Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller claimed during a recent interview that Jesus would likely be imprisoned in Western societies today for affirming biological sex and traditional marriage.
"Jesus also contradicts ideologically these ways [that] want to relativize or even destroy a marriage of men and women and the family of the parents with their own children," the German cardinal told GBNews host Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Referencing Matthew 19, Müller noted how the Pharisees attempted to entrap Jesus by interrogating Him over the issue of marriage, but that Jesus pushed back by affirming marriage as between a man and woman, as well as God's original design of male and female.
"I believe that today, Jesus would not be condemned only because He was the Messiah," Müller said.
"But He would in Canada or the United States or European countries go to prison because He spoke out the truth about the marriage between a man and a woman."
Müller's comments came in response to a question from Rees-Mogg regarding the state of the Catholic Church, especially in the wake of the recent controversy over Joseph E. Strickland being removed from his post as bishop of Tyler, Texas, and Cardinal Raymond Burke being stripped of his cardinal salary and Vatican apartment.
Both traditionalist men have been outspoken critics of Pope Francis.
In 2014, the pope removed Burke from his position as head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which is the Vatican's highest court to which he had been appointed by Benedict XVI in 2008. He also lost his position in the Congregation for Divine Worship and his patronage of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
According to a source who attended the Nov. 20 meeting of the heads of Vatican offices during which Francis announced his actions against Burke, the pope said: "Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I take away his apartment and his salary."
The pope later denied through his papal biographer that he had ever called Burke his enemy, but confirmed that he had taken away his salary and evicted him from his Vatican-subsidized apartment because he was allegedly using his cardinal privileges "against the Church."
Müller said he could "personally testify that both [Strickland and Burke] are devout Catholics and serious pastors," and that Burke is "the best qualified candidate to the College of the Roman Cardinals."
"Calling them enemies of the pope only shows an un-Christian spirit," Müller continued, and went on to encourage "a respectful dialogue between grown-up men."
"The ordination are appointed by Christ himself to be shepherds of the Church and to treat each other like brothers," he added.
Müller's follow recent clarifications from the Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which last month issued guidance stipulating that people who have undergone transgender surgical procedures or taken cross-sex hormones can be baptized, provided "there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating public scandal or disorientation among the faithful."
On Monday, the doctrinal office announced that Pope Francis approved a measure permitting Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions, as long as the blessing is not considered akin to marriage and still labels such relationships sinful.