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Cardinal Gerhard Müller at the National Conservatism Conference in Brussels on April 16, 2024National Conservatism/YouTube

BRUSSELS (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Gerhard Müller warned of “absolutely stupid” ideological ideas overtaking the political system and leading to wars and oppression, stressing that “we can never accept ideology.”

Instead, people need belief in the Word of God, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said.

Cardinal Müller made his comments during last week’s National Conservatism (NatCon) Conference in Brussels. The first day of the event was disrupted after the city’s socialist mayor ordered a police blockade that essentially trapped some attendees inside while keeping others out, including the catering service. A court order allowed the next day of the conference to proceed as normal.

NatCon posted the interview earlier this week between Cardinal Müller and James Orr, the U.K. Chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, which organizes the event.

Criticizing Communism, socialism, and imperialism, the cardinal said “ideologies” lead to sin and destruction.

“These ideologies are very destructive with… concentration camps and extermination of the so-called ‘enemies of the system,’ all this racism,” he said.

The “absolutely stupid ideas” of ideologies are “against the logos, the reason. God is reason,” as well as “intellect,” Cardinal Müller said. “Jesus is the logos, the Incarnation of the logos.”

While political leaders spin “dreams of a paradise on earth,” ideologies have actually led to “hell on earth,” the prelate said, criticizing the “murdering” and “subordinating of other people” and “no respect for the persons.”

Based on history, “we can make the prognostic that with ideologies we cannot build a good future for everybody.”

Rather, we need belief in God, he declared. People “have the freedom to accept it or not,” whereas political systems are forced upon people.

“But we can never accept ideology,” His Eminence said.

Cardinal Müller: The state serves man, not the other way around

Cardinal Müller further condemned the political theory that the state exists to serve man, not the other way around.

Correct politics “will say ‘first are the citizens and the second point is the state.’ Not ‘first the state,'” Cardinal Müller said. “We are not subservient to the state, we are not slaves of the state.”

The modern, democratic state develops “from free citizens, that is our standpoint.”

Orr contrasted the cardinal’s comments with the “persecution” of the event by the city’s mayor. He asked how Christians can develop “resilience” in the face of persecution.

“Should we be building new catacombs?” Orr asked.

The cardinal said unqualified people are running countries but they pretend to know what they are talking about.

“The ideology we have today in our Western Europe countries, I think that [it] is a very low-level,” His Eminence said. “So, politicians who want to say what we have to eat, what we have to think, how we have to use our language, [those] are not the high-level professors.”

“They have no academic qualification, and they want to teach us what I have to think, what words I have to use, or not to use. I think these politicians should first go to a good school and learn anything,” he said.

Cardinal Müller criticized “dictators of language” who want to control what people say and what they eat. “We are treated as children. We cannot accept it. And we must refuse this longing for omnipotence of the ideological totalitarian system.”

“We are not a totalitarian democracy,” he said.

Reformation ‘limited’ the influence of the Church

Orr asked if the state is gaining too much power and becoming sacralized, as fewer people believe in God.

While Orr appeared to be speaking of World War II, Cardinal Müller warned of the downfall of the Church-state relationship after the Protestant so-called “Reformation.”

“Absolutism” came about in many countries, including England, with the Glorious Revolution, as well as in France, with the French Revolution, which led to totalitarianism.

Cardinal Müller also said today there is a “great temptation” for a “new absolutism” in the university system, which has become “ideologized,” the former German professor said. Whereas open debates once occurred, “now, we are hearing everywhere… professors are [being] kicked out for their views.”

“Independence” in the universities from political influence must be restored, the prelate said.

The conversation then pivoted to the conflict between “scientific truth” and “secular ideologies.”

His Eminence criticized “Enlightenment” thinkers for beginning the problem, including David Hume, John Locke, and Voltaire.

Cardinal Müller said parliaments “want to change” nature. For example, he said parliaments want to punish people for adhering to the male-female sex binary.

“They want to define… new ‘human rights’,” he added, criticizing the push for abortion.

“Your right to live is the first right everybody has, and the baby in the mother’s womb is a real human being… ontologically. [This is] biologically proved because we have the same DNA as a baby and as an old man, old woman,” Cardinal Müller said.

“The state has no possibility to define the human nature. The human nature is above all possibilities of political decisions,” he said.

Asked if there is anyone or movement that makes him optimistic, Cardinal Müller shared a story of speaking to some students who grew up under “totalitarian” authority.

They understood the errors in the system they grew up in, he said.

“There is an absolute essential difference between animals and humans and no system can deny it. They can
suppress people, they can kill them, but they cannot destroy your personal ideas, your conviction,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Müller called on everybody to use their “free will” and “intellect.”

‘Mankind… is a connection between all the generations’

The German cardinal commented on the “looming demographic winter,” as described by Orr, referring to low birth rates and what that portends for the future.

“It is our conviction God created man,” Cardinal Müller said, but subsequent generations have the “responsibility” to bear children for the “next generation.”

“Human mankind is not only a big number of single persons, but is a connection between all the generations and all the human beings and the past, and the present, and in the future,” the cardinal said.

It is a “great chance to contribute to the mankind” to “give life to a boy or girl,” the cardinal said.

“This is also fulfilling,” Cardinal Müller continued, and it gives “sense” to life.

Even those without children can be like fathers and contribute to mankind and grow in holiness.

Father, or those who are not fathers, they should live as fathers, not in a selfish way, only to look for yourself, but to take care for the others. That is with father, that is mother to give life, it is a fulfilling of the sense of a female human existence.”