Monday, July 2, 2012

Big News Day At Vatican, But The Message Is More Of The Same

Archbishop Gerhard Mueller may be a friend of Gustavo Gutierrez, but he ruled his Diocese exactly like Bishop Finn.

Today the Vatican announced that Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller of Regensburg will replace Cardinal Levada as head of the CDF.  The following excerpt is taken from Nicole Winfield's AP article which goes into more detail and less spin than John Allen's article at the NCR.  In some respects this is a paradoxical appointment.  Mueller has a longstanding relationship with Gustavo Gutierrez, considered the father of Liberation Theology, having studied under him and made yearly retreats to Peru to keep up to date with Gutierrez' thinking.  On the other hand, Mueller is considered an almost reactionary figure in German Catholic circles for his intolerance of dissent and advocacy of the celibate male priesthood.  I've begun the excerpt about half way through the article:

....Mueller is a longtime friend of Benedict's and in 2008 founded a diocesan institute, the "Pope Benedict XVI Institute" to publish a 16-volume compilation of the "Collected Writings of Joseph Ratzinger."
Ratzinger attended Mueller's 2002 consecration when he was named bishop of Regensburg, and Mueller hosted the pope during his now-infamous 2006 visit to Regensburg, where Benedict delivered a speech in which riled Muslims around the globe. In it, Benedict quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor connecting Islam with violence.

At the congregation, Mueller will find a host of unfinished business: In addition to talks with the breakaway traditionalists, he inherits the clerical sex abuse portfolio, which grew exponentially in 2010 with the explosion of cases in Europe, including his native Germany.

The main U.S. victims group, Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, faulted Mueller for having reinstated a priest who had been convicted for child sex crimes; Mueller has apologized for his handling of the case of the Rev. Peter Kramer, who was convicted in 2000 yet was reinstated in parish work after undergoing therapy.

Mueller also must deal with the congregation's crackdown on the largest group of American nuns, the Leadership Conference for Women Religious, whom the congregation under Levada had accused of straying too far from church doctrine.
Levada, who was brought into the ex-Holy Office in 2005 after Benedict became pope, launched the investigation in 2009 and its findings have embittered many American Catholics against what they perceive as heavy-handed tactics by Rome against U.S. sisters who provide critical health care, education and other services for the poor.

In a statement Monday, the head of the German Bishops Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, said bishops in the pope's homeland were proud that Mueller would be performing "this important task."
"He is one of the most distinguished theologians of the present time," Zollitsch said, adding that he has led the conference's ecumenical commission for several years "with success and great sensitivity."

We Are Church, a movement that calls for reforms in the church, said Mueller had high-class academic qualifications but that a key question would be whether he has the "necessary intellectual and spiritual caliber" for new thinking - and whether his friendship with Gutierrez might lead to a reevaluation of liberation theology.


I had Google translate the statement from We Are Church so I could get some idea of what their news release said, and that's about all I got, some idea and a lot of garbled sentence structure.  I can now see why some folks think the Vatican used Google translator for the new English translation of the Mass.  In any event, it seems that Archbishop Mueller ran his Archdiocese the way Pope Benedict runs the Church.  Mueller went to great lengths emphasizing ecclesiastical authority and current Church doctrine while personally engaging in speculative and academic theology. 

SNAP issued a press release which goes into more detail about the reinstatement of Fr Peter Kramer but for my inquisitive mind it wasn't enough detail.  So I once again resorted to Google and found a fascinating case study done by Leon Podles.  I strongly suspect this is not just a case study of the mishandling of this pedophile by the Regensburg Diocese, but a case study of the management practices Catholics can expect from Archbishop Mueller.  The following is Podles' assessment of the Archbishop's mistakes in the handling of Fr Kramer.  I emboldened the problems that relate to Gerhard Mueller as opposed to Manfred Mueller.  When reading the following, please remember that Bishop Finn in the US is facing criminal charges for engaging in the same kind of mindless behavior.

Bishop Manfred Müller, Bishop Gerhard Müller, and the diocesan officials
all failed:

  • Bishop Manfred Müller should not have let Kramer work with children in the parish of Riekhofen, because this violated his conditions of probation.
  • Bishop Gerhard Müller should have followed the 2002 guidelines of the German bishops and not appointed a convicted abuser to a position working with children.
  • If he chose not to follow the guidelines, Müller should have announced that decision to the diocese, so that everyone would be aware there might be convicted abusers in parishes.
  • He let Kramer work in this parish even before it received the report from his therapist.
  • The diocese should have informed the deans who supervised the parish of Riekhofen about Kramer’s conviction and trained them about how to spot danger signs.
  • The diocese should have let a responsible person in Riekhofen, such as the mayor, know about Kramer, and trained him on how to spot danger signs.
  • The diocese should have asked the judge to convey in writing the opinions she expressed in the 2004 telephone conversation.
  • The diocese should have asked for a second opinion about Kramer from someone who was independent and an expert in pedophilia.
  • Diocesan officials should read their files and tell the truth about what is in them, before the police seize the files. Cover-ups rarely work, and, as St. Augustine said, God does not need our lies.
  • Having made a disastrous decision with catastrophic consequences, Bishop Müller should have learned that the infallibility of the Church does not extend to the administrative decisions of bishops. He should have solicited advice from as many people as possible, including those with whom he disagreed. Humility is a virtue, even in bishops.
  • For Müller to make such a fuss about his suffering under a “Diffamierungskampagne” is unbecoming. Müller is the victim of his own errors and carelessness. Somehow in Müller’s mind the chief point is how much he is suffering by being criticized. However, the boys, their families, and the parishes must suffer the long-term consequences of sexual abuse. The consequences are always painful, and are sometimes death through suicide.

Pope Benedict failed:

  • Müller’s failure did not hurt his standing with the pope. Benedict appointed him to a position of great trust at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Benedict should at least have reprimanded him publicly as a warning to other bishops not to take chances with children’s souls. But Benedict has been silent. If anyone should know, a German should know the truth of the maxim that was on a protestor’s placard outside of the courtroom where Kramer was on trial: “Auch wer wegschaut macht sich schuldig,” – “The one who looks away makes himself guilty.”  (And now Benedict has rewarded his friend with promotion to the very Congregation that has ultimate responsibility for clerical abusers and their bishops.)

Also today the Vatican announced the 'firing' of Archbishop Róbert Bezák of Trnava, SlovakiaFrom John Allen's article it seems Archbishop Bezak ran afoul of the Vatican for his critique of the financial mismanagement of his predecessor and being a pastoral 'moderate'.  Bezak's predecessor was Archbishop Ján Sokol who gained a certain amount of notoriety for an interview he gave in 2007 in which he glowingly described life during WWII under the Hitler puppet Roman Catholic priest Joseph Tiso.  It wasn't quite as glowing a time for Jews and Roma.  Tiso's government deported some 70,000 Jews and Roma to Germany and paid the Germans for this service to Slovakia.  Sokol is also believed to have been a collaborator with the communist secret service the STB.

This Vatican is getting to be one long endless nightmare of clerical incompetence, and if this isn't enough for one day, Vatican Insider has an article which maintains Vati Leaks is a battle between the forces of Cardinal Bertone with Benedict's personal secretary 'Gorgeous Georg Ganswein' and the German coterie around Benedict.  It seems Benedict has added another German bishop to this particular chess board.  No wonder the reputation of Catholicism is circling the drain.  It's leadership functions like competing groups of junior high male cliques.  And we all know how spiritual and uplifting that mentality is for mature adults.  Not.

1 comment:

  1. What did you expect from the Church.

    Ruthless efficiency and a complete immunity to sin?

    I'd love to see your scriptural references for that little expectation!