Full in the panting heart of Rome (as went the old hymn) there is a civil war going on. Make that a religious war. The Roman Catholic Church, which we used to think of as universal (which is what "catholic" means) and monolithic, is divided as it has not been since the Great Schism of the Middle Ages. The conflict is not between Catholic Tradition and modernism, or conservatives and liberals, but between the liberals who slavishly follow the false teachings of Vatican II and the ultra-liberals who want to finish what Martin Luther started and lead the Church into heresies from which She can never recover.
The champion of the "progressive" faction, the modernizing deniers of Catholic dogma, is none other than Pope Francis himself. In the opposite corner, so to speak, is Gerhard Cardinal Müller, who was named head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, precisely to halt the descent into syncretism, relativism and other heresies which had thrown the Church into a crisis of faith.
On Saturday, while Canadians (or some of them) were celebrating their country's 150th anniversary, the Pope ordered Cardinal Müller (also third in command at the Vatican after the Pope and the Secretary of State) into retirement. Thus, Francis neutralized one of the few princes of the church whose job it was to call out the pope for his seemingly endless appetite for doctrinal change.
The prelate represented the conservative -- read "less liberal" -- wing of the Church that has looked askance at the pontiff’s disregard for centuries-old tradition and restrictions. Ever since Francis assumed the Throne of Peter in 2013, he and the cardinal seemed to be on a collision course. Cardinal Müller was not at all pleased when Francis, answering a question about his feelings toward gay Catholics, shrugged and said, "Who am I to judge?". When Francis announced that he wanted to create a commission to discuss allowing women to become deacons, the prelate effectively quashed the idea.
The excrement really interfaced with the air-conditioning device when Francis ignored Cardinal Müller's suggested alterations to his "apostolic exhortation", Amoris Laetitia. The prelate opposed Pope Bergoglio's attempt to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion -- an act of rejecting Christ's teaching that traditionally carries with it the penalty of excommunication. The anti-Catholic teachings of Amoris Laetitia have been openly resisted by many, including four cardinals who, last September, published their dubia (an expression of confusion or doubt), which the Poope has yet to answer.
By refusing to extend Cardinal Müller's tenure as head of the CDF, Francis has effectively fired the prelate, and scored a huge win in his battle to impose his ultra-liberal, anti-Catholic views on Holy Mother Church. To make matters even worse, His Humbleness replaced Cardinal Müller with Archbishop Luis Ladaria -- a liberal Jesuit like the Pope -- thus virtually eliminating any chance of opposition from the one office in the Church with the duty to interpret Catholic magisterium –- that is, spreading doctrinal teaching to the Church's billion plus adherents.
When Pope Ratzinger appointed Archbishop Ladaria Secretary of the CDF in 2008, his appointment was openly criticized because of the prelate's heterodox (read: heretical) teachings on Original Sin and Grace. Cardinal Müller was bad enough, but Abp Ladaria promises to be worse. There is no truly Catholic prelate left in the Roman Catholic Church. No, not one.
Dear Catholic readers, let us pray to Saint Michael the Archangel and to the sainted Popes Pius V and Pius X to defend us as the battle to preserve the Faith of our fathers nears its climax, and to confound and defeat those within the highest echelons of the Church who would lead us into heresy and damnation. Amen.