His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Mueller may not have been well treated by the current occupant of the Roman See ... but he was badly treated by the more eccentric wing of Traddidom long before that.
Among the things I most admire about Mueller is his steadfast defence of the highly important principle, established by Benedict XVI and detested by the apostate sections of Germanic Christianity, that Episcopal Conferences have no theological status. The Universal Church, within which the Roman See is the centre of Catholic Communion, does have status; and so does the the Local, Particular Church, with its Bishop, Presbyterium, Diaconate and Laos. But 'Conferences' ... no way. Lose sight of this, and you will find yourself wandering down the muddy track called Provincial Autonomy, which smashed up the unity and traditions of the once great Anglican Communion. The Universal Church does indeed have priority over the Particular Church, as Ratzinger demonstrated in his punctiliously courteous but devastating demolitions of the sneering and nasty Kasper. The scholarly clarity of the former was more than a match for the slippery and phony logic of the latter.
But the dafter traddies never really noticed any of this. It was Mueller's stand on Amoris laetitia which most irritated them. They totally failed to observe the dilemma upon the stiletto-sharp horns of which he skewered Amoris laetitia. His Eminence offered AL two alternatives: (1) it has changed nothing; Familiaris consortio and Caritatis sacramentum still rule, OK; or (2) it has changed the immemorial praxis and doctrine of the Church.
The former of these is the only viable option. It is widely suspected both by the pope's admirers and his critics that Pope Francis had hoped to create a massive and confused muddy area of ambiguities in which the solutions he wanted would bubble up to the service and gradually, over time, establish themselves as facts upon the ground. If that is accurate, Mueller called his bluff. Perhaps that is why he had to go.
Gerhard Mueller will now have the leisure to work on his major edition of Joseph Ratzinger's works; and, I hope, to do a lot of his own work. He is, for a cardinal, young, and has much to offer the Church ... for which reason I am particularly glad that he did not accept some face-saving but time-wasting 'role'. If this pontificate lasts long enough, Bergoglio may come to regret that he did not (as the English mingently express it) keep Mueller inside the tent.
Mueller has put up with major humiliations, such as the tediously insistent implication in Pope Francis' words that Kasper, and then Schoenborn, are this age's brilliant theologians. There are also compelling reasons for thinking that the more minor and private humiliations which Mueller endured, Friday after Friday, may not have been few in number. This kindly and intelligent man has served the People of God through all of that with grace, simplicity, and loyalty.
I particularly hope that he will have time to return to the question of Liberation Theology. Despite a fair bit of froth about the Poor and the Peripheries, Pope Francis has no interest in this. But the major problems of unequal distribution and of the multinational corporations are still with us. So are the consequent violent polarities (as we see today in Venezuela) and the concomitant theological questions. Mueller is the man to take a fresh look at them.