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Cardinal Gerhard Muller on EWTN's 'World Over' show with Raymond Arroyo, May 14, 2021. EWTN / Youtube screen grab

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May 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Muller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) at the Vatican, criticized U.S. Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark for acting more like “representatives of the Democratic Party” than of Jesus Christ.

Muller made the comment in reference to news that the two cardinals recently traveled to Rome to meet with the CDF’s current Prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, who, shortly after the meeting, wrote a letter to the U.S. bishops that many interpreted as putting a damper on their plans to address the problem of Catholic politicians, such as President Joe Biden, who champion abortion while presenting themselves for Holy Communion.

“I think these two bishops came to Rome as members or representatives of the Democratic Party,” Muller said in a May 14 interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo. “But the bishops are (supposed to be) the representatives of Jesus Christ, of the revealed truth.”

The German Cardinal went on to say that shepherds of the Catholic Church are not supposed to play “games of power and diplomacy” while placing in the background the truths of the faith.

News broke last week of a letter that Cardinal Ladaria wrote to Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, counseling him that the bishops’ plan to offer directives on Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians may become a “source of discord” for the country’s episcopate and would unfairly target “only one category of Catholics.” While the letter may slow down the bishops’ expected plan to address the problem at their annual meeting next month, the letter did, nevertheless, provide a rough outline for how the bishops could address the problem.

The “effective development of a policy in this area requires that dialogue occurs in two stages: first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions,” the letter states. Later, it adds, “Once these two stages of extensive and serene dialogue have taken place, the Conference would face the difficult task of discerning the best way forward for the Church in the United States to witness to the grave moral responsibility of Catholic public officials to protect human life at all stages.”

A few days after news of the CDF’s letter to the U.S. bishops broke, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported that Cardinals Cupich and Tobin had met in Rome with the CDF “just days before the congregation’s prefect sent a letter urging the U.S. bishops to fulfill a set of conditions before implementing a plan regarding pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion.”

The Register has confirmed through Vatican sources that the two cardinals, both of whom oppose stricter rules on the issue, visited the Vatican mid-morning on April 30, during which they met with CDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria.

The CDF’s letter was dated May 7, 2021, exactly one week after the Cardinals’ visit.

Both Cupich and Tobin have made indications about where they stand on Biden and his Catholic faith. Last month, Cupich raised a “number of concerns” with Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s hard-hitting article about why pro-abortion politicians who say they are Catholic cannot receive Holy Communion. Prior to this, Cupich rebuked the USCCB for issuing what he called an “ill-considered” statement on Biden’s inauguration day that warned of Biden’s pledge to pursue anti-life and anti-family policies that would advance “moral evils” in the areas of “abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.” As for Tobin, he said in the lead-up to the 2020 election that Catholics in “good conscience” could vote for Biden despite his support for abortion.

Muller told Arroyo during his May 14 interview that the Catholic faith is clear when it comes to the reception of Holy Communion.

The Catholic Church teaches in its Code of Canon Law (915) that Catholics who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” According to a 2004 memo issued to the U.S. bishops by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the CDF’s former prefect who is now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a Catholic politician who is “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” manifests “formal cooperation” with grave sin and must be “denied” the Eucharist.

“It is very clear that if you are a Catholic in public life (then) in politics you have to follow the principles of Catholic doctrine. And, you cannot act in favor of abortion. Abortion is a crime against the life of a human being,” Muller said.

The Cardinal said that the call for “dialogue” with pro-abortion politicians who say they are Catholic can only go so far.

One “cannot enter into a dialogue” about the sacredness of each human life and the fact that each human life is “given by God” and must be protected, he said. Later in the interview, he added, “The first mission of the Church is to protect human life because it is given by God. And life is not one value among other values – it is a basic value.”

Muller said that the Catholic Church holds the “primacy of the moral” over the political when it comes to making decisions about practicing the faith in concrete situations. He said this is still true even though there are “some in the Vatican” who are in favor of the “Government of Biden” and do not want to “enter into a clinch” with the Biden administration over applying the laws of the Church.

Church shepherds, he said, should not be “hiding” behind “dialogue” as a way to avoid applying the laws of the Church when it comes to pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion.

“Jesus did not come for a dialogue,” he said, but to make “very clear” the Word of God.