Climate of fear: the new crackdown on Catholic theologians

New administration cracks whip.

Orthodox Catholics are facing “persecution” – and not from secularists, but from their fellow believers. That’s the startling claim made last week by Professor Josef Seifert, the philosopher and friend of St John Paul II. His remarks echoed some recent comments from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who told the National Catholic Register that Vatican officials and university teachers were “living in great fear”. And Seifert and Cardinal Müller are only saying publicly what many will say in private.

In researching this article, I have heard from priests and academics on four continents who, as soon as I raised the subject of intimidation, immediately requested anonymity. Some referred to their need to earn a living or support a family. One professor quipped: “I am not ready for white martyrdom” – a theological term for the acceptance of great (but non-fatal) suffering for the faith.

Depends who has the whip hand, apparently.

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