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Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the FaithDiane Montagna / LifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Gerhard Müller has warned that the “Synod on Synodality” could produce a document resembling a “plea of the United Nations” instead of focusing on the true purpose of the Church. 

In an interview with the German News Agency (DPA) published on October 4, Müller criticized the Synod for keeping its mission and topics “very vague.” He said that there is a danger that the Synod will lose sight of what is truly Catholic and slide into general sociology. 

“This could then end up being a plea from the United Nations or other welfare organizations, along the lines of: we ought to, we should…. But the real purpose of the Church is not to get involved in the public debate like a non-governmental organization,” Müller told DPA. 

The German prelate said that he did not expect anything substantive to come out of the Synod. “The vote of the synod has only a consultative character, the whole event is a non-binding exchange of opinions,” he explained. 

“At the end of the day, what happens is that the pope, in the company of his friends, issues a final document to his own liking. And that is quite dubious.” 

Müller expressed a suspicion shared by many critics of the Synod, that he, the orthodox former Prefect of the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was invited to the Synod just as a “token conservative” to avoid the gathering seeming too partisan. 

He stated that he was “surprised” to be invited as a Synod participant because “I do not belong to the preferred circle of friends of the pope.” 

“But perhaps quite different motives played a role in the synod leadership,” he said. “Perhaps they wanted to prevent the impression of one-sidedness.” 

The German bishop furthermore criticized the decision to hold the Synod discussion in secrecy, which “apparently serves the purpose of retaining interpretive sovereignty.” 

READ: Synod on Synodality members ordered to observe perpetual secrecy about discussions 

“But it will not work, on the contrary. Every participant will talk to his acquaintances, they will tell others, and so it will go around. Some will perhaps even have their cell phones [recording]. 460 people can’t be controlled – this isn’t a Chinese [Communist] Party congress, after all.” 

Despite his criticism, Müller stressed that he is ready and willing to engage in constructive dialogue during the Synod meetings. 

“I hope that we can enter into conversation with each other,” the German prelate said. “I don’t want it to fail because of me; I’ve spent my life dealing with the thoughts of others and also of those who think completely differently.” He said he has no problem reaching out to others. “But it would be important to me that we not only listen to each other but, above all, listen to Jesus Christ. After all, it’s about what God says – not about our ideas.” 

Müller is not the only one who compared the Synod to a U.N. meeting. Polish Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki recently said that Synod is using the ideological “language of the U.N.” and promoting “moral relativism.” 

READ: Head of Polish bishops’ conference criticizes Synod for using ideological ‘language of the UN’ 

The Catholic Lepanto Institute wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the pope’s new Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum reads like a UN document proposing a supranational authority to bind all nations to agreements to reduce production and even ban certain ‘environmentally harmful’ products.” 

“It is all based upon an interpretation of scientific data that is WAY outside the purview of the pope’s authority or competency and it contains absolutely ZERO magisterially binding statements.” 

READ: Pope Francis calls for obligatory global ‘climate change’ policies in new document ‘Laudate Deum’