Pope replaces conservative doctrinal chief in Vatican shake-up

VATICAN CITY • In a shake-up of the Vatican's administration, Pope Francis yesterday replaced Catholicism's top theologian, a conservative German cardinal who has been at odds with the pontiff's vision of a more inclusive Church.

A brief Vatican statement said Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller's five-year mandate as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a key department charged with defending Catholic doctrine, would not be renewed.

Cardinal Mueller, 69, who was appointed in 2012 by the former pontiff, Pope Benedict, will be succeeded by the department's No. 2, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer.

Bishop Ladaria, a 73-year-old Spaniard who, like the Argentine Pope is a member of the Jesuit order, is said by those who know him to be a soft-spoken person who shuns the limelight.

Cardinal Mueller, by contrast, often appears in the media.

The cardinal had clashed with the Pope over key reform issues.

He was one of several cardinals who questioned the Pope's determination for the Catholic Church to take a softer line on people traditionally seen as "sinners", including remarried divorced people who want to take communion.

The cardinal had also been caught up in the controversy surrounding the Church's response to the clerical sex abuse scandal after his department was accused of obstructing the Pope's efforts to stop internal cover-ups of abuse.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 02, 2017, with the headline 'Pope replaces conservative doctrinal chief in Vatican shake-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe