On 24th January this year we posted:

Facing the square in which the infamous Nazi book burning took place.

St.Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin is not an altogether happy building from the outside. Seemingly intended to follow the Pantheon in style, it manages to avoid success in that effort. However once inside, the interior, largely destroyed during World War II, tumbles over the precipice of architectural disaster and ugliness. In a bizarre effort at being  " different" the ground floor level is left as a relatively narrow circular gallery overlooking a smallish circular "nave which addresses the High(or low, since it is in a hole) Altar.

The total effect is truly depressing and at the same time fills one with outrage that anyone could have so miserably treated the Altar of Sacrifice. Nevertheless it is probably instructive and a good introduction to the state of the Church in the Fatherland.

                                               St Hedwig's "High"Altar in a Hole

The Church in Germany has been a problem in recent decades, and no one knows that better than our beloved German Pope Benedict XVI.

In recent weeks, it has been interesting to note that the Holy Father has received in Audience a number of German Bishops:
Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstatt,
Archbishop Woelki of Berlin, (lately nominated as one of the new Cardinals) and
Bishop Ludwig Muller of Regensburg. (Joseph Ratzinger had been Professor of Theology at Regensburg University in the 1960s.

The audiences may be co-incidental, or perhaps there is a connecting thread. In the latter case, one can only hope that it is a favourable development for the Church in Germany, victim of so many errors, and struggling in the vineyard sabotaged by the wretched Martin Luther several centuries ago, and whose memory Adolf Hitler so approvingly invoked:

"I do insist on the certainty that sooner or later - once we hold power- Christianity will be overcome and the German Church established. Yes, the German Church, without a Pope and without the Bible, and Luther, if he could be with us, would give us his blessing." ("Hitler's Speeches" p.369)"

Then on 2nd July this year we were able to post :


The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and as president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

 He succeeds Cardinal William Joseph Levada, whose resignation from the same offices the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

The appointment will bring to Archbishop Muller responsibilities which will no doubt, have the Press calling him the "Pope's right hand man"at a very early stage, and they are indeed formidable.

The 64 yrs old Muller is a native of Mainz in Germany where he was ordained. He is said to be a long term personal friend of the Holy Father. He has held the Chair of Dogmatic Theology at a Munich University and is regarded as being theologically orthodox. He is the author of over 400 books, and has oversight of the publication of "Omnia Opera"a collection of all of the writings of the Holy Father. 

In addition, the new Archbishop has a long history of ecumenical  dealings in Germany, which will no doubt enhance his capacity in his new role to deal with Ordinariate matters and to deal with any approach from some Lutherans to seek a similar accommodation in the Catholic Church.

Whilst regarded as strictly orthodox, Archbishop Muller has had attributed to him some comments which are at least controversial.In addition he survived an attempt by a German newspaper to criticise him for the manner in which the case of allegations of pedophilia were handled concerning a particular Priest.

Just how his appointment might tend to entrench the hostility of Lefebvrists remains to be seen.

He would seem certain to be a likely recipient of a Cardinal's Red Hat in due course."

So it seems the straw we saw in the wind had a direction.It is noteworthy that this is the second time that the Holy Father has appointed someone to the role he himself held with such distinction for 25 years who did not please everyone. It should be recalled that when Cardinal Levada was appointed as the immediate successor in the role to Cardinal Ratzinger now become Pope Benedict XVI, many quite loudly objected. The views expressed principally rested upon Cardinal Levada's failure in the role of Archbishop of San Francisco - famed capital of Homosexuality in the United States - to deal more aggressively in confronting the homosexual activists. His Eminence no doubt had noted  their vindictive and Media savvy character and, pragmatically decided that every other activity and message would be swamped if he commenced such a confrontation. 

Time will tell whether Archbishop Mueller's tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will match that of Cardinal Levada for its achievements, and commendable character.


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