Cardinal Müller – “Dissenter” – Sacked…

Cardinal Müller – “Dissenter” – Sacked…

RRISPONDENZA ROMANA and RORATE CÆLI have just learned that His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith since July 2, 2012, has been dismissed by Pope Francis on the exact expiry date of his five-year mandate. Cardinal Müller is one of the cardinals who sought to interpret Amoris Laetitia along the lines of a hermeneutic of continuity with Church Tradition. This was enough to put him among the critics of the new course imposed by Pope [Francis].  Source: Rorate Caeli


Clearly, dissent from the dissent is not permitted.  Is this the “God of Surprises” at work again? Or was this development all too predictable?

Comments (28)

  • editor

    One Peter Five reminds us of Cardinal Müller’s “liberal” history and the fact that he did not support the four cardinals when they submitted their dubia, although this may be interpreted as because he felt he could do more good within the Vatican walls than outside. Whatever, the article rightly points out (I paraphrase) that the time has come for people like him to stand up and be counted. There is a real and present danger to the faith manifest in AL, not least due to the Pope’s own open support of Communion for adulterers, and so the time for diplomacy (if ever such “diplomacy” is right) has long gone. Read the One Peter Five article here

    The concern now, however, has to be, WHO is going to replace Cardinal Müller at the CDF? What a thought….

    July 1, 2017 at 11:56 am
  • Josephine

    I remember reading about Cardinal Muller when he was first appointed (I think he was a bishop/archbishop then – maybe it was on this blog) to the CDF and we were shocked that Pope Benedict had appointed him!

    So, this is a big turnaround, except it’s not really when you think about it. Anyone who thinks adulterers can receive Communion, no problem, isn’t a Catholic at all. That leaves a question mark over the pope’s head, of course,but I am not meaning to spout sedevacantism, just to say that although it’s good that Cardinal Muller took a stand against Communion for the divorced and remarried, it is really basic stuff and doesn’t mean he’s much of a traditional Catholic.

    He’s now learned the hard way that sitting on the fence doesn’t work in the end! They got rid of him anyway!

    July 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm
    • Lily

      Yes, the blog has discussed the German bishops over time – they are really a schismatic bunch. I well remember being shocked that one of them was appointed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I think Cardinal Muller was already found guilty of holding unorthodox views on things. I vaguely remember something about Our Lady where he wrote heresy but can’t remember the details. Shows how bad things are when even bishops like him are sacked by the Pope, LOL!

      July 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm
      • Laura


        He denied the perpetual virginity of Our Lady

        I remember being scandalised at the time, and now he seems to be an orthodox cardinal. It’s hard to keep track of it all.

        July 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm
      • editor


        We were really astounded when Bishop Müller’s views on Our Lady’s virginity were made public – and there were other concerns such as his support for liberation theology.

        Anyway, water under the bridge now – he’s almost being hailed as a hero these days, due to his opposition to that part of AL which permits Communion for adulterers… evidence of just how bad things are right now!

        July 1, 2017 at 6:50 pm
      • gabriel syme

        the blog has discussed the German bishops over time – they are really a schismatic bunch.


        My family recently returned from a holiday in Germany. We stayed just outside the City of Trier, which is the seat of the oldest Diocese in Germany.

        While we were there, the Diocese released news that it is to close 96% of its parishes.

        They have plenty of buildings, but neither priests nor parishioners to put in them. Such is the wages of the leadership of Bishop Ackerman and his predecessor, now Cardinal Marx.

        Meanwhile, on the edges of town, the local SSPX congregation is worshiping in a converted unit in an industrial area (upstairs from a vehicle breakdown recovery office).

        It is telling of how popular the SSPX are with the local hierarchy, that the industrial area also hosts a couple of strip clubs. So you can see all the “social undesirables” have been banished to the fringes. (is this Francis’ “going to the peripheries” in action?).

        My daughter and I went along twice (to the SSPX, not the strip clubs!) and they have done a beautiful job of converting the interior of their building – but its obviously far from ideal.

        With all these parishes closing, might the SSPX be granted use of a central Church building? I doubt it. Bishop Ackerman once tried to prevent a deceased priest having a traditional rite funeral, so he is clearly “one of those” kinds of Bishop.

        Unconventional mass arrangements aside, we got to visit St Peters Cathedral (oldest Cathedral in Germany) and the famous Church of Our Lady. Both were lovely, save the usual hideous post-V2 additions.

        We also visited the Benedictine Monastery of St Matthias, where we were able to see the tomb of St Matthias the Apostle. Amazingly enough, when we were at the Monastery, a walking pilgrimage arrived in the courtyard (from Cologne, I think) and so maybe all is not yet lost for the German Church.

        July 3, 2017 at 1:51 pm
    • Petrus

      That’s a good point. I was shocked when Cardinal Muller was appointed prefect. At the time I said it was like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire brigade! That’s why I smile a wry smile when he is described as a “conservative”. How I hate these labels! You are either a Catholic or you are not!

      July 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm
      • RCA Victor

        I wondered at the time whether Muller’s appointment was a sop to the German episcopate. Maybe Benedict XVI figured he could placate them by elevating the least heretical of the bunch….

        July 2, 2017 at 6:11 pm
  • Laura

    Well, Cardinal Muller seems to be dead against the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia that allows Communion for the divorced and “remarried”, according to this Lifesitenews report from last year

    It is not surprising that he has been dismissed because the Pope does approve the footnote in Amoris Laetitia that allows for priests to interpret the law any way they like, in favour of Communion for those who are not regularly married.

    I voted “nothing that Pope Francis surprises me” in the website poll so I can’t say the sacking of Cardinal Muller is any big surprise at all. His treatment of the four cardinals who asked for an audience is also unsurprising – this pope does his own thing, in the religion he obviously thinks belongs to him and he can change if he chooses.

    July 1, 2017 at 5:28 pm
  • Prognosticum

    Technically speaking, this cannot be said to be a sacking. His term of office had expired. Politically speaking, it is a defenestration of the first magnitude.

    As a friend of mine said earlier today, using a not very savoury expression once applied to J. Edgar Hoover of FBI fame, Bergoglio would have been wiser to keep Mueller inside the tent urinating out than outside the tent urinating in. The fact that he cannot see this probably means he thinks he is untouchable.

    Untouchable he is not. I wonder if this will turn out to be a pyrrhic victory.

    July 1, 2017 at 5:29 pm
    • Laura

      I bet the cardinal feels like he’s been sacked, LOL!

      I’m not sure if it was Harold Wilson or James Callaghan who said something similar to Edgar Hoover when they brought Tony Benn into the British cabinet, but it was something like, better to have your enemies close, than outside plotting, or words to that effect. It’s a play on the old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

      July 1, 2017 at 5:36 pm
      • Prognosticum

        J. Edgar Hoover didn’t say it; it was said of him, by no less than Lyndon B. Johnson, I think.

        This development marks a watershed, and not only in this pontificate. Do not let the glee of some at Mueller’s undoing blind us to this.

        July 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm
    • editor


      I know that, technically speaking, this cannot be said to be a sacking but “dismissed” would not fit on one line! I try to keep the headlines in a single line or, at most, two lines of almost equal length. In the matter of headlines, you see, I’m more into aesthetics than accuracy! Well, technical accuracy, at least – as long as the import of the headline is accurate enough 😀

      And yes: a pyrrhic, or hollow victory it will turn out to be – no question about it. A real watershed, as you say in another post.

      For, now Cardinal Muller is free to add his name to the list of concerned cardinals – if only he will decide to do so. Time will tell. And others who are playing the game of going along to get along, are on notice that their positions are really not safe at all. Even in this world…

      July 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm
  • Fidelis

    The Tablet reveals the successor to Cardinal Muller – a Jesuit, surprise, surprise!

    On Saturday the Vatican announced that the German Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would not serve beyond a single 5-year-term and would be replaced by the congregation’s deputy, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, 73, who is a Jesuit, a member of the same religious order as the Pope.

    July 1, 2017 at 7:42 pm
  • Athanasius

    Archbishop Ladaria was raised to the episcopate by Benedict XVI and appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2009. That appointment, according to one source, was viewed with suspicion as the Archbishop was generally held to have expressed unorthodox opinions on Original Sin and Grace in a book he wrote. He was also one of the principal players in the reviewing of the Church’s teaching on Limbo.

    Interestingly, Archbishop Ladaria has also been the Vatican’s go-between in negotiations with the SSPX since 2009. It will be intersting to see how things develop now. At any rate, Our Lord is in charge of His Church and I really do think this crisis is coming to a head now.

    July 1, 2017 at 11:53 pm
    • Prognosticum

      Actually he was raised to the epicopate and appointed Secretary of the CDF in 2008, but that is a minor point.

      I have never heard of any particular theological irregularity on his part. What I do know is that he, like the vast majority of contemporary Jesuits, is very sympathetic to Karl Rahner, but it could hardly be otherwise in one educated at the Sankt Georgen in his day. That having been said, he saw the error in the writings of his confrère, Jacques Dupuis (remember him, anyone?), something that rendered his life far from easy in the Pontifical Gregorian University.

      I think that it would not be unkind to say that, seen from Francis’ point of view, he is a safe pair of hands. It is of far more importance to know who the new Secretary is going to be.

      If I were a betting man, I would say that the chances of SSPX regularization have diminished, but I am not sure by how much.

      July 2, 2017 at 6:50 am
      • Athanasius


        I’m not sure the chances of regularisation of the SSPX were ever that great to begin with, not under this present Pontiff. With the election of Pope Francis a new front in defending the Faith was opened, the moral front. Despite all their theological unorthodoxy, at least the other conciliar Popes have been sound on the Church’s moral teaching. Francis has blown that wide open. The SSPX would have to be given some very solid, water tight promises and the freedom to question questionable things. Somehow I don’t think Pope Francis would like that.

        July 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm
      • Petrus


        I agree with you entirely. Bishop Fellay is a wise man and will have the measure of these Modernists. You can really see His Excellency’s Catholic sense at work. He is always respectful of his superiors and open to the SSPX being of service to the Church, but he will not compromise on Faith or Morals.

        July 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm
      • Prognosticum


        I am sure that all you say is true. But, whether you like it or not, there is another dimension to this, as there almost always is to human affairs. It is the political dimension.

        Is it true that Bishop Fellay is nearing the end of his term as Superior General which cannot be renewed? I think that puts a complexion on things which goes beyond Fellay’s personal virtue.

        July 2, 2017 at 5:24 pm
      • editor


        In conversation with an “old timer” this morning (outside Mass) I had to agree with him that “wise” Bishop Fellay’s allegedly prudential silence as the crisis worsens, is not really very helpful.

        I know that the idea is to allow the “mainstream” cardinals who have taken the lead to go ahead, that it may be that any public support from Bishop Fellay would actually be counter-productive, but all of that is not necessarily prudence; might well be – but it is, at best, a “political prudence” (so to speak) and I’m not sure that his silence is helpful any more, with things worsening day and daily.

        Of course, it should be obvious to all and sundry that the SSPX bishops are opposed to Pope Francis’ novel and anti-Catholic “teachings” but, still. Some, like the gentleman to whom I refer in my opening sentence, are puzzled that he doesn’t speak out, regularly and loudly to correct the “Franciscan” errors afflicting us all at this time.


        I don’t know the rules in the Society about renewal of the office of Superior General. I must try to find out more about that.

        July 2, 2017 at 5:45 pm
      • Petrus


        That’s a very good point. You do make good points now and again!

        July 2, 2017 at 6:49 pm
      • Prognosticum

        You seemed more positive about this in a previous exchange we had on a thread (I can’t remember which) earlier in the year. I spoke then of Francis’s ‘Big Tent’ theory of the Church and how I thought this would be conducive to the regularisation of the Fraternity.

        Of course, this was predicated on Francis’s basic lack of consideration for theology and doctrine, something which, as you rightly point out, is not something that the Fraternity would wish to reciprocate. That said, no matter how ironical it may seem, the Fraternity would be a far better deal out of Francis than they would have got out of Benedict. Of that I am certain.

        July 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm
      • editor


        I am inclined to agree with you about the “better deal under Francis” simply because he is one very mixed up Papa and the “Big Tent” theory seems to drive him. It’s all to do with the appearance of unity, whether with Lutherans or SSPXers, irrespective of the reality. However, the more savvy around him are likely to take on the role of the devil writing up the detail, and thus scupper everything. One waits and one sees…

        July 2, 2017 at 5:50 pm
  • RCA Victor

    Before news of H.E. Muller’s replacement came out, I was tempted to make a cynical guess as to what Pope Francis’ checklist would be for a new Prefect:

    1. He must be a Marxist, and overtly supportive of fake environmentalism, open borders, and Holy Communion for public adulterers, and covertly supportive (i.e. with Modernist sophistry) of abortion, contraception, and homosexual “marriage.”
    2. He must be to some degree a heretic.
    3. He must be a homosexual, and/or sympathetic to the “gifts” they bring to the Church.

    The fact that Archbishop Ladaria was a B. XVI appointment has diminished my cynicism somewhat, but as Athanasius pointed out above, his faith is already suspect on Original Sin and Grace. Therefore, I’ll check off requirement #2 and wait for the other two shoes to drop….

    July 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm
    • Michaela

      RCA Victor,

      What does it say, when a priest appointed to a top position in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is himself “suspect on Original Sin and Grace.” It just beggars belief.

      July 2, 2017 at 6:47 pm
  • gabriel syme

    I’ve seen a few comments elsewhere saying that Cardinal Mueller is now “off the leash” as if that means he might speak up about things.

    I do not expect so. In any case, were he bold enough to speak out, an intervention made as the current Prefect of the CDF would have carried more weight than that of a “retired Cardinal”. The Dubia Cardinals were dismissed as retirees / “yesterdays men” by some, when the Dubia first became public.

    I expect his replacement will be a typical Bishop of the modern Church – i.e. a “company man” before everything else, meaning he will happily parrot whatever the reigning Pontiff says, be it Catholic or heresy.

    Cardinal Mueller himself says Francis told him that its a new policy not to renew terms in office and this is the reason behind the situation. It remains to be seen if that will be the case, or if Cardinal Mueller is being fobbed off with waffle.

    I think the new man is in his 70s already and so its hard to see him as anything other than an interim appointment, but then, if the claim about not renewing terms is accurate, perhaps Francis only wants him for one term.

    I do wish the Dubia Cardinals would “do something”. This odd strategy of simply revealing every new snub from Francis is not very productive. They make themselves look weak and indecisive with this agonising lack of action.

    July 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm
  • gabriel syme

    I think this is the best place for this:

    Rorate Caeli reports that Cardinal Meisner, one of the 4 signatories of the Dubia, passed away this morning:

    July 5, 2017 at 1:13 pm
  • John Kearney

    The sacking of Cardinal Muller Is a good thing if it leads to a more faithful Prefect. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. There is evidence in OnePeter5 that he was sent for and asked questions about his standing on women deacons and Women priests. When he stated his opposition to both he was told he would be dismissed. Be this right or wrong there is no doubt a move in certain Vatican sources to raise the question of Women Deacons and this will inevitably lead to Women Priests. This is the threat we are facing, and new Prefect with a new agenda.

    July 12, 2017 at 3:21 pm

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