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Reports: Cdl Müller out at the CDF [UPDATED]

Cardinal Gerhard Muller is pictured in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in this Nov. 19, 2014, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Several outlets are reporting today that Pope Francis will not be re-appointing Cardinal Gerhard Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when the cardinal’s five-year term is up on July 2.

Edward Pentin, who says he has independently confirmed the report, writes at the National Catholic Register:

The Italian Catholic website Corrispondenza Romana and the Rorate Caeli blog were the first to break the news, with Corrispondenza Romana sending out an email this evening with the definitive message: “His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from July 2, 2012, has been fired by Pope Francis on the exact date that his 5-year mandate expires.”

Cardinal Müller was appointed prefect of the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI after Müller’s predecessor, Cardinal William Levada, reached retirement age. At 69, Müller is still several years shy of the customary retirement age of 75.

On several occasions over the last year, Cardinal Müller has maintained that Pope Francis’ post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia must be read in continuity with Catholic teaching on the subject of Communion for the divorced and remarried. This stance put him at odds with his fellow German bishops, who announced in February that some divorced and remarried Catholics may receive Communion and cited Amoris Laetitia as support for their position.

Pentin reports that possible replacements for Cardinal Müller include Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, SJ (secretary to the CDF), Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and Archbishop Bruno Forte (who served as special secretary to the Synod on the Family in 2014). Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who was appointed a member of the CDF in January, is also rumored to be a candidate to replace Müller.

UPDATE (7/1): The Vatican announced this morning that Archbishop Ladaria will replace Cardinal Muller as prefect.

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About Catherine Harmon 577 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.


  1. The writing was not only on the wall it was emblazoned across the media by his being rendered impotent by the Pontiff. Beginning with the Pontiff’s dismissal of Cdl Mueller’s trusted, orthodox Staff, muzzling him. The idea that AL must be read in continuity with tradition is counter to the Pontiff’s purpose in AL and ongoing implementation by a nod and wink to the German and other Bishops Conferences. He’s a good man. I regret he didn’t stand up directly to the Pontiff and get fired with not only honor. But with the courage to set an example for the Church.

  2. Well, well..,all of you die-hard Francis defenders have what to say???

    The Holy Spirit and the Deposit of Faith…we will soon see if the Catholic Church is the true Church.

    • The Deposit of the Faith has not been abrogated and never will be. Our Catholic Faith is assured by Christ’s words. The Pontiff has not officially touched or changed one word. Devious covert implementation of any policy contrary to that Deposit is manifest error, non binding, absolutely necessary to reject. Which it will be by the Faithful. With Christ we may suffer awhile. With him steadfast in the Catholic Faith we will rise to eternal life.

  3. Bruno Forte would be bad as the head of the CDF; I don’t know anything about Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, SJ. O’Malley didn’t impress me as the Archbishop of Boston and I have no reason to think that he will act as the voice that Pope Francis needs.

  4. Pope Francis and any further perversions of pastoral teaching (for example, anything that may result from the rumored commission on Humanae Vitae) are a problem for Latin Catholics only if they hold to a strong ultramontanist view of the papacy.

  5. Francis-Kirk is fake Catholicism.

    Francis hires people like James Martin to teach immorality to our children, while F confection the facade of “orthodoxy.”

    Double-talking and dog-whistling all day, every day.

    An unworthy shepherd.

    I wouldn’t leave my children alone in a room with him or any man who he appoints – they are not trustworthy.

  6. Cardinal Mueller is a great man, who stood by the faith when the Pope undermined him at every turn. He tried to correct Amoris Laetitia, but the Pope rejected his counsel. He tried to save AL from itself, but the Pope rejected him. His job was not to stand up and oppose the Pope publicly, as some contend. His job was to try and steer a dangerous Pope in the right direction, without undermining the Papacy itself. Now Mueller will be free to speak out more clearly.

    Two very troubling items – Many have said that the Pope was out to undermine the legacy and magisterium of JP II. Now we hear that he is removing JP II’s name from the John Paul II Institute for the Family. If true, this is a heinous act of a very tiny man. It is perhaps conclusive evidence of an irrational dislike for JP II and his thought. It shows a pettiness and arrogance that many have seen in this man.

    Second, Archbishop Paglia recently told the parents of a severely disabled and dying baby to essentially forget about it and let their baby die. They had raised 1.4 million dollars to take their baby to America to try one last treatment as a last ditch attempt to save his life. Not only would the vaunted British healthcare system not pay for it, they refused to let the parents take their baby to America to even try to treat the baby. This is heartlessness in spades. Paglia cynically quoted JP II out of context, and claimed that the parents should let their baby die rather than try one last treatment. This is evidence of extreme sickness in the Vatican. The whole Vatican seems to be rejecting Catholicism.

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