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Dubia Cardinal, bishops defend Cdl. Müller linking abuse crisis and homosexuality

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November 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On 21 November, LifeSiteNews published a wide-ranging interview with Cardinal Gerhard Müller – the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – in which the cardinal spoke about the abuse problem in general as related to the loss of Faith, and he pointed to the high percentage of male victims of clerical sex abuse and likewise to the problem of homosexually active priests. 

READ: Cdl. Müller on abuse crisis and its link to homosexuality in priesthood

These statements have prompted an outcry of indignation in Germany, as may be seen with the German bishops' news website Katholisch.de conducting an interview with a German Jesuit, Klaus Mertes. Now, however, does not only Cardinal Müller respond to the criticism, but also Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop Marian Eleganti, and Father Joseph Fessio, S.J, have publicly supported Cardinal Müller and his recent statements.

In his 23 November comments to Katholisch.de, Father Klaus Mertes claims that this interview with Cardinal Müller shows that the cardinal “has not yet understood anything.” He explicitly referred here to Cardinal Müller's cautionary words not to destroy the sacramental hierarchy of the Church when giving lay people inordinate supervision over bishops. Mertes calls this statement “clericalism” and a “clerical self-conceit that has turned into a dogma.” This clerical attitude, he adds, lies at the root of the abuse problem. He also calls  Müller's words “unbelievably brazen.”

Mertes strongly contradicts the claim that homosexuality has something to do with the Church's abuse crisis. There is a “faction” in the Church, he explains, that wants to say that “homosexuals are the culprits.” For him, it is rather the taboo that is still placed on this topic of homosexuality that is contributing to the abuse problem. Mertes calls it a “homophobic strategy” to claim that “homosexuals are offenders” and he does not at all think that homosexuals should leave the priesthood. “Of course a homosexual clergyman should be able to say 'I am homosexual,'” Mertes explains. The German Jesuit also comments on the recent Wucherpfennig controversy – during which Wucherpfennig was criticized by the Vatican for his ideas about the blessing of homosexual couples and about the ordaining of women – calling the Vatican's conduct “a scandal” and describing the Vatican's original decision not to support Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig's re-election as the rector of the Jesuit Graduate School in Frankfurt to be an “abuse of power.” 

Cardinal Müller, in a first response to this sharp criticism, calls Mertes' statements “brazen insults” which are the result of a “blind rage” and proceeds to say that Mertes “presents himself unjustly as an expert in questions of the sexual abuse of teenagers.” The work of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the other hand, is “based on a true basis of data.” It is “simply infamous to use the sexual crimes committed against teenagers and young adults in order to advance some aims of Church politics,” the German cardinal adds. It is obvious that this Jesuit “does not know the biblical teaching on homosexual acts and on the absolute atrocity of the violation of an adolescent.” Just as one “cannot further develop a typing machine into a piano, one cannot turn the Word of God into its opposite meaning.”

In his additional remarks concerning Mertes which he shared with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Müller furthermore states: “In his arrogance, he seems to think that the Church should today follow the great thinkers Mertes, zu Eltz, and Wucherpfennig, and not Peter, Paul, and John.” Rejecting this newly proposed course, the German cardinal adds: “We are far from having to offer our sacrificium intellectus to the modest house altar of these self-declared idols, that is to say to follow, against one's own better judgment, a dull ideology rather than the bright truth of the Gospels.” “It is only a sad proof of the decline of the Faith, and of reason, in some German ecclesial circles,” Müller explains, “that these effusions of an academic nobody can nonetheless cause the vehement applause of people of his kind.”

The last words here refer to yet another expression of indignation as recently published in Germany. In addition to critical remarks of Father Mertes on the website of the German bishops, Klaus Pfeffer, the general vicar of the Diocese of Essen, leaked on his facebook a few parts of a recent confidential conference organized by the German bishops on sex abuse matters, saying that Cardinal Müller's recent words were met with “indignation.” He adds that during that conference, Professor Dreßing – the head of the recent German sex abuse study which, in its conclusions, proposed to admit homosexuals to the priesthood – claimed that Cardinal Gerhard Müller is “cementing a sexual morality that itself has contributed to sexual violence.” According to Pfeffer, Dreßing's  words were met with “great applause.”

Pfeffer himself calls Müller's words “highly dangerous” (“brandgefährlich”). In this facebook entry, Pfeffer also posted Father Mertes' interview, saying that “I fully and entirely agree with Mertes.” The German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost first reported on this candid facebook entry, and it pointed out that Pfeffer leaked comments made at a conference which was explicitly declared to have been confidential, due to the planned discussion of the sensitive topic of clerical sexual abuse. 

Pfeffer is among those prelates in Germany who is in favor of a loosening – or even an abolishing – of clerical celibacy. His own bishop, Franz-Josef Overbeck, just recently claimed that, in light of the abuse crisis, the Catholic Church should reconsider her teaching on sexual morality.

As one Catholic who wishes not to be named commented: “Cardinal Müller seems to have hit right into the hornets' nest with his recent remarks pointing to the aspect of homosexuality in the abuse crisis.” 

LifeSiteNews reached out to several prelates and priests, asking them to comment on these sharp personal attacks against Cardinal Müller in the wake of his 21 November interview with LifeSiteNews.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller — one of the dubia signers — comments, saying that this strong reaction “is strange,” since Cardinal Müller “merely repeated what one can read about it in the Catechism. This is the teaching that is always and everywhere valid,” the German cardinal adds. Part of that teaching is that homosexual acts are leading to the loss of sanctifying grace in a soul, the prelate explains. That there is such a strong response to the words of Cardinal Müller is for Brandmüller either a sign of “lack of knowledge” or of “opposition to the Church's teaching.” In any event, he adds, it is “an alarming symptom for the loss of Faith in Germany.” “But he who now thinks that he cannot (anymore) affirm or confess it, should be honest and not any more call himself a Catholic,” he comments. Additionally, Cardinal Brandmüller stresses that his colleague in the cardinalate merely stated the facts when he pointed to the majority of male victims of clerical sex abuse. “For the sake of the victims, we have to take seriously these facts and take accordingly measures” such as it was done in the 1917 Code of Canon Law with regard to canonical penalties imposed upon a homosexually active priest.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in his own statement of support, also says that Cardinal Müller merely restated the Church's doctrine on homosexuality and thanks him for it: “We have to thank Cardinal Müller for presenting this opportune and needed reaffirmation of the Divine truth, by which he has provided a valuable spiritual help for so many souls.” In light of these newly aggressive reactions to Cardinal Müller's interview, Bishop Schneider also notices an “embarrassed silence amongst many bishops with regard to the danger of the spread of the homosexual heresy.” Regrettably, Schneider is himself now “observing a growing spread of the homosexual heresy inside the Church.” More and more people are coming out into the light who have been promoting the “homo heresy,” explains the prelate. “They disguise their heresy and apostasy, for instance, with the sophistic and gnostic expression “further development of Catholic moral doctrine” (“Weiterentwicklung der katholischen Morallehre”).”

Bishop Schneider also points to the proper role of Pope Francis in light of this growing problem in the Church when he says: “The tragic and regrettable thing in this situation is the fact that the Holy See, which is the seat of the truth (“cathedra veritatis”), not only does not oppose this advance of the homosexual heresy, but, incredibly, even assigns ecclesiastical tasks to notorious supporters of this homosexual heresy.” And he adds: “Unfortunately, we currently have to notice an eclipse in the Papal exercise of this very task of strengthening the truth regarding homosexuality.” Bishop Schneider therefore sees that, with his recent interview, Cardinal Müller indeed is doing a great service also to the Pope.

Bishop Marian Eleganti discusses in his statement the claim that homosexuality has nothing to do with clerical sex abuse. “This does not easily convince the common sense of the people. And therefore, many do not believe it,” he states. “It is an uncontested fact that 80 % of the abuser priests in the last 70 years have had a preference for adolescent male teenagers and seminarians and that they have found their victims mostly among this group of people (boys aged 12 to 18 years).” Eleganti refers to the recent study of Father Sullins and the link he shows between homosexuality and clerical sex abuse. Bishop Eleganti argues that, since in the overall society most abuse is committed by heterosexuals, nobody would think that they commit these crimes out of a clericalist attitude or for the sake of power. He proposes to use common sense to look at these matters and not to make personal attacks, but, rather remain on the level of argument. But the prelate also points out that such a substantive dialogue is less and less possible when he states:

“General Vicar Klaus Pfeffer called Cardinal Müller's words 'highly dangerous' [“brandgefährlich”]. Yes, in today's debate culture, it is indeed highly dangerous to express deviant views that are not in accordance with the majority, or simply to state the truth which many hold but do not dare to speak out loud because they fear the consequences (on the street there are incendiary devices and paint bombs; in the realms of discussion and dialogue, it involves labeling and pure hatred)!”

Father Joseph Fessio, the founder of Ignatius Press, also supports Cardinal Müller's recent statement in the matter of clerical sexual abuse and its link to homosexuality. He also recommends the Sullins study and comments: “After all, Cardinal Müller is simply stating what any normal person recognizes as obvious: men who are sexually attracted to other men are going to have sex with men, including young boys, more often than men who are not sexually attracted to other men. Even a Jesuit should recognize that, even if he has a PhD in Scripture.” 

****

Here follow the different statements as sent to LifeSiteNews:

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller:

It is really strange how much indignation Cardinal Müller's statements concerning the problem of homosexuality have caused. After all, he merely repeated what can be read about it in the Catechism. This is the teaching of the Church that is always and everywhere valid – and it is in accordance exactly with that which is written in Holy Scripture, to include the letters of the Apostle Paul. But this teaching already flows out of the nature of human sexuality which is clearly oriented toward the procreation and birth of human life.
The grave sin of a freely chosen homosexual act leads to the loss of sanctifying grace and thereby the loss of being a child of God. Thus, one has clearly judged sin. To judge the sinner, however, is not the place of man. This is God's Who is always ready to forgive when the sinner approaches him with repentance and the resolution not to sin again. Forgiveness is given after the confession in the Sacrament of Penance. This is the substance of the matter.

That its simple presentation causes a storm of indignation is either a sign of lack of knowledge, or even of opposition to the clear teaching of the Church. In any event, it is an alarming symptom for the decline of the Faith in Catholic Germany. But he who now thinks that he cannot (anymore) affirm or confess it, should be honest and not any more call himself a Catholic. It is really astonishing that a problem which at the most affects 0.1 % of the population is dominating the public opinion nearly obsessively. 

It was a prophetic sign that Pope Paul VI canonized in 1964 22 young men from Uganda who, between 1885 and 1887, were martyred because they refused to give in to the [sodomitic] sexual demands of King Mwamga II. This sign was given further strength by the Pope's canonization by Pope Francis.

Cardinal Müller has merely quoted the facts when he said in his interview that, in the Church, there exists a connection between homosexuality and sexual abuse. Also, the German bishops' sex abuse study has proven it: nearly two-thirds of the victims were male, that is to say, they were victims of homosexual abuse. For the sake of the victims, we have to take seriously these facts and, accordingly,  concrete measures, as they had already been contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1917; that is to say: the explicit mentioning of homosexuality as one of the priestly offenses against the 6th Commandment which carry canonical penalties.

Bishop Schneider:

In support of Cardinal Müller’s recent statements on homosexuality

In his recent interview with Lifesitenews (November 21, 2018) Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller clearly and explicitly restated the truth of Divine Revelation concerning sexuality, and, in particular, concerning the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts. This doctrine is not so much a doctrine of the Church, but, in the first place, a doctrine revealed by God. The Magisterium of the Church only transmits this doctrine as a faithful administrator of something of which she is not the owner. 

We have to thank Cardinal Müller for presenting this opportune and needed reaffirmation of the Divine truth, by which he has provided a valuable spiritual help for so many souls. Indeed, one has to understand Cardinal Müller’s words as a help, even for those souls who are blinded by the heresy of homosexuality: either through their propagation of this deceitful error now showing itself in the life of the Church and in human society; or through their own personal practice of the homosexual or sodomitic vice. This vice ultimately destroys the inner peace of whoever practices it (since homosexual acts are against human nature and reason) and furthermore puts such a person at the real risk of the loss of eternal salvation. 

There have now suddenly been some aggressive reactions to the affirmations of Cardinal Müller, coming from some offended members of the clergy, whilst, at the same time, one notices an embarrassed silence amongst many bishops with regard to the danger of the spread of the homosexual heresy. 

Indeed, we are observing a growing spread of the homosexual heresy inside the Church. An increasing number of clerics of different ranks are coming out of their hiding places, and who, without blushing, even start advocating for the moral acceptance of homosexual activity. They disguise their heresy and apostasy, for instance, with the sophistic and gnostic expression “further development of Catholic moral doctrine” (“Weiterentwicklung der katholischen Morallehre”).  

Already in sacred history, there has been a disastrous “further development” of the first Commandment of the Decalogue “you shall have no other gods beside me”. It happened when the Hebrew priest Aaron fabricated the Golden Calf, allowing the people thereby to adore an idol. In our days we are witnessing how priests, bishops, and cardinals are allowing people to have the alleged “joy” of the dance around the golden calf of homosexuality. The former historical caste of the Sadducees, who were mostly unbelieving and politically correct clerics, has now revived itself in the new Catholic clerical clan of the propagators of the heresy of homosexuality. Such priests and bishops are nothing else but “regime priests” and “regime bishops”, since, by advocating the legitimacy of homosexuality, they reveal themselves, not as servants of Christ, but, rather, as servants of the networked political and media regime of homosexuality. To be a new “Sadducee,” as well as a “regime bishop,” there is certainly no need for courage. 

The tragic and regrettable thing in this situation is the fact that the Holy See, which is the seat of the truth (“cathedra veritatis”), not only does not oppose this advance of the homosexual heresy, but, incredibly, even assigns ecclesiastical tasks to notorious supporters of this homosexual heresy. 

One of the essential tasks of the Successor of Peter consists in strengthening, primarily, the bishops in the Catholic and Divine Faith (cf. Luke 22: 32). Unfortunately, we currently have to notice an eclipse in the Papal exercise of this very task of strengthening the truth regarding homosexuality.

When bishops and cardinals do not fear being derided or do not fear being put out on the ecclesiastical “periphery” when proclaiming unambiguously the Divine truth about the intrinsic evil of the homosexual activity and by thus bracing themselves against the flood of the homosexual heresy inside the Church, they are actually providing an efficacious and collegial help to the Petrine Ministry of the Pope himself and they are also carrying out at the same time a true work of charity towards the faithful and towards the errant souls as well. This is what Cardinal Müller did in his recent interview with Lifesitenews, and for this his loyalty to Christ we have to be very grateful to His Eminence. 

November 25, 2018

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

Bishop Marian Eleganti:

For those opponents of the thesis of a correlation between abuse and homosexuality, the obvious and clear homosexual acts, or assaults, do not have to do with homosexuality, but, rather, with excessive power (and the abuse of it). At the most, they say that the offenders were “sexually immature” – a term which, according to Manfred Lütz, is not a diagnosis that has been approved by psychiatry.

This claim does not easily convince the common sense of the people. And therefore, many do not believe it. It is an uncontested fact that 80 % of the abuser priests in the last 70 years had a preference for adolescent male teenagers and seminarians and that they found their victims mostly among this group of people (boys aged 12 to 18 years). 

Andrea Tornielli – himself a journalist who is close to the pope and who defends the proposed clericalism thesis – now even goes so far as to claim that the misdeeds of former Cardinal McCarrick were not homosexual acts. These are daring (protective) claims. Because, after all, which heterosexual clergyman invites young men into his beach-house-bed? Could he not have lived out his purported desire for power over them in a very different manner, let us say in a “generally usual” one? Without doubt, this is so. And should it be, after all, about molesting homosexual acts, then – according to this mantra – it has nothing to do with homosexuality as such. 

Because it is also so that heterosexual people (who are responsible for the majority of abuse cases [in society]) are not forced by nature to abuse children, teenagers, and young adults. The same thus has to apply to homosexuals. 

And this fact has to be affirmed. We are free. Otherwise, we would not have sin. And we speak here in this context about a sin, and a grave one, too. But there remains – like the elephant in the living room – the striking statistics that, in the clergy, 80% homosexually oriented clergymen have created dire facts. Why? Because heterosexuals molest, according to their own preferences, female victims. In the clergy, however, this is not the case in the majority.

It seems that we are asked to abandon common sense in this debate, because it purportedly tends to lead to wrong conclusions. Sexuality, desires, and affective, or even possibly perverse, needs supposedly do not have any role – or only a minor one, but certainly not a decisive one? And the 99.5 percent who, in the rest of the heterosexual society, are responsible for sexual abuse (mostly female victims)? We therefore ought not to refer here to “clericalism” as an explanation [of the current crisis]. 

Up to now, as far as I know, nobody has doubted that these offenders had abused their power, primarily in order to fulfill their sexual needs – the heterosexual offenders and the homosexual offenders each in their own way. Only in the clergy is it now supposedly different. Here, it is supposedly only about power or clericalism. He who believes this, has it easier. So that we understand each other: I do not generally suspect either all heterosexuals, nor all homosexuals, of abuse. But a politically correct head-in-the-sand policy concerning certain striking peculiarities in the clergy is certainly not a solution

As a proof for my claim, I refer here to the study conducted by Father Sullins (Ruth Institute) in the U.S. The debate should, in any case, be conducted with respect, just as Father Sullins has done it. However, the open disdain toward Cardinal Müller as it is to be found in the statement by Father P. Mertes, S.J (Katholisch.de) is unfortunately obvious and not a good example. I myself do not expect any better treatment. 

General Vicar Klaus Pfeffer called Cardinal Müller's words “highly dangerous” [“brandgefährlich”]. Yes, in today's debate culture, it is indeed highly dangerous to express deviant views that are not in accordance with the majority, or simply to state the truth which many hold but do not dare to speak out loud because they fear the consequences (on the street there are incendiary devices and paint bombs; in the realms of discussion and dialogue, it involves labeling and pure hatred)!

Father Joseph Fessio, S. J.:

Have you read this: Priest-Sociologist Examines Data on Clergy Sex Abuse? I just finished reading Fr. Mullins’ full report on the correlation between homosexuals bzw [great German contraction, J.F.] a homosexual seminary subculture and sexual abuse by priests.

It seems to me the best way to come to the support of the courageous Cardinal Müller is to make known these wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse [scientific results].

After all, Cardinal Müller is simply stating what any normal person recognizes as obvious: men who are sexually attracted to other men are going to have sex with men, including young boys, more often than men who are not sexually attracted to other men. Even a Jesuit should recognize that, even if he has a PhD in Scripture. Or maybe PhD really means Philosophische Dummheit [philosophical stupidity].

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.