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Cardinal Müller questions manner of his dismissal, see divisions within Church

July 10, 2017

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has criticized the way in which Pope Francis dismissed him as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while continuing to insist that he is loyal to the Pontiff.

The German cardinal told the daily Passauer Neue Presse that the Pope did not inform him that he would be dismissed until the last day of his 5-year term. The notification came in a brief phone call, Cardinal Müller revealed, and the Pope did not offer any explanation for replacing him. “I cannot accept this way of doing things,” the cardinal said.

The cardinal said that he was similarly unhappy with the way Pope Francis had ordered him to dismiss three staff members of the CDF, again without any explanation. He said that the Church should adhere to its own standards in the treatment of employees.

Cardinal Müller said that he has been “always loyal to the Pope and always will be.” He said that he could not join with the cardinals who have issued a public call for clarification of Amoris Laetitia, and would not be “harnessed to a movement which is critical of the Pope.” Nevertheless he indicated that he sympathized with the cardinals who have expressed concern about the papal document. On the question of allowing Communion for Catholics who are divorced and remarried, he said that public statements by the Pope’s supporters “are simply not convincing.”

Cardinal Müller said that the Church is now troubled by severe divisions, and reconciliation between different factions is needed to avert the threat of schism. He said that in his retirement he hopes to continue working for the defense of Catholic doctrine and for unity within the Church.


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  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 11, 2017 9:21 AM ET USA

    In the interview (La Croix) Cardinal Müller said: "The Church’s social teaching must also be applied to the way employees are treated here in the Vatican." Great point, and it should be obvious.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jul. 10, 2017 8:13 PM ET USA

    Appears to be another papal case of do as I say not as I do. Certainly reduces his small credibility insofar as marketplace actions are concerned. As for Cardinal Muller, he appears to be of two minds and one of them will eventually prevail.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jul. 10, 2017 5:39 PM ET USA

    Even most managers in our market driven secular economy wouldn't fire or force people into retirement in the unchristian way the Pope is reported to have acted.