Pope Francis has dismissed Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, exactly five years since his appointment to the Office by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2012. Müller’s five-year term ended on July 2, 2017, following months of rumors that his time at the CDF was nearing an end, as he became increasingly vocal about his denunciations of attempts to change Church discipline and doctrine on marriage and the sacraments.
A Staunch Defender of the Faith
Muller is considered as one of the last remaining senior clergymen appointed by Benedict XVI to key positions in the Church leadership, and has been a vanguard and defender of the Catholic Faith against anti-Catholic currents that are sweeping it.
He has consistently spoken out against liberal bishops’ insistence on providing Eucharistic Communion to Catholics who are living in a state of mortal sin (divorced and remarried), and has defended the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage repeatedly: “I have said it many times, and I repeat it here again,” he said in remarks made June 21, “Jesus established clearly, and without doubt, the indissolubility of valid matrimony. This is what we must preach, declare and explain to the Catholic faithful.”
Addressing the worldwide confusion following Amoris Laetitia and various dioceses using it to open up Holy Communion to those in adulterous or homosexual relationships, the Cardinal explained, “Contrition, confession and reparation are the three necessary elements for absolution. These are the immediate conditions for receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, who is the same divine Person who forgives us.”
He has emphasized that Amoris Laetitia must be interpreted within the context of the Magisterial Teaching of the Church, and cannot be interpreted in a way that contradicts the teachings of previous popes.
Tensions between the cardinal and Pope Francis began when Müller added his name to a letter of protest at the 2015 Synod, which sharply criticized the lack of transparency and consultation, going so far as to hint at an agenda. “A number of Fathers feel the new process seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions.”
In an explosive interview with the German version of Vatican Radio last October 26, 2016, Cardinal Müller said that “for the first time in the history of the Church we have the case of two legitimate living popes.” His statement on the unique situation of having two popes calls our attention in a forceful way to Blessed Anne Catherine’s prophecy on the two popes in the end times, or the time immediately preceding the Second Coming of Jesus. In that prophecy, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich warned that a false pope would emerge in the end times, and would establish a false church:
I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . I saw how baleful (harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness…
Dismissed Within One Minute on the Last Work Day of His Term
In an interview with the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, the Cardinal revealed details of the meeting in which he learned of the Pope’s refusal to renew his 5-year mandate as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The custom in the last 50 years has been to renew the prefect’s mandate at least until he reaches retirement age.
Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller said, “communicated his decision” not to renew his term “within one minute” on the last work day of his five-year-term, and did not give any reasons for it.
“This style I cannot accept,” said Müller. In dealing with employees, “the Church’s social teaching should be applied,” he added.
A Liberal Jesuit as Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Muller’s position at the Congregation was taken by the 73-year-old Jesuit Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, who is known for liberal views on the faith. In his April 2009 book entitled “Jesus Christ, Salvation of All”, Ladaria has suggested that hell is empty. Ladaria claims, in the book that salvation in Christ is possible “for all humanity”, “The hope may arise that this salvation will indeed reach everyone.” He only confirms a mere theoretical “possibility of damnation”, but “hell is something neither wanted nor created by God”.
According to Ladaria it is “inconceivable” that salvation “is only for Christians and not for those who do not know Christ”. And: “Christians and non-Christians reach this goal by virtue of the gift of the Spirit that associates us with the unique paschal ministry of Christ even if it is through diverse paths known only to God.”
Ladaria is also accused of covering up and protecting pedophile priests who have sexually-abused minors. The Italian publication La Republicca accused Ladaria of bearing a “direct responsibility” for the abuse of Italian children.
In March 2012 Ladaria signed a document defrocking Gianni Trotta, a former priest and member of the Sons of Divine Providence, who homosexually abused minors. The matter was never made public or denounced to Italian authorities. Trotta went on becoming a coach of a junior soccer team where he continued abusing minors. In July 2016 he was sent to prison for crimes against a 12-year-old. A second trial will soon take place.