Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, a conservative theologian, is nearing the end of his five year mandate as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the department supposed to defend the Catholic doctrine. The Vatican has released a brief statement that Müller’s mandate will not be renewed, and instead, his deputy, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, who is more liberal.
Cardinal Müller, who was appointed by Pope Benedict, has opposed some of Pope Francis’ attempts to make the Catholic church more inclusive. In particular, he has objected to the idea that members of the church who have divorced and remarried without an annulment could receive communion. This is currently not allowed, as in those cases, the Catholic church views the first marriage as still valid, and the divorced person to be committing adultery with their new spouse. The Pope said in a papal treatis, “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love), that it should be decided by a priest or bishop on a case by case basis.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is a major department, and the head of the department is a close adviser to the Pope. Archbishop Ferrer is more liberal than the cardinal, and may be more amenable to the Pope’s push to make the Catholic church more inclusive.