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Reports: Cardinal Müller out as head of C.D.F.

©M. MIGLIORATO/CPP

February 25 2016 : Card. Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, poses during the international conference "Charity will never end" 10 years from the encyclical of Benedict XVI "Deus caritas est" at the New Synod Hall at the Vatican.

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/30/17

Multiple sources are reporting it, but so far no one is officially confirming the reports: 

Late Friday evening, as multiple news outlets were reporting that Pope Francis has not reconfirmed Cardinal Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the end of his five-year mandate, the Vatican remained silent. The news was first reported by the blog Rorate Caeli, which has frequently criticized Pope Francis. Despite queries to the Vatican press office, neither a statement nor a denial has been issued, and church officials are uniformly refusing to comment. Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Müller as head of the C.D.F. in 2012 for a period of five years. The 69-year-old German cardinal, who has remained close to the emeritus pope, was due for reconfirmation in that position on July 2 and had a meeting with Pope Francis on the morning of June 30.

Veteran Vatican watcher Joan Lewis posted on her Facebook page:

The conservative Catholic Italian website Corrispondenza Romana is reporting that German Cardinal Gerhard Muller , the highest-ranking doctrinal authority in the Church as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has not been reconfirmed at his post by Pope Francis, and so will end his term of office in two days, on July 2. The website is describing it as a “firing” of Muller. It was known that Mueller went this morning to visit Pope Francis. There has as yet been no official announcement of this news, so it remain unofficial.

About the cardinal, from Edward Pentin in National Catholic Register: 

Cardinal Müller is one of the cardinals who sought to interpret Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, “according to a hermeneutic of continuity with the Tradition of the Church.” It added that that had made him a critic of the direction taken by the Pope. Cardinal Müller has had to perform a difficult balancing act as prefect, not least over the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. He has always maintained that the most contentious passages, in particular whether it allows Holy Communion for remarried divorcees without an annulment and without a firm purpose of amendment of life, could be read in accordance with the Church’s teaching and Tradition. But that position became increasingly harder to maintain when it became clear that the Holy Father supported interpretations that did allow Holy Communion for such divorced and remarried couples in certain cases — a position critics have said is not in conformity with past papal teaching (in a leaked letter, later authenticated by the Vatican, the Pope told Argentine bishops there were “no other interpretations” of the document). In February, Cardinal Müller warned bishops to stop interpreting Amoris Laetitia in ways that contradicted unchangeable Church doctrine. His comments came after bishops’ conferences such as Germany’s said it allows Holy Communion for some remarried divorcees living in what the Church has always taught is an objective state of adultery, while others such as Poland’s emphatically said it doesn’t. Individual bishops around the world have similarly been at odds over the issue.

Who will replace him? At least one report is suggesting Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, adding “other candidates include Vienna Cardinal Chistoph Schonborn and Archbishop Victor Fernandez, a close collaborator of Pope Francis.”

Stay tuned.

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