In the latest twist in the row, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller of Regensburg – where the pope owns a private home – was infuriated when three theology professors at the University of Regensburg signed an online petition criticizing the pope.
In a letter made public Tuesday by his aides, Bishop Mueller demanded retractions and a personal apology by each to the pontiff.
Mueller said the petition implied that reconciling with SSPX meant the pope had permitted Catholics to challenge modern church teachings.
“This in not true,” he wrote. “You have shown yourself that you are not qualified to teach Catholic theology.” The letter threatened “further steps” but did not say if this meant revoking their licences to teach in the name of the church at the public university.
Sabine Demel, professor of canon law at the university, said she was appalled at the letter. Professor Burkard Porzelt, a religious- education scholar, said he was shocked “that there was no discussion beforehand.”
In addition to the fall out over Bishop Williamson, there are now theologians in Germany who are criticizing the Pope’s authority. As Bishop Mueller points out, the petition submitted by the professors implied that it allowed Catholics to criticize modern church teachings. Then, Bishop Mueller hits one out of the park and says, “This does not qualify you to be a theologian.” While the article says further on that Bishop Mueller is against the SSPX re-joining the Church, it is clear that he has a good head.
Incidents like this force me to wonder how the Church can have changed so much in the last fifty years. There are still those bishops, priests, and religious that are willing to defend orthodoxy. They are the brave ones that are willing to stand up against the liberal onslaught and show the truth of what it means to be a Catholic in this day and age.
Yet there is also a sense that our theology has changed to a great extent. Since when were professional theologians allowed to criticize the Supreme Pontiff? Why is it that it is allowed at some seminaries and not others? Although there have been saints who have criticized and chided past popes for their actions, it does not seem to me that St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Robert Bellarmine would take drastic actions such as the theologians at Regensburg.
All of this goes to show the times that we are living in. We must continue to pray for the Pope always.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!