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Phil Lawler

Opinion

Pope dismissed conservative doctrine chief over ‘term limits’? Yeah right

Phil Lawler

July 11, 2017 (Catholic Culture) — Cardinal Gerhard Müller is understandably unhappy with the way he was dismissed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But he insists that he has never been, and will never be, a critic of Pope Francis. He has repeated the official explanation for his removal: that the Pope made a decision that officials of the Roman Curia should serve only one five-year term, and “I happened to be the first one to which this applied.

Sandro Magister, the veteran Vatican-watcher for L’Espresso, is more skeptical about that explanation — and, frankly, more persuasive. Magister points out that in February, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio completed his second five-year term as president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; the Pope did not replace him. In June, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri completed his second five-year term as prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches; he’s still there. Also in June, Archbishop Arthur Roche wrapped up a five-year term as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship; and Archbishop Augustine DiNoia finished his five years as vice president of the Ecclesia Dei commission; they’re both still in place.

So it seems that Pope Francis devised his new policy just in time to apply it to Cardinal Müller. Which could be a coincidence.

Now, Magister remarks, we’ll need to wait just a few weeks to see whether the new policy is applied equally to notable allies of the Pontiff, for example Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, whose five-year term as dean of the Roman Rota ends in September.

(In case you were wondering, Cardinal Robert Sarah’s current term as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship won’t end until November 2019.)

Reprinted with permission from Catholic Culture.

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