VATICAN CITY (AP) — If ever there was an inheritor to the mental legacy of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, it’s Cardinal Gerhard Mueller.
Benedict gave his fellow German theologian his previous job — prefect of the Vatican’s doctrine workplace. He entrusted his life’s theological works to Mueller, who has spent almost 20 years organizing them in a 16-volume, 25,000-page opus alongside the traces of Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica.”
He even gave Mueller his previous flat on the highest flooring of a Vatican residence constructing, the place he had lived as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
“In fact, he took his furnishings with him, however the entire thing breathes the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger,” Mueller mentioned in an interview with The Related Press on Wednesday, the eve of Benedict’s funeral.
He meant the flat, however he might have been referring to himself.
Mueller is one in every of a dwindling variety of cardinals firmly related to Benedict’s doctrinaire papacy, and he has taken up the late pope’s mantle with gusto, thanks partially to his considerably spectacular falling out with Pope Francis.
The Jesuit pope, who succeeded Benedict after his historic 2013 resignation, dismissed Mueller in 2017 after an unusually transient, single time period as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion.
Mueller was solely 69 on the time, properly in need of the conventional retirement age. And in his free time since, apart from compiling Ratzinger’s theological magnum opus, he has turn into one thing of Francis’ highest-ranking critic, singling out his two-year initiative to seek the advice of laity about every part from church educating on sexuality to the roles of ladies.
“Is the church a political social gathering or an NGO that adjustments on a regular basis this system in accordance with the applause of the multitude?” Mueller requested rhetorically as he sat in his residence library that when belonged to Ratzinger. “Or is the church the mission of Jesus Christ, of God, to evangelise the Gospel?”
The numbers aren’t essentially in his favor, as Francis has appointed 81 of the 125 cardinals who’re younger sufficient to vote in a future conclave, a lot of whom share the pontiff’s extra pastoral method to church management.
However Mueller is undeterred on resetting the church’s course. Along with Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, he appears dedicated to making sure the late pope’s legacy.
Simply this week, Italian writer Piemme introduced Gaenswein’s tell-all memoir, “Nothing However the Reality: My Life Beside Pope Benedict XVI,” can be printed Jan. 12, every week after the pope is laid to relaxation. Piemme mentioned the ebook would expose the “blatant calumnies” and “darkish maneuvers” that sullied Benedict’s status, but additionally have a good time his historic papacy and life.
“These voices within the mass media, they abused their energy for making a primitive polemics towards him. However they don’t have any future,” Mueller mentioned of the customarily damaging press that Benedict acquired. “In the long term of church historical past, all these silly voices will turn into quiet and motive will win.”
He obtained up from his armchair and opened the window to point out a customer how he used to look out within the morning and wave to Benedict, who did the identical from the top-floor nook residence of the Apostolic Palace a brief distance away.
“So many, many hyperlinks and connections,” he mentioned of their day by day ritual.
The connections continued till lately. When Benedict introduced on Feb. 11, 2013, that he would turn into the primary pope in six centuries to resign, Mueller was marking the thirty fifth anniversary of his priestly ordination.
On Dec. 31, the day Benedict died, Mueller turned 75.
“My seventy fifth ‘Earthen’ birthday, and his heavenly birthday,” he mentioned. “Coincidences. But additionally some divine windfall.”
Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin.
Comply with AP’s protection of Pope Benedict XVI at https://apnews.com/hub/pope-benedict-xvi