Cardinal Meuller “is like a child”; Pope Francis

Cardinal Gerhart Meuller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has been a fairly trenchant critic of Pope Francis ever since Francis removed him from his distinguished position in the Roman Curia. In fact, it is said by some commentators who are much more in tune with Roman affairs than myself, that he is the effective leader of the opposition to Francis in the Church. He is more subtle and nuanced than the more colourful Cardinal Burke, but because of his former position, and his theological background, he is the one that the opposition look up to. He is also the person that ordered my religious superiors to withdraw me from ministry nearly nine years ago, when they trembled with fear at the prospect of standing up to him. ‘We can’t do that; he would remove us from office!”

But recently Pope Francis summed the said cardinal up as follows:

“He has good intentions, but he is like a child”.


Meuller is particularly incensed by the upcoming Synod of the Amazon, a meeting between Francis and the bishops of South America, which takes place this Autumn.

Maybe Francis is correct that Meuller is “a child”, but he is one with a particularly nasty turn of mind, considering the things he is saying about some of the people Francis has asked to arrange the Synod. 

“I feel sorry for Pope Francis when he is being defended with their lives by such courageous friends who, with their shameless half-education, undermine the Roman Primate, by abusing the Pope’s authority for their anti-Catholic agenda. He who still yesterday was prominently defaming the predecessors [of the Pope] and purportedly congratulated Pope Benedict for his courage to retire, is completely untrustworthy as a defender of the current Pope.”

He gets even more dismissive of the organisers:

“As a bishop who at his episcopal consecration has promised to proclaim loyally the Catholic Faith I will not be intimidated through the media by such ideologues with their ridiculous super-papalism which stands in direct contradiction to the First and the Second Vatican Council. Who is impressed by the arrogance of such theological illiterates who try to cover up the weakness of their argumentation with the help of personal insults?”

He accuses others of arrogance, but he is clearly not short on it himself. He seems to regard himself as being a superior person to all the others. I’m afraid he spent too long in the Roman Curia. 

The final comment from him is maybe the most arrogant of all:

“Church history will speak its judgment as to the question upon whom Pope Francis should have better relied”

He can’t understand why Francis is not depending on him for advice. But the Church is lucky that he is not.