Good day everyone!
With it having been announced that Pope Francis is conferring the honours of the Sacred Purple on Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I have been engaged in some discussion about this on the infamous Facebook.
The page this took place on was “katholisch.de” (on Facebook), which is the official site of the German Bishops for Church-related news. It is generally the same people who comment on stories, so I have been able to identify for myself which end of the spectrum those people come from. Although I don’t really approve of such terms, for the sake of brevity, on that board I would count myself among the “archconservatives”. Many others would, from what I have read, come under the “progressive” banner. Again, I don’t normally use the terms, but if the media were to read the comments, that’s what I think they’d come up with.
So, back on topic: My initial comment was something along the lines of “I had wondered when it would happen. What else must Pope Francis do to convince liberals that Müller and he are not diametrically opposed doctrinally?” which caused quite an upheaval among those who dislike him for their own reasons. When someone who claims to have been taught by his university studies of Catholic Theology “to question what is taught [by the Church]” said he did not pay any attention or respect to the person of Abp. Müller, I asked him whether he was proud of that. Since Pope Francis confirmed Müller in his position and made him a Cardinal, I argued that disrespecting Müller as Prefect and Cardinal-elect was tantamount to disrespect for His Holiness.
Heated commenting ensued, which ended in my being accused of “fanatical/unconditional deference to authority”. To cut a long story short, here is my question: What obligation do the laity have to respect the Prefect and his declarations?
Should I deem it appropriate, I may expand a little more on the comments referenced.