Previous deputy takes over

Previous deputy takes over

Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer © Paolo Galosi (CBA)

After Pope Francis surprisingly decided not to extend Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller's term as head of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, his successor has now been named – and he is no stranger to the job.

The Vatican officially confirmed this Saturday that the term of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller (69) as head of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will not be extended. It ends on Sunday after a five-year deadline. Pope Francis named Muller's previous deputy, Curia Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer (73), as his successor.

There was initially no word on the reasons behind Pope Francis' decision not to extend the German prefect's term of office.

Differences of opinion between Muller and Francis

According to information from the Jesuit magazine "America," several cardinals are said to have asked Francis to remove the German cardinal because he has repeatedly distanced himself publicly from papal positions.

Muller owed his appointment in 2012 to then-Pope Benedict XVI. In 2014, Francis elevated him to the rank of cardinal.

There had been disagreements between Muller and Pope Francis on moral theological ies in recent years. Most recently, on 25. May criticized in a television interview the fact that Francis had fired three of the cardinal's staff against his will.

Former bishop of Regensburg

Muller, an academic disciple of Cardinal Karl Lehmann, had been bishop of Regensburg since 2002 until his move to Rome. Previously, he taught as a professor of dogmatics at the University of Munich.

Media had been speculating for some time that the prefect would be replaced. The German cardinal did not play a central role under Francis, unlike his predecessors in office, most notably then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

It became apparent that there were conflicting catches between the miller and the pope in their interpretation of the 2016 papal letter "Amoris laeitita". Mulller publicly argued that even under the document, divorced Catholics who married for the second time could receive communion only if they were sexually abstinent in that union. The pope, on the other hand, approved interpretations that allowed communion to be received even without such a lifestyle in individual cases.

Theologian of international renown

The bishop appointed on 31. Muller, born December 1947 in what is now Mainz-Finthen, is a theologian of international renown. His book "Catholic Dogmatics" is considered a standard work and has been translated into numerous languages.

As early as 1997, Pope John Paul II. the Munich dogmatics professor to the International Theological Commission, a think tank for the pope and the curia. After his appointment as bishop in 2002, he became a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – one of only four non-cardinals to do so. Muller is also the editor of the collected works of Joseph Ratzinger.

With Mueller's appointment as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict XVI. overrode the objections of some church dignitaries who were suspicious of Muller's personal friendship with Gustavo Gutierrez (84), the father of liberation theology.

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