Infallibility and the Limits of Papal Power: An Interview Cardinal Gerhard Müller

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Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017

Catholic World Report  Contributors, November 20, 2022

“The best means by which we can assist the Pope and the bishops is our prayer. We trust in Jesus, the Lord of the Church …” ~Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller in an interview with Lothar C. Rilinger.

Editor’s note: The following interview was posted originally on November 15, 2022, and appears here with kind permission of Lothar C. Rilinger and English translation is by Frank Nitsche-Robinson.

Vatican ( According to the modern doctrine of constitutional law, all power in the state emanates from the people. Thus, the basis of every democratic state is the sovereignty of the people. The state of Vatican City, however, is exempt from this. In this state, in the Vatican, the people do not form the sovereign; in the smallest state in the world, the respective pope is still the sovereign. As a result, the Pope in the Vatican could exercise more legitimate power than any statesman in Western Europe. This constitutional construction, which allows for a unique abundance of power, raises questions about the limits of power. We therefore spoke with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who with his book The Pope. Mandate and Mission (Der Papst. Auftrag und Sendung) has spoken up and joined the discourse on the position of the Pope, about the limits of power, both legitimate and granted by the doctrine and tradition of the Church. …

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