Cardinal Gerhard Muller
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

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German bishops’ plan on sex abuse crisis ‘crazy’, ‘false’: former Vatican doctrine chief

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

May 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A proposed approach to dealing with the sex abuse crisis outlined by the German bishops in March of this year, which would involve possibly eliminating priestly celibacy and changing Catholic doctrine on sexual morality, is a “crazy” and “absolutely false” one, according to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Müller also defended Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recently-published analysis of the sex abuse crisis as an accurate one, and blasted its critics as “ideologues.”

Speaking in an interview with the Spanish news service InfoVaticana, Müller said that the German bishops have deeply misunderstood the source of the sex abuse crisis, which stems in part from “moral confusion” in the Church.

“This is something crazy. They think that sexual abuse by some clergy has something to do with the interpretation of sexuality or with celibacy and women's access to the priesthood. The existence of abuse is used to advance another agenda. It's absolutely false,” Müller told InfoVaticana.

“One cannot accept this because there are many causes of abuse, including moral confusion: the failure of personal and also ecclesiastical morals, since ecclesiastical discipline has not been well understood. One becomes a priest of Jesus Christ to give a good example to others. The priest runs the risk of falling into temptation, of not respecting young people in the sanctity of their lives, in their personality... These are the real reasons for this failure,” added Müller.

Asked if Pope Emeritus Benedict’s letter on the sex abuse crisis had been “silenced” because of opposition to the arguments it advanced (which included the loss of sexual morality in the 1960s), Müller answered: “He, Benedict XVI, tells the truth and some do not want to listen to him. . . . Those who criticize it are ideologues. Most of these have not read, have not studied this letter of 20 pages or more. They've only read a few headlines in the newspapers that said the pope was blaming the mentality of 1968.  But the pope emeritus did not say that it was to blame, but rather that it set the stage for the annihilation of morals and of conscience.”

The German bishops’ “synodal process” to respond to the sex abuse crisis was initiated at their Spring assembly in mid-March of this year, where the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, claimed that “the sexual morality of the Church has not yet received crucial insights from theology and human sciences" and that the "personal significance of sexuality is not given sufficient attention.” He complained that “the moral proclamation gives the vast majority of the baptized people no orientation.”

A speaker invited to the assembly by the bishops urged the prelates to dispose of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality as oriented to procreation, and to accept homosexual acts, masturbation, and cohabitation as morally legitimate.

Pope Emeritus Benedict has given the opposite prescription for dealing with the sex abuse crisis, holding that it stems from the abandonment of sexual morality in the Church. His letter on the crisis has been met with silence from Pope Francis and the Vatican curia, while it has been attacked by personal proxies of Francis, and defended by proxies of Benedict, among them Cardinal Müller himself.

In addition to his comments on the German bishops and Pope Emeritus Benedict, Cardinal Müller also blasted a recently-announced reform plan for the Vatican curia that would raise “evangelization” above Catholic doctrine, calling it “absurd” and asking if it was “Marxist.” He also rejected proposals to ordain married men and blamed the shortage of priests on a lack of proper preparation for the priestly vocation.

The full interview can be found here.

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