Dismissed cardinal manifesto in thinly veiled attacks on the pope

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A Cardinal dismissed from a Vatican post by Pope Francis has written his own "Manifesto of Faith" when the recent attack by a leading member of the conservative wing of the Church was based on the authority of the Pope.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, 71, who was a Vatican doctrine until 2017, published the four-page manifesto on Friday about conservative Catholic media.

He said that "many bishops, priests, religious and laity" required it. He did not say how many and why he published it now.

However, conservatives were disturbed this week when Francis embarked on a pope's first visit to the Arabian Peninsula and signed a "document on human brotherhood" with a Muslim religious leader.

Ultra-conservative Catholics are against dialogue with Islam. Some say their ultimate goal is to destroy the West.

The manifesto was dated February 10, the sixth anniversary of the announcement of his previous resignation by Pope Benedict. Benedict, 91, remains an icon for conservative Catholics.

Mueller said he wrote it "in the face of growing confusion about the doctrine".

He said some church leaders had "abandoned people, confused them, and seriously damaged their faith." He warned against "the fraud of (the) anti-Christ".

Müller, who did not mention the pope, is one of a handful of conservative cardinals who openly accused Franz of confusion.

They say he is weakening Catholic rules on moral issues such as homosexuality and divorce, while overly focusing on social issues such as climate change and economic inequality.

Their leader is the 70-year-old Raymond Leo Burke, an American who was demoted in 2014 from a senior position of the Vatican.

Mueller has reinforced his criticism of the Pope since Francis deposed him in 2017 as the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The major part of the manifesto was a repetition of the teachings of the Church, including some strongly endorsed by Francis himself, such as the celibacy of priests and the ban on women's ordination.

FILE PHOTO: The newly elected Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller from Germany comes during a consistory ceremony under the direction of Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on 22 February 2014. / File Photo

One section, however, was a significant blow when Francis spoke to Catholics who had divorced and remarried outside the church.

Francis believes that some individuals should be allowed to receive the community on a case-by-case basis, which is a contradiction for conservatives.

The Vatican has not commented on the document.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Cultivation of Ros Russell

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