The pope wants the church to focus on mercyPope Francis took the decision to replace Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller , a German, with Jesuit Luis Ladaria Ferrer, a Spaniard, as the prefect of Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith. The outgoing chief theologian was at odds with the pope as the latter tried to open the Catholic church to “imperfect” Catholics like divorced ones.
In contrast, Archbishop Ferrer is known to be more aligned with the pope in his views. According to priests who know him, the Spaniard is a meek individual and has no indication to be at odds with the pontiff. The Vatican announced the change two days post another high-ranked Vatican official, Cardinal George Pell of Australia was asked to take a leave of absence. Cardinal Pell, who was entrusted as a treasurer, was sent back to face historical sex offenses charges in his home country.
The post of Prefect of Doctrinal Congregation is held responsible for the promotion of correct Catholic doctrine interpretation along with the theology of the church. The office is also entrusted with investigations of any clergy accused of abusing minors. These include sexual abuse as well.
Cardinal Muller's term was not renewed as he had insisted that civil remarried Catholics and divorced ones should not receive any Communion. This can be changed only of the affected individuals committed to abstaining from any kind of sexual relations with the new partners.
Pope Francis, from the time of his 2013 election, has been a champion of progressives. The latter wants him to implement his vision of an inclusive church. This church should focus on mercy. The church should not dwell on strict enforcement of the rigid rules which are viewed as out of sync with the modern world. Miller was one of the few Cardinals who did not hesitate to fight the pontiff. In 2015, the German was one among 13 cardinals who gave his signature to a letter addressed to the pope. In this letter, the 13 cardinals complained that the bishops meeting on family values were weighted to favor liberals.
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Muller has also criticized a few parts of Amoris Laetitia, a papal treatise written in 2016. This was a cornerstone document written by Pope Francis in his attempt to make 1.2 billion strong members much more inclusive. The pontiff has taken the side of progressives who had earlier proposed a kind of “internal forum.” This forum will enable the bishop or priest to take a decision jointly with an individual on a case by case basis.