Cardinal Sandri: “Revolutionary Pontificate” – Archbishop Müller: “No Revolutionary”

Argentinian curial cardinal Leonardi Sandri sees the Catholic Church at the beginning of a new epoch with the pontificate of Pope Francis. It will recall “the essential things” and call for dialogue. Cardinal Sandri sees a “revolutionary pontificate” coming to the church. “With Francis a springtime of the church is beginning,” he said to La Nacion on Sunday. “His name is already a message”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, does not think he is a “revolutionary.” He said on Monday, “The fundamentals of the Church given by God cannot be changed by humans.” At the same time, he reaffirmed that “our talk of the dignity of the person must be put into practice, we must point out unjust structures prophetically and critically, and we must actively resist them because they diametrically oppose the Christian view of the person.” Müller does not see a need for a revision of the position of the Church toward liberation theology, because the declaration of 1986 states well how this theology can be understood in a positive, Catholic sense.

Regarding the new pontificate, Müller could well imagine a new style and a “change in method.” In the “way of expressing church life, we can’t always just copy the past and continue it unchanged.” But Pope Francis stands for continuity in proclamation of the faith, according to Müller.



  1. It sounds to me as if these two members of the Curia are trying to make the case for them to keep their positions, with one betting on change and the other on continuity.

    And they’re certainly not the only ones doing this, though the thinking of the others isn’t making it into the papers.

    ‘Tis a very nervous time for those in the Curia.

  2. Yes, Peter – but even Müller is hedging his bets and making noises about change in his comments.

    1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #2:
      Sandri’s concern for “the essential things” mirrors Müller’s concern about “the fundamentals of the Church.”

      What’s different is that Sandri seems to be saying that the Church has gotten away from these essential fundamentals, while Müller seems to think that what the Church needs is simply better messaging. Both are speaking about change, but on very different levels and with very different desired outcomes.

      Note, too, the different offices these two hold. It’s a lot easier, I would imagine, for the head of Congregation for the Oriental Churches to talk about returning to essentials than it is for the head of the CDF to talk about change at all.

  3. I had given up hope re. the next pope, as if he could only be a continuation of his two recent predecessors. So many of us prayed for the swift action of the Holy Spirit without really expecting It/Her/Him to find a crack in which to act. But somehow a Vatican Spring seems to be upon us, a new way of living, or rather an old way of living, but a way which we have forgotten or discarded.
    I see in the behavior of Francis a call to individual change as much as institutional change. This is very exciting!

  4. It is a lot easier for the Cardinal from Argentina to be hopeful than for the Archbishop from Germany. The former grew up in the same circumstances as Francis, the Italian community in Argentina, while Muller grew up in a Church dominated by Benedict.

    Thanks for posting this. I have been wondering what Argentina ‘s (only?) cardinal though of his compatriot.

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