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Pope replaces Cardinal Müller as CDF Prefect

By Sarah Mac Donald - 04 July, 2017

Former head of doctrinal watchdog rejects suggestions that he was let go over his theological differences with Pope Francis, notably over Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, former Prefect of the CDF

“There were no differences between me and Pope Francis,” the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, stated following the Pope’s decision not to renew his term.

The German prelate’s role came to an end on Sunday and the Pope announced the appointment of Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer as the new CDF Prefect.

The Spanish Jesuit, who was formerly a theologian at the Pontifical Gregorian University has, since 2008, acted as CDF secretary.

In an interview with the German newspaper, Algemeine Zeitung, Cardinal Müller rejected suggestions that he had been let go because of his theological differences with Pope Francis.

These included a difference in emphasis over the 2016 post synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, specifically in relation to Chapter 8, which deals with communion for divorced and remarried couples.

Sixty-nine-year-old Cardinal Müller revealed to Algemeine Zeitung that the Pope had told him that he wishes to move away from the trend of renewing curial mandates.

Up to now it has been common for these five-year terms to be renewed.

Cardinal Müller was appointed as head of the CDF by Benedict XVI before his resignation.

Last March, clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins announced her resignation from the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors and hit out at the lack of curial cooperation with the Commission.

She said the main source of resistance within the Vatican to the Commission’s work came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

However, Cardinal Müller rejected this in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper as a “cliché” he “couldn’t understand”.

In an open letter to the then prefect of the CDF, Marie Collins warned Cardinal Müller that dysfunction can no longer be kept hidden behind institutional closed doors.

In her letter she asked, “If all necessary means have been in place to address the case of a bishop negligent in respect of protection of children from abuse, why then has no bishop been officially, transparently sanctioned or removed for this negligence?”

She continued, “If it is not lack of laws, then is it lack of will? I am sure many survivors, myself included, would be interested, Cardinal, in the answer to this question.”

Marie Collins said she did not know what the motivation was in regard to any difficulties put in the way of the Pontifical Commission.

“All it wishes to do is bring better protection to children and vulnerable adults wherever in the world the Catholic Church is present. If there are problems, nothing is gained by maintaining a pretence that all is well.

“I would ask that instead of falling back into the Church’s default position of denial and obfuscation, when a criticism like mine is raised, the people of the church deserve to be given a proper explanation. We are entitled to transparency, honesty and clarity.

“No longer can dysfunction be kept hidden behind institutional closed doors. This only succeeds as long as those who know the truth are willing to remain silent,” Mrs Collins concluded.

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