(Rome) The Vatican confirmed in the daily bulletin of the Vatican press office has announced the dismissal of Cardinal Gerhard Müller as Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Francis has appointed the Secretary of the Congregation for the Congregation of the Faith, the Jesuit, the curial bishop, Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer.
The daily bulletin confirmed the dismissal of the Prefect of Faith yesterday. Pope Francis had received Cardinal Mueller in audience yesterday. He gave him his dismissal. Over the past few weeks, this had been increasingly speculated about.
Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ
Francis has appointed the number two of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Spanish curial bishop, Luis Ladaria. Ladaria has been working for the Holy Office since 1995. At first he was a consultor. In 2008 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop and Secretary of the Congregation. He is the first Jesuit in this office.
When the relationship between Pope Francis and Cardinal Müller rapidly cooled, various names were named as possible successors, including Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto and special bishop for the Bishops' Synod on the Family, Victor Manuel Fernandez (Rector of the Catholic University of Argentina and [evil] ghostwriter of the pope), occasionally also Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna.
Since the dismissal of the Prefect of Doctrine and the Faith was a blow in the smoldering conflict surrounding the orientation of the Catholic Church, Francis decided for a less spectacular succession by placing the previous number two at the top. Ladaria is considered a highly qualified and orthodox theologian. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church is likely to compare with him a previous Prefect, Levada. The American William Joseph Cardinal Levada, headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2005-2012. The successor of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger fulfilled his work behind the scenes, but remained colorless and without external influence. [Probably because he was a figurehead.]
In contrast to Cardinal Müller, who was all the more interested in the public, the more Pope Francis isolated him in the Vatican, no such behavior can be expected from Archbishop Ladaria. This is borne out by his previous restraint, and even more so by the fact that the new Prefect of Faith is a Jesuit. Public opposition, whether directly or indirectly, is not to be expected of him against the first Jesuit in the papacy.
This gentle succession can not blind us to the drama of the intervention with which Pope Francis demonstrates once more the determination to carry his will against any resistance with a strong hand.
The resistance concerned the controversial post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia, which is seen by critics as a first step towards the recognition of divorce and second, in the specific case of Cardinal Müller and that "zero tolerance" postulated by Benedict XVI. against pederastic priests. This received official lip service under Pope Francis. However, implementation seems to depend on the importance and favor enjoyed by an affected cleric. The work of Cardinal Müller was hampered by interventions made by the Pope, such as the cases of a Chilean bishop and "Don Mercedes".
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Vatican.va (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org