Cardinal Gerhard Müller did not use any doubletalk the interview with journalist Lothar Rilinger, published by Kath.net on April 27, 2021. He was asked in particular about the German Synodal Path and its protagonists.
Asked first about the ecumenical meeting (Kirchentag) which is to be held next May in Frankfurt, and which the German progressives want to use as a springboard for practices of Eucharistic hospitality with Protestants, he reacted with force.
In particular, he criticized certain allegations by German theologians and journalists: “The bishops’ conference is not above the bishops,” he recalls. “And the president of the episcopal conference, currently Bishop Georg Bätzing, is not the head of the bishops,” he adds.
And to drive the point home, he specifies: “he has no magisterial competence which would exceed by a millimeter the magisterial authority of his colleagues. …Even as a spokesperson for the German bishops, he is still less of a counterweight to Rome,” according to what is circulating in ultra-progressive circles.
He finally concludes with this point: “What is typically German is the arrogance and the dominance of certain bishops and theologians, in their claim to be the vanguard of the universal Church, which is late.”
He then turns to the stated claims of the participants in the Synodal Path to issue binding decrees for the Church in Germany in many areas, some of which touch on faith and morals. His answer is clear and sharp.
“Responsible bishops, or lay officials pampered by the liberal public, have no authority to present their personal or collective opinions as a faith of the Church based on revelation. Nor do they have the power to impose these views on their subordinates or pass them off as their own beliefs on the basis of their formation.”
To illustrate his point, he gives a strong image: “Today, in the West, persecution resides in an anti-Christian atmosphere, diffused through media campaigns by which faithful Catholics are, in an unimaginable and habitual way, defamed as fundamentalists or arch-conservatives, or even silenced.”
Decidedly very wound up, the cardinal continued by undermining the Synodal Path from the base: “The opinion of a majority of German bishops and lay officials, that this private body [the Synodal Path], which is neither provided for by dogma or canon law, can make decisions that deviate from the Catholic faith, has no basis in the Catholic conception of the Church and depends only on the appearance of media power and the extent of financial resources.”
This is why, he adds, “no Catholic can be forced into anything by the decisions of the Synodal Path.”
He finally concludes: “We don't need church engineers, model builders, future visionaries and planning bureaucrats or, to put it biblically: shepherds who feed themselves and slip away when asked to confess the truth of God, when they are mocked or when they are dismissed because they are not of the world - like Pilate.”