications for the Church. And Pope Benedict is still alive, and it will be a big problem to have two Popes Emeriti. That is not good for the Church.
Everybody has his own meaning. But me, as a theologian, I am fundamentally against the resignation of the popes. Only in extreme cases we can understand it, but in normal situations we must always accept that the pope is human who becomes older. Everybody of course becomes older, but we have to give witness also in our sufferings, in our becoming old-aged. If we are, God is with us. So the testimony you are giving is to Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, and the hope we have for us all after this earthly life.
JHW: One of the things that is fueling this speculation is that the Consistory is being held in August, when normally it’s not. It’s extremely hot in Rome. Normally, the Pope would go off to Castel Gandolfo. It’s not happening. There’s a Consistory now happening in Rome in August, which is the worst time. Have you ever seen that before? What’s your thoughts on why that’s happening now?
CGM: The thing was very strange, because it’s the hottest time in Rome. It could become 40 degrees Celsius or more. And if you are all together in this collectively small group of 200 persons, it will be not a hell but a purgatory for all. Could be that the Holy Father wants to prepare us for purgatory? Because you know what’s in a short time? It’s a purgatory that could be. And it could be that he is looking, if we are well prepared, not only to be close to him in good times, but also when it becomes hot in a metaphorical sense. And we will do our best. I will do my best to help him and the Holy Mother, the Catholic Church. But it is a little bit strange. It is true that it’s exactly August. And this is the moment to wait for the announcement of the Consistory, and now to wait with this realization? Three months is very strange.
JHW: One of the bishops being elevated to cardinal is, in the United States, extremely controversial because he has taken stances on life, on family, particularly on homosexuality, that are at odds with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. The most famous of those is Bishop Robert McElroy. He’s argued for all sorts of things, very particularly on the life issue. He was adamantly against denying Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians. In fact, he argued at the Bishop’s Conference against any kind of superiority of abortion as a matter for choice in elections. He was talking about how poverty should be at the same level. And so he’s been a very controversial figure in the Church in the United States. And yet he was elevated to the College of Cardinals, despite the fact also that he is a suffragan bishop and that the current bishop of Los Angeles, who’s the metropolitan there, is himself still an archbishop but not elevated to the College of Cardinals. Archbishop Gomez remains Archbishop Gomez, and not Cardinal Gomez. Do you have any comment on that?
CGM: Nobody can understand this appointment, because it’s not only the election of those bishops that’s very under the periphery. The Diocese of Los Angeles has a very, very good bishop. And this is a fingertip for a certain understanding, I think the wrong understanding, of the Catholic Church in America. There are categories in which the Church in some countries is interpreted, according to my opinion, absolutely wrong. The Church is not divided in factions that are “liberal wing” and “conservative wing.” The difference is for all Catholics, especially for the bishops, to be faithful to the Word of God and the doctrine of the Holy Church. We are not bishops in our own name, with our political understanding and preferences. I cannot say I am on the side of Biden, or of Trump, and therefore I will change the Catholic faith according to my political options.
But the opposite is true. As Christians, we have to give some orientation for the politicians, especially if they are naming themselves Catholics. They must act in the Catholic name, not as a pressure group for the Catholic system. We don’t need pressure groups or the help of politicians. The first right of everybody is the right to life. If a bishop is saying it is the same level as our struggle against poverty, that is the absolutely wrong approach to the question. It is a political approach, but not a theological and moral approach to the questions. And the Church is the advocate for everybody, also for the non-Christians, because we believe that everybody is a creature of God. And therefore the right to life is an absolute basic, fundamental right.
And we see there is a war going on, the war against the life that comes from God, the beginning of the life. We are now killing the coming generation. We are killing children in the mother’s womb, and also our grandparents through euthanasia, and destroying the basis of all the consequences of generations, which is the matrimony of man and woman, of one man and his own woman. Sexuality is only for man and woman in matrimony. Who has read the first page of the Bible and then the authentic interpretation of the Word of God by the Son Jesus Christ in Matthew 19 about what matrimony is? He gives the definition of matrimony: that the man will leave behind father and mother, and will be linked together with his wife, and they will become one flesh, one unity of thinking, of body, of sexuality. And this is the source of the family, the children. And we are the great line of the generations from the beginning of creation until the end of the world. God gave to us human beings this great responsibility to come into matrimony, father and mother, the mediators of the nature of life. A Christian mother and father are the first representatives of Jesus Christ calling to our common priesthood their own children.
And it is absolutely clear that for every priest, cardinal, and the pope, every bishop must be absolutely faithful to the revealed faith and to the natural law which is given to us without making his personal politics. A good bishop is a shepherd and not a politician of the second class.
JHW: That actually brings us to my last question. I thank you so much for your time. We have probably been beset by something going on in the Church almost more than anything else. In Father James Martin, a Jesuit, we have a priest who is world famous for the promotion of homosexuality, for a change in the Church to accept homosexuality. He was looked down upon by certain faithful bishops in the United States who looked at him and were saying, “You can’t do this, you can’t try to change the teaching of the Church.” Nevertheless, Pope Francis first invited him to speak at the World Meeting of Families, then invited him to become a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, then met with him personally in an audience which Father Martin used to promote his homosexual pushing, if you will. Pope Francis also answered various dubia or questions that Father Martin posed on behalf of an LGBT group that he himself founded, and the pope answered those questions.
At the same time, Pope Francis has not met with Cardinal Joseph Zen when he came to visit on behalf of Chinese Catholics suffering under the heel of communism, and also would not answer Cardinal Raymond Burke and the other cardinals their questions. Catholics around the world are very confused and we’re wondering what we should do. Could you help us to understand and give us a way forward?
CGM: As a Catholic theologian, bishop, and cardinal, I’m absolutely on the side of the pope, the institution of papacy. But that doesn’t mean I have to justify all that is happening, because in the past some great theologians, St. Augustine, criticized some of the actions and words of the popes of the time. It’s not the adulation of the pope which makes the papacy great in the Church.
But this is absolutely clear — and nobody can change the doctrine of our Catholic faith — that homosexual behavior is a grave sin. All forms of sexuality outside of legitimate matrimony is a grave sin, a mortal sin. Father Martin cannot change it with all his political actions, and his networking, and all the propaganda he is making. What he’s doing, that is a heresy, absolutely heresy. Nobody can justify it. And he cannot excuse himself only with the doing of pastoral work for these persons with a sexual self-attraction. Nobody is more close to these people than Jesus Christ who gave His life for everybody. But this was not a justification of the sin, but it’s actually the occasion of the sinners to convert us. And nobody can say “I have a tendency towards polyamory,” or to say “I love not only one woman, but I love five.” That is not a justification. This is a [perversion] of the true sense of matrimony, with the love between the man and woman, and therefore there is no source and they can do what they want. But what is wrong is wrong and what is right is right. And they cannot make us quiet.
I am not in his line about what he is doing. It is absolutely wrong and is misleading the people. He is bringing into danger the salvation of the people with his own ideas. We cannot introduce wrong ideas and just mislead the people according to this ideology of LGBT propaganda. We are the Catholic Church, and Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, is the good shepherd of everybody. And I think this ideology is only abusing this people with their personal stories they have. It’s better to show the sinner the good way of conversion.
I kind of understand why Cardinal Zen was worthy to receive an audience, because he is of great testimony of the Catholic faith, and especially in Hong Kong where he is fighting for the basic human rights. We cannot sacrifice him only for some agreements with this dictatorial regime in China. China is a country of the Chinese people and every one of them is created according to the image of God. And we will never accept this interpretation that they have another tradition and they don’t understand our occidental understanding of human rights, that human rights are universal and everybody is a person before God. We are accepting all these Chinese people as our brothers and sisters of the same God and Creator. And we hope that they will become our brothers and sisters in the supernatural sense, in Jesus Christ, that we are preaching to everybody the Gospel. That is my absolute meaning with understanding, and I say it very openly without a diplomatic to-and-fro.
What is wrong is wrong and what is right is right. I am faithful to my eyes, especially I am faithful to my ears when we are hearing the Word of God, and the Word of God is this word. Separating the good and the bad is to go the way of Jesus Christ. Nobody has authority to change or to falsify the revealed Catholic faith according to the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church. All these people are always speaking about the Second Vatican Council, so you have to look what Gaudium et Spes is saying about matrimony. They can read what is the true doctrine of the Catholic Church about matrimony.
JHW: Beautiful, Eminence. I want to thank you for your time. I am sure many, many Catholics will be very grateful to hear your clarity, and I’m sure they’ll be praying for you. I would ask you now to impart your blessing on all the viewers of The John-Henry Westen Show.
CGM: We have received the love of God. We are all our sons and daughters of God, and Jesus Christ is eternal Son and the Holy Spirit. And therefore, we are asking for His blessing. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
JHW: Amen. Thank you so very much, Eminence. Bless you.
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