German cardinal Ludwig Mueller, known for clashing with the Pope, not renewed for second term

A short statement from the Vatican revealed Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, current head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will not be renewed for a second term. Cardinal Mueller, 69, was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2012.

Mueller was among the 13 cardinals who was signatory to a private letter (which ended up leaked to the general public) to the Pope expressing dissatisfaction that a meeting of bishops regarding family issues concluded in favor of more liberal policies.

Pope Francis has been gradually attempting to make the Catholic church more inclusive of so-called “imperfect” members, stating in his 2016 papal treatise “The Joy of Love”: “no one can be condemned forever”.

Pope Francis addresses in particular that Catholics who divorce and remarry should not be strictly punished but rather receive compassion, siding with the progressive narration that a priest or bishop should jointly decide whether an individual who divorces and remarries without receiving an annulment from the church should be fully re-integrated.

Cardinal Mueller, who appears frequently in the media as a representative of the church, has been an outspoken critic of the Pope’s efforts, and is revered among more conservative cardinals within the church as well as conservative Catholics.

A more compatible successor replaces Mueller

Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, 72, is due to replace Mueller. Ferrer and Pope Francis have considerably more in common, a member of the Jesuit order described as docile, quiet, and uninterested in publicity.

A Vatican priest who wished to remain anonymous described Ferrer as “. . . someone who is meek. He does not agitate the Pope and does not threaten him”. He added, “Clearly, the Pope and Cardinal Mueller have not been on the same page for five years”.