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Cardinal Walter BrandmüllerDiane Montagna/LifeSiteNews

January 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, known of late as one of the four cardinals to sign the famous “dubia” to Pope Francis, is facing sharp criticism after linking the Church’s sex abuse crisis to the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood.

The cardinal told Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) on January 4 that “80% of the abuse cases in the ecclesial environment involved male adolescents, not children.” It is “statistically proven,” he said, that there exists a link between abuse and homosexuality.

Cardinal Brandmüller's remarks have been widely reported in Germany, notably by major media outlets such as Der Spiegel, Die Bild, Der Stern, and Die Welt. The German bishops' news website – – also picked up on the story.

The German cardinal – who turned 90 years of age on January 5 – said that it is “hypocritical” when the larger society is indignant about the Catholic Church's abuse crisis, because “what happens with the abuse in the Catholic Church is nothing else than what happens in society in general.” Sexual abuse as such, he added, is not a specifically Catholic phenomenon, but the real scandal is that leaders of the Church are not different in this regard from the rest of society.

“It is not less far from reality to forget,” Brandmüller added, “or to elide over the fact that 80% of the abuse cases in the ecclesial environment involved male adolescents, not children.”

According to Cardinal Brandmüller, homosexuals should not become priests. “For the simple reason that it is difficult to overcome a homosexual inclination,” he explained. “In addition, a priest has to be fatherly. He who emotionally does not have the capability for normal human love and for assuming the responsibility for a family would likewise encounter difficulties as a priest.”

This DPA interview has now caused the expressed indignation of several prominent people, among them Die Welt's editor-in-chief, Ulf Poschardt. He tweeted out a Die Welt report on Brandmüller's words, calling them disgraceful. “What a disgraceful way of the Catholic Church to relativize guilt and to defame homosexuals,” Poschardt wrote on Twitter January 4. “Very poor! Cardinal sees 'link between abuse and homosexuality.'”

Father James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large of the U.S. Jesuit magazine America, himself commented as follows:

Once again, false. Neither homosexuality (nor celibacy) causes abuse. Most sexual abuse occurs in families, and no one says that heterosexuality (or marriage) causes abuse. These misinformed statements lead not to solutions, but only to more homophobia.

In another recent interview prior to his 90th birthday, the German cardinal also discussed the fact that he is one of the authors of the dubia (doubts) concerning Pope Francis' document Amoris Laetitia. Brandmüller says that he would write them again, and in the same manner. “It is about the question: is adultery under certain conditions morally justifiable?” he explained. “Are there acts which are intrinsically evil?” According to this prelate, “since the coming of modern moral theology, everything has become uncertain.” The “whole edifice of Christian and human morality” is endangered, and likely  to “crash down”; and then “one could also justify homosexuality.”

In this context, Cardinal  Brandmüller also approves of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's own critique of Pope Francis and his personnel policy, especially in light of the McCarrick case. However, the German prelate does not agree with Viganò's call for Pope Francis to resign, something which happened the last time in the 11th century when Henry IV (1050-1106) called Pope Gregory VII (1025-1085) to resign. Such a thing is not acceptable, in Brandmüller's eyes.

In this January 1, 2019 interview, Cardinal Brandmüller also discussed the ongoing curial reform which he considers to be a “total flop.” Except for Cardinal Parolin, he added, the current council of cardinals “has no idea of the Curia.”

Moreover, Cardinal Brandmüller also explained how he got to know the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who later made him a cardinal. Brandmüller insists that he and Benedict XVI were not close friends – he called it a “legend” – but, rather that they had “a polite, collegial relationship.” The 90-year-old prelate still disapproves of Benedict's own resignation. He met Ratzinger first in 1970 in Rome. When discussing a book written by the dissident Catholic professor Hans Küng (Infallible?), they decided that they would both write something on this matter: Brandmüller as a historian, in order to show Küng's “numerous mistakes”; and Ratzinger as an expert in fundamental theology.

Upon being made a cardinal, Brandmüller chose as his motto “Ignis in terram” (“Fire upon the earth”), words spoken by Our Lord: “I am come to cast fire upon the earth.” As the German prelate explained, his own family name – “Firemiller” (“Brandmüller”) – means a miller who builds a mill upon burned land. But his motto, he added, indicated Christ's own proclamation. Christianity is “not a sleeping powder, but dynamite,” the cardinal added. “When Christianity is lived out, it changes the world.”

Further expressing his fiery love for the Faith and his abiding trust, the German cardinal gave LifeSiteNews permission to publish a little verse that he wrote for the New Year 2019:

Today the clouds are covering up the Star –

but they cannot extinguish It!

Be patient only –  the hour will come

when Light will break through the dark!

In Latin:

Stellae splendorem nubes non extinguunt

etsi obfuscent radios lucentes.

Veniet hora qua clarentem

orbis videbit!

In German:

Wolken verhüllen heute den Stern –

ihn auszulöschen vermögen sie nicht!

Gemach nur, die Stunde sie kommt,

da Glanz das Dunkel durchbricht!

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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,, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana,, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.