Pope Francis may be about to dismiss Vatican’s doctrinal chief

Religion News Service

By Josephine McKenna

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis may be about to dismiss his enforcer of orthodoxy, one of the most powerful cardinals at the Vatican, according to unconfirmed media reports.

The Italian Catholic website Corrispondenza Romana reported Friday (June 30) that Francis would not renew the term of Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, a conservative German cardinal who heads the powerful department responsible for church doctrine.

Mueller’s five-year term as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was due to expire on Sunday. He is 69, which is six years short of the normal retirement age of bishops. Under normal circumstances, his five-year contract would be renewed.

If the reports are correct, Mueller’s ouster would cap one of the most tumultuous weeks at the Vatican since the election of Pope Francis in 2013.

On Thursday, Cardinal George Pell announced he would take a leave of absence as Vatican finance chief to face charges he sexually abused boys while a young priest in Australia.

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