Will Pope Francis confirm Card. Müller for another term on 2 July 2017? UPDATE – NO.


UPDATE: I got another confirmation from a separate source that Card. Müller is, indeed, out as of Monday.

It will be interesting to see where he lands.


What is scary are the names my spies and I are bandying about as the next Prefect, for there shall be a next Prefect.  With this move, surely the Pope already had someone in mind.


Corrispondenza Romana is suggesting that Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has been sacked (“licenziato”) by Pope Francis.   Cardinals serve at the pleasure of the Supreme Pontiff, whose extension they are when serving in the Roman Curia.

Card. Müller’s quinquennium (five year mandate) ends on 2 July.

We won’t know for sure until we know for sure. [UPDATE: Now we know, but we’ll know for sure on Monday.]

Meanwhile, some of my Roman spies are telling me the same.

So, again, fama volat. Caveat lector.

That said, we recall that His Holiness decided to leave Card. Burke in place for a long time at the Apostolic Signatura without an official reconfirmation of his mandate. That effectively undercut Card. Burke in his role without moving him. It is possible that the Pope will leave Card. Müller in place without reconfirmation of his mandate. If the Roman Pontiff wants to decentralize what Rome has been doing, that could be a way to urge that action item along in regard to the CDF.  Also, Card. Müller would need something to do.  He’s only 69.  I suspect that his brother bishops in Germany would not be especially pleased to see him amongst them as a diocesan bishop again.  There are fewer and fewer slots available in the Roman Curia these days.  There can only be so many patrons of orders of knights.  So, where would Pope Francis ask the Cardinal to serve next?

It will be interesting to see what happens.  We will know soon enough… maybe.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Giuseppe says:

    How about serving as Pope Francis’s choice to oversee a much-needed personal prelature of the SSPX? He’d probably work very well with Bishop Fellay.

  2. Joseph-Mary says:

    Word just in: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.co/2017/06/breaking-exclusive-in-english-pope.html

    Can’t have his like in such a high place; not on the current modernist team.

    [We were already there.]

  3. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Let’s see. Of late, Card. Müller has been ignored, countermanded, and generally abused. All of that would be good training for filling in for Card. Pell until he returns from Australia.

  4. acardnal says:

    I’m sure some may be advising: we don’t need the CDF anyway.

  5. iamlucky13 says:

    If marginalization of the orthodox starts to appear systematic, will the result be that the rest decide to abandon the cause of what they know is right, or that they start working together more and become a more vocal, united presence in the Church?

  6. stuartal79 says:

    Cardinal Muller will effective in his new role, regardless of where. I have heard Cardinal O’Malley named floated as his replacement. That would be fine by me. I just pray it’s not Cardinal Schonborn. That would not be good news.

  7. Michael says:

    KYRIE ELEISON!! We desperately need to stay close to Our Lady in her holy rosary.

    If the next person on “the list to get out” is Cardinal Sarah….I can’t even begin to imagine the damage that would follow.

    We need to counter this agenda with the immediate and powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I suggest prayer/fasting with bringing this special intention to the votive Mass of Our Lady tomorrow (Saturday).

  8. Amerikaner says:

    Perhaps the good news to this is that the Cardinal might now be able to fully support the other Cardinals regarding the Dubia.

  9. mthel says:

    I leave this one in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Both Ratzinger and Muller were not particularly conservative before becoming Prefect. At best, both were right leaning moderates – some would even say they were further left than that. Something about this office seems to change the man – hopefully the same continues with the new Prefect.

  10. Thomistica says:

    No surprises here.

    There appears to be only way to interpret this news. So when –when? –does the fraternal correction by the four Cardinals come? Enough time has now elapsed.

    At this point concern should focus on who the next pontiff will be. Better to get the correction of this pontiff out, and pronto, to obviate problems in that respect. By showing the serious threat to unity that this pontiff’s doctrinal dithering poses.

    Lack of a fraternal correction will signal no seriousness of resolve and embolden the Cupich’s of the world in the next conclave’s voting.

    So get that fraternal correction out, and let the chips then fall where they may.

  11. robtbrown says:

    Anyone wondering what happened to those students of the theology of Karl Rahner should understand that they’re running the Church now . . . right into the ground.

    That notwithstanding, it was evitable that the neo con Church left by JPII wouldn’t stand. Strict morality together with Lutheran (at best) liturgy supported by smarmy Christology and quasi Protestant theology of the priesthood and the Eucharist could never hold.

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    If the next Prefect is not strictly orthodox, well : danger, Will Robinson.

    It’s one thing to remain obedient to a Roman Pontiff with some personal ideas ; it’s quite another kettle of fish to imagine that the orthodoxy could be subjected to ideology and politics.

    The heart of Modernism lies in the desire to impose one’s own personal wishes upon everyone else.

  13. HighMass says:

    The modernist team is going to end up splitting the Church right down the middle….

    Blessed Mother you promise in the end your Immaculate Heart will Triumph, Jesus promised the gates of hell will not prevail against the church…..
    Maybe we are closer to the end of an unholy era than we think.

  14. byzantinesteve says:

    Well, now he can join forces with the other four cardinals to insist on getting answers to the dubia.

  15. Emilio says:

    To echo some of the comments above, I see that LifeSite News is floating Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s name as Cardinal Muller’s successor at CDF. Cardinal O’Malley may be a favorite of Pope Francis, but he is not a political man at all (doesn’t have sound bytes for the media on morning and late night shows like other prelates), he knows how to suffer for the Church (thankless jobs in both Palm Beach FL and Boston after the 2002 abuse scandals). He is a very humble man with a pure heart. I didn’t really ever think of O’Malley as having the credentials in theology for this post, but most importantly he is orthodox. I will gladly stick my neck out and vouch for him on that. O’Malley is a personal friend of my former pastor, who does NOT befriend heretics.

  16. Mike says:

    Muller was dead set against female deacons. He’s gone and a door will now open.

    [I suspect you don’t have psychic powers.]

  17. Thomistica says:

    I wonder if the Pope has privately signaled that the next CDF head, whoever it might be, will be expected to tow the line on Amoris Laetitia or whatever now simmers on the stove with respect to Humanae Vitae. Granted, we don’t know what *is* cooking on the latter, but it doesn’t look good at all.

    It would be extremely naive to assume that an “expectation”, at least about AL, has not been conveyed, in no uncertain terms.

    Re. picks for Muller’s replacement, this is from LSN: “Clarin suggested Muller would be replaced by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, known as a yes-man in Church circles.” Whether or not that is a fair assessment, it seems likely that the Pope will have carefully vetted the next CDF head for that person’s ability to tow the line on what Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame has called Francis’s “transformative papacy”.

    Transformative, indeed.

  18. kurtmasur says:

    Hmmmm…. The outcomes and scenarios can indeed be many:
    A) Could Francis decide to assign somebody like Burke as Prefect of the CDF? Sadly it’s wishful thinking at this point, but, you never know.

    B) Perhaps Francis might decide to assign somebody from the “peripheries” to the CDF (especially any of the newly formed cardinals)? Even Cupich? :-o

    C) Perhaps any one of the cardinals from his Group of 9 cardinal advisors? Could this be the reason why O’Malley *might* be considered for this if the rumor is true?

    D) What if Francis is simply waiting to see what happens to Cardinal Pell in Australia? If Pell doesn’t return, then he might reassign Cardinal Muller to Pell’s position as Secretariat for the Economy. If Pell does return, then Muller would then be reconfirmed for another 5 years at the CDF.

    E) Perhaps Francis would make Muller trade places with any diocesan (heretic) bishop in Germany, and thus assign Muller to diocesan ministry?

    St. John Paul II, pray for us.
    St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
    St. John Vianney, pray for us.
    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

  19. graytown says:

    Fr Z,

    I don’t see it discussed very often, but the more moves this Pontiff makes, the more it makes me think of CCC 675.
    Granted, my view of history is truncated, but this enabling of apostasy seems to grow with every passing day.

  20. Anneliese says:

    Ominous times. I’m embarrassed to say this but I don’t like the Pope. The Church isn’t meant to conform, it’s the members of the Church that are meant to be obedient.

  21. Norah says:

    Wasn’t it Cardinal O’Malley who, instead of answering the request for the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday, handballed the request to Rome and look what happened.

  22. Maynardus says:

    @ stuartal79 et emilio:

    O’Malley? He is the darling of ‘Crux’ and some of the MSM, but in my considered opinion (as a lifelong resident of the Archdiocese of Boston) he is a squish, the Mario Cuomo of archbishops: “Personally orthodox, but…” No. No, no, no, no no! Just NO!

    He’d probably make a decent Franciscan provincal but he seems wholly unfit for his current role: he doesn’t teach the Faith – at least not audibly or publicly; he is governed (by his curia) rather than governing; and he sure as heck isn’t sanctifying either the Faithful or the clergy with his timid and tepid leadership. It grieves me to say these things but I have reluctantly concluded that they are true. We have a saying around here when any hot-button issue arises: “Ssshh, don’t wake the Cardinal!”

    Sooner Kasper, at least people would be under no illusion about the man. Why people are so eager to fall in love with “His Humility” Sean Cardinal O’Malley is beyond me. If you knew some of the things that are going on in the Archdiocese of Boston these days they’d curl your hair! Again, I do not ascribe any heterodox positions to the man personally, but he is by all appearances easily led, and many of the folks doing the leading are of – let me put this charitably – somewhat questionable orthodoxy.

    Sorry to be so vehement, the news about Muller – actually, the “news” is about Pope Francis – has got me pretty antsy, but the thought of O’Malley in that post was enough to send shivers down my spine! And under this pontificate there is little or no chance that his potential successor in Boston would be a Burke or a Chaput – someone who would clean out the worst of the dissenters and time-servers and actually function as a bishop – but more likely someone even worse than him!

  23. AHCatholic says:

    If this isn’t a wakeup call to orthodox cardinals to get together in significant numbers and defend the faith, what is? People have criticized Muller for playing both sides, but if you look at his interviews, he was a generally a very effective communicator who chose his words extremely well, and didn’t avoid difficult questions or resort to name calling. In short, he was a skilled mediator between two warring factions. Now that the peacemaker is out, hopefully the gloves will really come off, and more bishops who know better and know that the faithful deserve better will stand up like Cardinal Burke and say that they don’t care if their title or position is taken away, because defending the faith is what is most important.
    Lest we not forget, the dubia is a huge embarrassment to the “mercy” program, and it is clear that the dubia cardinals are courageous and principled churchmen who could care less about power and prestige. Like Christ, they gnaw at the consciences of all who consider them to be the enemy. Sts John the Baptist, Thomas Becket, Thomas More and John Fisher, pray for us.


  25. Mike says:

    That’s funny, Fr Z, and of course I don’t so I shouldn’t have written so confidently. I do fear however that deaconesses may be part of the brief that lead to the Prefect’s replacement. I hope I’m wrong.

    [You are wrong. Don’t imagine that Archbp. Ladaria is in favor of that.]

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