It’s just as well we’re Catholic

Posted by Paddy MacLachlan

As well as meaning someone who belongs to the Church of Rome, the word ‘catholic’ has a broader dictionary meaning. It denotes concepts such as “wide ranging in tastes,interests or the like,”  “involving and of interest to all.”

It’s sometimes helpful to remember that those concepts are part of the DNA of Catholicism, especially when you see how badly Catholics can fall out.

The reaction to the Pope’s latest senior appointment is a classic example. It has just been announced that Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller is to succeed the retiring Cardinal Levada as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This has caused an absolute tumult of opinion throughout the Catholic media and blogosphere, most of it polarized, some of it virulent. Interestingly, it has achieved the rare distinction of meeting the disapproval of both conservative and liberal factions, with the liberals somewhat more likely to be in favour.

Here’s a selection of views from today:

“Pope Benedict knows the brief and work of the CDF as well as anyone can, since he ran that shop for nearly a quarter of a century.  It is unlikely that he would choose someone out of harmony with his own vision.  However, keep in mind that Ratzinger revolutionized the office CDF Prefect, in a sense.  As a working theologian, he did more than just make the trains run on time, which is the main task of a Prefect.  Prefects don’t to all the work themselves.  They have a lot of help.  In some ways watching the upper and middle management of a congregation is more helpful.

However, let us not forget that the German-speaking Church (including Austria) is in theological and disciplinary melt-down.  Having a German-speaking Prefect will be an advantage.   If English-speaking bishops couldn’t pull one over on Card. Levada when it came to abuse cases, German-speaking bishops won’t fool Müller for one second.” - Fr John Zuhlsdorf, What Does The Prayer Really Say?

“The pope’s new doctrinal czar has a profile in Germany as a staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy, yet not an ideologue.” - John L. Allen, National Catholic Reporter

“Müller is unquestionably a conservative. He was criticised by the liberal Catholic movement Wir Sind Kirche following his appointment for having considered “the enforcement of church discipline more important than changing obvious wrongs” while bishop of Regensburg.” - John Hooper, The Guardian

“Things just keep getting worse and worse in the Church. By Benedict appointing Muller as the new head of the CDF Pope Benedict XVI confirms that he is still a modernist doctrinally and will until his death be an apologist for the Second Vatican Council and its ambiguities, modernism and relativism which he helped to create as a peritus.” - Francis (in comments below main story,) Rorate Caeli

“Müller should be investigated by the CDF, not given control of it!” - David Werling, Ars Orandi

All this and the appointment is only a day or so old. Will there be more comment tomorrow? You bet!

Please feel free to add to the opinions with your own.

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