Since his recent sacking and near instantaneous elevation to the Mount, much has been written about Muller’s allegedly tenacious defense of the Faith, but nothing quite so sappy and inaccurate as the quasi-canonization written by Vaticanista Marco Tossati as published by First Things.
In preparation for his article, Tosatti consulted “the confidential notes” that he made during the “last four years regarding the German cardinal and his relations with the reigning pontiff.”
“The notes are the result of many private conversations with high-ranking people in the Vatican who enjoyed the cardinal’s friendship. It appears that Müller experienced life under Bergoglio as a sort of Calvary.”
That’s strikes a pretty powerful image, but if you’re expecting Tossati’s notes to reveal tales of a man who demonstrated a willingness to lay down his life for the good of souls, forget about it.
Tossati tells us:
“The first step of Müller’s Calvary was a disconcerting episode in the middle of 2013. The cardinal was celebrating Mass in the church attached to the congregation palace, for a group of German students and scholars. His secretary joined him at the altar: ‘The pope wants to speak to you.’ ‘Did you tell him I am celebrating Mass?’ asked Müller. ‘Yes,’ said the secretary, ‘but he says he does not mind—he wants to talk to you all the same.’ The cardinal went to the sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave him some orders and a dossier concerning one of his friends, a cardinal. (This is a very delicate matter. I have sought an explanation of this incident from the official channels. Until the explanation comes, if it ever comes, I cannot give further details.) Obviously, Mūller was flabbergasted.”
So, what does this story tell us?
Well, a number of things, but certainly not that Muller is some sort of Christlike figure who suffered for the sake of the Kingdom (and this in spite of Jorge’s striking resemblance to our Lord’s persecutors).
It does tell us, however – or better stated, it confirms for us – that Jorge Mario Bergoglio has little regard for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which also happens to be the centerpiece of Catholic life.
To be charitable, we should probably assume that he does not believe what the Church holds concerning the nature of the Mass (e.g., what it is and what takes place therein, speaking of Calvary), otherwise he never would have insisted upon interrupting it.
Muller, on the other hand, apparently does have at least some sense for the sacredness of the Mass, and yet…
When it came time to choose between showing deference to a rude little Argentinian who thinks his agenda is more important than the saving work of Jesus Christ, and the Lord Himself, he chose the former.
And this was the “first step of Muller’s Calvary”?
If nothing else, the man is consistent as throughout his tenure at the CDF under Bergoglio, when push came to shove, Muller chose likewise.
Tossati himself practically acknowledges as much, writing:
“Since the publication of the dubia, Müller has been in a very difficult situation. He has been split between loyalty to the pope, and loyalty to the magisterial teaching of the Church on marriage and the Eucharist.”
While there is some truth to what Tossati is saying (and a shameful truth it is indeed), the reality of Muller’s dilemma is really better understood as loyalty divided between Francis, the author of Amoris Laetitia, and “Saint” John Paul the Great Ecumenist, author of Familiaris Consortio.
Look, Muller’s a conciliar conservative. For men like him, not only do the “deep roots” of the Faith extend no further than the Second Vatican Council (see John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis 3 for context), they also live by the credo that whatever the current pope happens to teach is necessarily Catholic.
That is why Muller has maintained in one breath that the civilly divorced and remarried cannot be invited to Communion, and in the very next declared that Amoris Laetitia “does not concern a danger for the faith.”
The same is true of Muller’s companion on the Mount, Cardinal Burke.
He gets that Amoris Laetitia is utterly irreconcilable with Familiaris Consortio, but given that the former also came from the man in white, either it isn’t really papal teaching, or if it is, it simply contains some confusing and ambiguous statements that stand in need of clarification.
At one point, Tossati states, apparently with Muller’s public complaints about the way he was dismissed in mind:
“Despite Müller’s statements—he has been a good soldier to the end, and even beyond.”
Sure, he has been a “good soldier,” but only insofar as we are clear that he has chosen to serve the rebellious Generalissimo rather than the King.