NEW PREFECT for CDF: Archbp. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, SJ

Published on: Jul 1, 2017 @ 06:10 CDT (1119 UTC)

It seems that Arcbp. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, will be the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  He has been the Secretary of the same Congregation.

The Bolletino in Italian:  HERE

Conclusione del mandato quinquennale del Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede e nomina del successore

Il Santo Padre Francesco ha ringraziato l’Eminentissimo Signor Cardinale Gerhard Ludwig Müller alla conclusione del suo mandato quinquennale di Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede e di Presidente della Pontificia Commissione “Ecclesia Dei”, della Pontificia Commissione Biblica e della Commissione Teologica Internazionale, ed ha chiamato a succedergli nei medesimi incarichi Sua Eccellenza Reverendissima Monsignor Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.I., Arcivescovo titolare di Tibica, finora Segretario della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede.

Friends, this could have gone in an unthinkable direction, but it did not.  Frankly, I’m pleased with the appointment.   When I consider the other names that have been tossed about for this post… we have dodged a big one.

UPDATE: I am told that Card. Müller will not have another appointment in the Curia.  After all, once he has been the Prefect of the CDF, which has always been known as “La Suprema”, there is only demotion.  It is hard to imagine that he will go to Germany as a diocesan bishop.  There is a possibility that he’ll wind up, at only 69, as Patron of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher (which position is still at present filled).

However, if Card. Müller doesn’t have an appointment, and is effectively “retired”, then he is off the leash.

What is interesting is the timing of the announcement of the new Prefect.  Rather than make the announcement on Monday (which would make sense), it is made in advance, a virtual preemptive strike.   It could be that the powers-that-are rushed to get the news out because that feared that Card. Müller would go to the press (perhaps because that’s what they did/would have done).

Again, Card. Müller, without an appointment, is off the leash.

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  1. Chris Rawlings says:

    These days there isn’t much that is truly unthinkable. But, alas, this is a fine choice for an office that has been and will likely remain on the margins of this pontificate.

  2. Blaise says:

    Fr Ladaria (as he was then) taught me dogmatic theology at the Gregorian years ago. He we always seemed fairly sound. But then who am I to judge?

  3. Traductora says:

    Another Jesuit is not good news, but he seems pretty non-political and measured in his statements, and better educated than most of Francis’ appointments. He was part of the commission for the study of Limbo and also, less positively, is part of the commission for the study of the female diaconate. One Spanish source says that he is considered orthodox, but another Spanish theologian said that his position on Original Sin is “far from Catholic orthodoxy.” However, no details were given, and I don’t know the basis for that opinion.

    Certainly, it seems as if the appointment could have been a lot worse, but since he’s already been at the CDF, I would think it probably doesn’t represent much of a change at all.

  4. GordonB says:

    For thise interested in a very detailed profile:

    Sounds like a Jesuit version of Cardinal Ratzinger. It also sounds like he was involves in the theological discussions with SSPX in the early part of this decade.

  5. juergensen says:

    I’m very pleased that you’re pleased, Father.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    Go laterally, then forward. Getting rid of Muller was enough for one day’s work.
    These bones we get tossed are getting smaller and smaller.

  7. Hidden One says:

    Kathleen10, those who focus on looking for a negative interpretation of events rarely fail.

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    He was appointed into the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI.

    Of interest to his zedness :

    On 2 August 2016, he was named President of the Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, formed by Pope Francis to consider the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons.

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    The new Prefect is also experienced in the negociations between the Holy See and the SSPX.

  10. Traductora says:

    I wanted to add that Fr. Ladaria, judging from comments elsewhere, seems to be morally impeccable, hardly a common thing among Francis’ associates. So that’s a positive!

  11. spock says:

    Let’s see. The Holy Father is an SJ. The new Prefect of the CDF is also an SJ.

    This is not a violation of the Separation of Powers ? :)

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m wary of conspiracy theories, nevertheless there are two ideals or “currents” in Jesuitism somewhat at odds with each other — the sort that gives Jesuits a bad name, of the Fr Martin SJ feel-good happy-clappy variety ; and the more contemplative and ascetic sort, cleaving to orthodoxy. Our last two parish priests, one of whom is our Vicar General, are of this sort, and in my experience they are positively cleaved to the proper Sacrifice and reverence and Latinity of the Holy Mass, and quite warm as well to the TLM.

    That Monsignor Ferrer was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to be a lead negociator with the SSPX is encouraging.

  13. iPadre says:

    What I find interesting is that he is 73 years old. Seems like a temporary appointment. With all of Pope Francis’ talk of retirement, he may be setting everything up for his successor.

    [All appointments are “temporary”.]

  14. tdhaller says:

    Some German media (like the Papstgeflüster blog) claim that Müller was offered another Curial position, but that he turned it down and chose to retire instead. Looks like unconfirmed rumors, but he might not land anywhere else :/

  15. Andrew_81 says:

    Back in 2009 Ladaria (along with Archbishop Pozzo) was on the panel of discussions with the SSPX’s theological experts regarding doctrinal issues. If you harken back to those discussions and what was reported afterward it seemed it when they wrapped up in 2012 the verdict was a “we disagree, but agree to disagree” so “here’s a proposal for an agreement and structure that we can discuss and modify as necessary”. It was so modified to a point where an agreement seemed immanent, then was torpedoed when the modifications to the doctrinal declaration were removed there was a bait-and-switch. “Agree to disagree” became “you must accept the hermeneutic of continuity with all of Vatican II, even the parts you object to”. Things crumbled.

    Meanwhile in June 2012 that Archbishop Müller of Regensburg officially warned he would excommunicate SSPX members if they proceeded to ordain at Zaitzkofen. Soon after it was he who became CDF head. In the past 5 years there was always clearly a different message from Abp. Pozzo (who was on that discussion panel) and Müller. Pozzo always seemed suggest the SSPX would not have to accept all the points of controversy, Müller always seems to suggest the opposite, and a begrudging tolerance toward the SSPX.

    Müller is a disciple of Benedict XVI, particularly of the “Hermeneutic of Continuity”. For him this was the condition sine qua non to any agreement with the SSPX.

    Given that there has been recent suggestion that the SSPX would be recognized unilaterally or at least under much more benign terms than before, I have to wonder if Pope Francis saw Müller as an obstacle to this, and this was at least part of the reason for the change to someone still familiar with the SSPX, but less rigid.

    Clearly there’s far more than this minor point, and Amoris Lætitia must not be forgotten (Ladaria will not be nearly as vocal), but I wonder if smooting over the SSPX issues was not at least some small factor.

  16. They say there are two things God doesn’t know: How many Franciscans there are in the world and WHAT’S ON A JESUIT’S MIND…

  17. Imrahil says:

    That is the one silver lining about Cdl. Müller’s deposition, that it could certainly ease up SSPX negotiations. He does not like them and has repeatedly make clear that they must go well beyond what is needed to be a faithful Catholic for any regularization, in his opinion, and also that they should be punished afterwards. He could only imagine their bishops to serve as hospital chaplains, he once said, presumably offering Mass in the reformed Rite.

    Otherwise… doesn’t sound good.

    That said, someone said above that he was a liberal turned into a defender of orthodoxy by the CDF post. That’s not the case; if anything turned him, it was the post of diocesan bishop. Though even before he was a representant of much that is good in the Rahner-Lehmann-line of theology (there is such thing), with unquestionable Catholicity and only some, though not entirely Zero, questionable opinions. He drew press flak from the outside in Ratisbon, for interfering with the laity representations.

    I haven’t heard much about Abp. (Cdl-to-be?) Ladaria. That he is a Jesuit raises, these days, some suspicions (though obiter dicendum that doesn’t mean past diplomatic defeats of the Catholic Church were anything other than that); that Pope Benedict raised him to episcopacy for his work in the CDF rather averts it.

  18. Elizabeth D says:

    May God always bless Cardinal Muller whom I love for the personal reason that he looked at my book that I sent him and wanted (via his secretary… who is not the same person as the Secretary of the Congregation) to thank me for it and for my “obvious love for the religious life in the Church.” To me this was a tremendous kindness and so kindness is my impression of Cardinal Muller.

    Cardinal Muller has upheld the teaching of the Church but also upheld that Pope Francis has not threatened that teaching or contradicted it. I have never seen Cardinal Muller “oppose” Pope Francis; that is not the character of anything I have seen him ever say. Cardinal Muller has been Pope Francis’ good servant and God’s first and Pope Francis knows that. He has to know that, right? Yet the article headline in the BBC news is “Pope Francis replaces critical cardinal”–this is simply a false and unjust way of stating the matter. BBC tendentiously claims “Pope Francis has decided to replace a conservative cardinal who openly questioned the pontiff’s attempts to create a more inclusive church.” But they don’t cite any quotes of this alleged open questioning.

  19. jhayes says:

    Regarding the timing of the announcement, the America article says:

    Sources told America that the Vatican was scheduled to announce the change at the head of the C.D.F. on Monday, July 3, but after the audience with the pope, Cardinal Müller returned to the C.D.F. and informed his colleagues that he was no longer head of the congregation. That news was quickly passed to media close to the cardinal and became public some hours later. For this reason, the Vatican decided to make the announcement at noon today.

  20. Imrahil says:

    As for German dioceses, at the moment none of them is vacant (though the bishop of Mayence is not yet consecrated). And of Course, even if there was one free, you’d have to get one of the more important ones as befitting a cardinal.

  21. Rod Halvorsen says:

    The biggest problem with this appointment is that it was made by Jorge Bergoglio Pope Francis.

    We wait and see, but I am not optimistic.

  22. Chris Rawlings says:

    This is a great point. My sense has been that Cardinal Muller is being relieved of his office less because of anything having to do with Amoris Laetitia and more because of his pretty robust opposition to a generic reconciliation with the SSPX without real doctrinal concessions from the Society on the Second Vatican Council. Of course that’s just speculation, but Muller is a bigger problem for reconciliation with the SSPX than for whatever the Pope is up to with Amoris Laetitia (and I’m not sure anyone really knows what exactly he’s up to, anyway).

    [Remember… Popes come and go. With the coming and the going of Popes, Prefects come and go. Prefects serve at the pleasure of the reigning Pontiff. If the Pope wants an old Prefect, new Prefect or no Prefect, that’s all fine. Popes can have good reasons for a Prefect, bad reasons, or ambivalent reasons. Whatever.]

  23. Rich says:

    When Pope Francis was elected, some people in Brazil expressed their chagrin that Pope Francis would roll back progress on the wider celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, and Archbishop Ferrer assured these people that Pope Francis would not be interested in such. Archbishop Ferrer is also supportive of groups in Rio who promote celebration of the Extraordinary Form.

  24. Rich says:

    Never mind, people; I had him confused with somebody else. I actually know nothing about Archbishop Ferrer.

  25. Kathleen10 says:

    One wonders what the townspeople said to each other when they viewed the enemy approaching as teeming hordes flooding over yonder hills.
    My guess is they maintained positivity. It’s a survival instinct perhaps, deny the obvious or downplay it. Find that positive spin. Well, that’s fine if it works for you. I need to do it myself at times.
    If we haven’t learned by now that every single move is designed to crush the faith and preferably us at the same time, then we are in intractable denial and ultimately it’s not going to help. My only comfort is God is still in control and will remain so. I have zero hope for good out of this Vatican or it’s inhabitants.
    This man, even in still photos, appears like a gentle soul, and I’ve read he is. Getting him to do his bidding? Easy peasy I bet.

  26. Ave Crux says:

    I am concerned because of statements I see at the link below.

    Also, it’s clear we need someone at the head of the CDF who will speak out clearly – with courage! – against the errors in AL and the utter confusion regarding the Sacraments and sexual morality which are razing the Church’s moral edifice at its very foundations.

    Archbishop Ladaria is even less likely to confront the now universal confusion in the Church with regard to Her moral teaching than Cardinal Mueller, who only did so “obliquely” and still got dismissed for doing so.

    I’m afraid we haven’t dodged a bullet at all. We’ve just gotten another shade of modernism and obfuscation to replace the existing one, and the Frog continues to boil until it’s well-cooked.

    We need to be realistic….Rose-colored optimism just allows the process to continue unchecked by those who are morally bound decry it – as all Catholics who are members of the Church Militant ought to.

  27. Michael says:

    Perhaps I just don’t have the historical context for it, but I can’t recall any time during the reigns of St. John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI that qualified, young Cardinals like Burke, Muller, etc. were repeatedly shunted out of the Curia, out of diocesan posts, essentially out of any position of power or influence. In fact, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI maintained rogue bishops, archbishops, and cardinals in their positions despite every reason under the sun to depose them. (While I disagree with their choice, I do not mean to criticize, but rather to demonstrate their remarkable tolerance.) And yet here you have cardinal after cardinal shunted to the side, and there seems to be only one common thread: orthodoxy. It is disheartening.

  28. kurtmasur says:

    Michael said: “In fact, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI maintained rogue bishops, archbishops, and cardinals in their positions despite every reason under the sun to depose them. ”

    Well, to be fair, Pope Benedict did not reappoint Archbishop Piero Marini for another 5 year term as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations. Instead, he put in Mons. Guido Marini in his place (in 2007). I know, this is not the same as a “prefect” appointment, but still.

    But speaking of which, it is 2017…. If I’m not mistaken, Mons. Marini’s current appointment should come up for renewal on 1 October. Should we be worried? :-o

  29. gatormom says:

    There’s really no such thing as being on the leash though, is there? We all answer to a higher authority and He makes us off the leash.

  30. KAS says:

    “Off the leash…” Perhaps a seminary will snatch him up to teach. :)

  31. tgarcia2 says:


    “off the leash” is a phrase used to signify that he (in this instance) is no longer bound to not speak their mind, without fear of reprisal, etc.

    In this case, Cardinal Muller is free to speak his mind, write books, articles, as a Prince of the Church (which they are still known as) not as the head of the CDF or any other congregation.

  32. Philmont237 says:

    “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Er, among our chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and near fanatical devotion to the Pope.”

  33. Praynfast says:

    Pope Francis makes up his own doctrine, based mainly but not solely on these two (gravely evil) paraphrased principles: 1) “no one can be condemned forever”/everyone goes to heaven and 2) “everything that I (Pope Francis) say and do, including my (Pope Francis’s) sin is from the Holy Spirit, otherwise it would not happen”/”everything that I (Pope Francis) do, including sin, is God’s will”.

    Folks, Pope Francis is causing people to sin due to his grave evils. He is leading people to hell and if those brothers entrusted with his “keeping” do not interject, Pope Francis will end up in hell too. He continues in grave sin, confirms others in sin, and refuses to oppose others (Cupich, Farrell, the bad Tobin, Paglia, Toucho, Kasper, etc.) who do the same.

    The orthodoxy of the CDF Head is likely just another one of his “head fakes”, deceptions, and diversions. If Pope Francis cared about doctrine, he would have read paragraph 80 of Universi Dominici Gregis and admitted that his election was in violation of said paragraph, thus nullifying said election as well as each and every one of his actions thereafter.

    The irony is, as others have written, it appears as though there should be, of all things, a declaration of nullity to the papal election due to Cardinal Mccarrick’s tacit admittance of allowing a secular authority to exercise influence on the election of the pope.

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  35. JabbaPapa says:

    Philmont237 :

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Er, among our chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and near fanatical devotion to the Pope.

    See :

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