Of all the recent attacks launched by conservatives against Pope Francis, one stood out more than most.
It came from a German cardinal who is one of the most powerful men in the Vatican. And it underlined a growing backlash in the church to some of Francis’ more progressive ideas — a backlash led largely by German and American bishops who fear the pope may be overturning centuries of doctrine on divorce, among other matters.
The cardinal, Gerhard Mueller, the pope’s own doctrinal chief, made it clear in an interview in February that he firmly opposed Francis’ tinkering with the church’s ban on divorced and civilly remarried Catholics taking Communion.
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, opposes s
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, opposes some of Pope Francis’ views. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)