Maike Hickson

Featured Image
Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

Blogs,

EXCLUSIVE: Vatican’s former doctrine head: Papal confidants said I lacked ‘mercy’ toward abusers

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has called it “absurd” to claim that he had been dismissed from his post by Pope Francis on account of being too lenient in clerical sex abuse cases.

The Cardinal told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive statement that confidants to the Pope had, in fact, accused the CDF headed by Müller of the converse. 

“A certain group of people accused the Congregation of too much severity and a lack of mercy with regard to the canonical trials and with regard to the punishments that were imposed (only 20% ended with a laicization, the rest received other punishments (but that was already too much for some of the papal confidants [“Papsteinflüsterer”]!), the Cardinal said.

The context of Cardinal Müller's statement is that Professor Christian Pfeiffer – a German criminologist and former head of the German sex abuse research team – has accused Müller in a new interview of having participated in an attempt at thwarting the criminologist’s requested abuse research. Pfeiffer expressed disappointment about the fact that Pope Benedict had appointed Müller as the head of the CDF. For him, it was “very dubious” when Gerhard Müller was called by the Pope to Rome, “to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),” and “to fight abuse on the international level.” He was therefore glad when Pope Francis removed Müller in 2017 from that position. In Pfeiffer's eyes, this removal was linked to Müller's own leniency in the matter of sex abuse cases.

However, as LifeSiteNews has previously reported, there is strong evidence that it was specifically because Müller had strictly tried to abide by the Church's standing rules concerning the punishment of clerical sex offenders that Pope Francis had him dismissed. Most prominently, Müller had told Francis not to reinstate the serial child abuser Don Mauro Inzoli.

In his statement in response to Professor Pfeiffer's own claims, Cardinal Müller indirectly confirms the recent LifeSiteNews report.

Cardinal Müller also loyally defended the three priests who had worked for him at the CDF and who were so suddenly dismissed by Pope Francis at the end of 2016. “Three competent employees and exemplary priests were dismissed [from the CDF] without notice and without reason. One could not accuse them of too much laxity, on the contrary!” Two of these priests are said to have been directly involved with the handling of sex abuse cases.

Müller also makes a defense of the Catholic Church's moral teaching in his statement when he explains that is not the moral teaching itself that is the root cause of sex abuse, but its departure from it.

“The sexual abuse of mainly homophilic offenders is not rooted in the Church's sexual morality or in the celibacy of the priests, but, rather, in the laxity of morals and in the violation of God's Commandments and the failure to live celibacy,” he said.  

***

Cardinal Müller's full statement to LifeSiteNews:

It was the German Bishops' Conference which changed the research assignment for Professor Pfeiffer, independently of legitimate questions concerning the scientific method and the juridical foundations of the Pfeiffer study. Mr. Pfeiffer of course now looks for scapegoats for his own failure and for the shame that the research assignment had been withdrawn from him. If he also insinuates a connection between his freely invented claim that the then-Bishop of Regensburg and others had made his project perish, and between the [later] non-renewal of Cardinal Müller's mandate as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then the absurdity of his claim is transparent for every clear-thinking person. With respect to the satisfaction that Pfeiffer feels and shamelessly announces, it is a question of character. The fact is that in the time of Bishop Müller [in Regensburg], all abuse cases that had taken place prior to his own term of office were dealt with all strictness, as soon as they were reported; and that the one abuse case of an abuser who had been an inherited burden from earlier times was concluded with his laicization.

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith acted within the framework of the collegial commission according to the rules of the Church's law and of the Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela [a motu proprio with regard to the Church's penal law]. A certain group of people accused the Congregation of too much severity and a lack of mercy with regard to the canonical trials and with regard to the punishments that were imposed (only 20% ended with a laicization, the rest received other punishments (but that was already too much for some of the papal confidants [“Papsteinflüsterer”]!). Three competent employees and exemplary priests were dismissed [from the CDF] without notice and without reason. One could not accuse them of too much laxity, on the contrary! The sexual abuse of mainly homophilic offenders is not rooted in the Church's sexual morality nor in the celibacy of the priests, but, rather, in the laxity of morals and in the violation of God's Commandments and the failure to live celibacy. The reason for adultery, also, is not the indissolubility of marriage, as it has been established by God.

Editor's note: Translation Maike Hickson

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

Get FREE pro-life and pro-family news. Sign up today!

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most.

Select Your Edition:

You can make a difference!

Can you donate today?


Share this article

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.