Gerhard Ludwig Müller is a Doctor Honoris Causa at the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). As a Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had stayed out of the conflict between the institution’s authorities, the Archbishop of Lima and the Holy See. But a letter of his addressed to Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani was interpreted as an expression of support for the university’s rebellion against the Pope.
In the letter, Müller asks some Professors from the university’s Theology Department for an explanation regarding the decision not to renew the Church’s permission for him to teach at the PUCP. The decision to withhold permission was communicated by the archbishop last December and came as a result of the decree issued by the Vatican last June, forbidding the university to use the titles “Pontifical” and “Catholic”.
Although the content is meant to be confidential, Peruvian magazine Caretas revealed some parts of the text. The Prefect apparently wrote that the university can continue to give theology lectures until the Holy See has fully resolved the problem. If this is true, it would come as a huge blow to the archbishop of Lima who is fighting a legal and ecclesiastical battle to drive home the fact that the university belongs to the Church.
In Peru, the sheer fact that this letter exists was an encouragement to rector Marcial Rubio and his collaborators, who on several occasions refused to reform the university’s statutes to bring them in line with the Vatican’s regulations on Catholic universities, the Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”.
To tell you the truth, I am not all that comfortable with liberation theology but then maybe I don’t understand enough except that to me it comes across as prettified Marxism with a utopian thrust towards trying to make the Kingdom of God on earth and dealing with structures of sin as opposed to all of us dealing with our individual sin through Jesus Christ. Structures of sin like human trafficking and drug cartels, yeah, but sometimes capitalism and free markets drift into the structure of sin definition and I cringe. I hate the words “social justice” together. How about just plain justice, okay? So many attempts to rectify social inequalities for example merely increase the size of the state and confiscate the product of one person’s hard work to benefit those who can’t or don’t work, and sadly it is now considered bad form to differentiate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.
I read the above story with a grain of salt. We have yet to see any verification that the letter in question is actually from Archbishop Muller or whether he did in fact dress down the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima, who is see is Opus Dei.
Not long ago, I found myself having virtual palpitations when I read that Pope Benedict XVI was a fan of the Frankfurt School, according to this blog post I ran across:
If you thought Critical Theory — the neo-Marxist philosophy of social criticism developed by the Frankfurt School in the 1930’s — is only for aging lefto-pinko radicals, verbose art gallery press releases, and confused liberal arts students, think again. In the sister categories of “who knew” and “wtf,” it turns out that Pope Benedict XVI is an avid fanboy of “the great thinkers of the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno.” In article 22 of the Pope’s2007 encyclical letter, the man in the pointy hat himself gives a pontifical shout out to dialectical materialist thinkers’ anti-positivist theory of modernity.
In the nineteenth century, faith in progress was already subject to critique. In the twentieth century, Theodor W. Adorno formulated the problem of faith in progress quite drastically: he said that progress, seen accurately, is progress from the sling to the atom bomb. Now this is certainly an aspect of progress that must not be concealed. To put it another way: the ambiguity of progress becomes evident.
Here, His Holiness is paraphrasing Adorno’s famous passage from “Negative Dialectics”: “No universal history leads from savagery to humanitarianism, but there is one leading from the slingshot to the megaton bomb.”
The Frankfurt School! Sweat flying off my brow. From everything I know about the Frankfurt School, it is the root of political correctness and the kind of identity politics where aggrieved minority groups take the place of the proletariat seeing as the proletariat was not as interested in Marxism as Marx thought.
Now, despite the above, I have been an avid Ratzinger fan from long before he became Pope. I rejoiced when he did. And so far, Archbishop Muller has proven to be just fine so I’d like to suspend judgment until I see more about this letter and the status of this university and its relationship with the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima.