Gerhard Ludwig Müller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
His Eminence
Gerhard Ludwig Müller, OESSH
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller
Church Sant'Agnese in Agone
Appointed 2 July 2012
Predecessor William Joseph Cardinal Levada
Other posts
Ordination 11 February 1978
by Cardinal Hermann Volk
Consecration 24 November 2002
by Friedrich Wetter
Created Cardinal 22 February 2014
by Pope Francis
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Born (1947-12-31) 31 December 1947 (age 69)
Mainz, Germany
Nationality German
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Previous post Bishop of Regensburg (2002-12)
Motto Dominus Jesus
(English: Jesus the Lord, Romans, 10: 9)[1]
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Gerhard Ludwig Müller
Coat of arms of Gerhard Ludwig Müller.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Gerhard Ludwig Müller[pronunciation?], born on 31 December 1947, is a German Cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 2 July 2012. He was elevated to the Cardinalate in the Papal consistory of 22 February 2014.[2]

Early life[edit]

Gerhard Ludwig Müller was born in Finthen, a borough of Mainz, then in West Germany. After graduating from Willigis Episcopal High School in Mainz, he studied philosophy and theology in Mainz, Munich, and Freiburg, Germany. In 1977, he received his Doctorate of Divinity under Cardinal Karl Lehmann for his thesis on the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Priestly ministry[edit]

Müller was ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz, Germany on 11 February 1978, shortly after his thirtieth birthday, by Cardinal Hermann Volk.[3] After his presbyteral ordination, he served as a chaplain of 3 parishes. In 1986, Father Müller was summoned to be the Chair of dogmatic theology of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, where he remains an honorary professor.[4]


Pope St. John Paul II appointed him as Bishop of Regensburg, Germany on 1 October 2002.[3] He was ordained to the Episcopacy on 24 November 2002, with Cardinal Friedrich Wetter serving as the Principal Consecrator; his Principal Co-Consecrators included Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Bishop Vinzenz Guggenberger, and Bishop Emeritus of Regensburg Manfred Müller. Müller elected "Dominus Iesus" ("Jesus is Lord") as his episcopal motto, which is derived from Romans, 10: 9.

On 20 December 2007, Pope Benedict XVI reappointed Bishop Müller for another 5 years as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On 17 January 2009, he was also appointed as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.[5] On 12 June 2012, Bishop Müller was appointed as a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education for a renewable term of 5 years[6] and was also appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

In the Conference of German Bishops, Bishop Müller was Chairman of the Ecumenical Commission, Deputy Chairman of the Commission of the Doctrine of the Faith, and a member of the World Church Commission. He was also Vice Chairman of the Association of Christian Churches in Germany (ACK) and the first President of the Society for the Promotion of Eastern Church Institute in Regensburg, Germany.

As a personal friend of Pope Benedict XVI, he was mandated to prepare the publication of the Opera Omnia, id est, a series of books that will collect in a single edition all of Pope Benedict's writings.[7] Cardinal Müller has written more than 400 works on dogmatic theology, ecumenism, revelation, hermeneutics, the Presbyteracy, and the Diaconate.[citation needed]

Service in the Roman Curia[edit]

Appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[edit]

On 2 July 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Müller as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and simultaneously was appointed as an archbishop ad personam. Consequently, he became and remains ex officio the President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission, and the Pontifical Commission ''Ecclesia Dei''.[citation needed]

Bishop Müller succeeded Cardinal William J. Levada, who was appointed by the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI in May 2005. Müller was informed of the decision of Pope Benedict on 16 May at the Vatican. He stressed the need for ecclesiastical unity and intends to halt the "growing polarization between traditionalists and progressives [which] is threatening the unity of the Church and generating strong tensions among its members".[8] He continued by commenting on "traditionalists against progressives or whatever you would call them. This must be overcome[;] we need to find a new and fundamental unity in the Church and individual countries. Unity in Christ, not a unity produced according to a program and later invoked by a partisan speaker. We are not a community of people aligned to a party program, or a community of scientific research[;] our unity is gifted to us. We believe in the one Church united in Christ." He was received for the first time for the usual Friday meeting on 21 September 2012. On 24 November 2012 he was appointed as a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.[9] In November 2012, Bishop Müller said that traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as breaking with the truth both espouse a "heretical interpretation" of the Council and its objectives. What Pope Benedict XVI had described as "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" is, for Müller, the "only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology."[10] On 6 December 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rudolf Voderholzer as the Bishop of Regensburg to fill the vacancy that Müller left.[11]

On 19 February 2014, Bishop Müller was appointed as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.[citation needed]

Doctrinal opinion on Protestant communities[edit]

In a speech in October 2011, while quoting Unitatis Redintegratio of the Second Vatican Council regarding ecumenism, Bishop Müller stated that "the Catholic Magisterium is far from denying an ecclesial character or an ecclesial existence to 'the separated Churches and ecclesial Communities of the West'."[12]

Investigation of the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious[edit]

A controversial investigation of many years that Bishop Müller and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith initiated in 2012 of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was terminated by the Apostolic See in April 2015. J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle was appointed to work with the Conference.[13] The investigation embittered many American Catholics "against what they perceive as heavy-handed tactics by Rome against U.S. sisters who provide critical health care, education and other services for the poor."[14] While Pope Francis reaffirmed the canonical investigation and the member congregations of the Conference were ordered to review their statutes and reassess their plans and programs,[15] the Apostolic See in its conclusion was effusive in its praise of the work of the sisters.[16]

Interview of 25 July 2012[edit]

On 25 July 2012, in an interview[17] with L'Osservatore Romano, Bishop Müller was asked for his initial impressions in working in the Roman Curia. He stated that "as a member [of the CDF] I studied the documents prepared by the Congregation and participated in the consultations. Now, instead, I must carry out and guide the work every day with those who work in the dicastery, preparing and acting on the decisions correctly. I am grateful to the Holy Father for having given me his trust and for having entrusted this task to me." Speaking of his upbringing, he said that "for almost 40 years my father was a simple worker of Opel at Russelsheim. We lived close by, at Mainz-Finthen, a small locality founded by the Romans and still today there are ruins of an aqueduct built by them. From this point of view, our fundamental stamp is Roman." Regarding his leadership of the CDF, Müller said that "the Church is first of all a community of faith; hence the revealed faith is the most important good, which we must transmit, proclaim and protect. Jesus entrusted to Peter and to his Successors the universal magisterium, and it is this that the dicastery must serve. Hence the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the responsibility for what concerns the whole Church in profundity: the faith that leads us to salvation and to communion with God and among ourselves."[18]

When questioned about liberation theology, Bishop Müller stated that "I believe that every good theology has to do with the freedom and glory of the children of God. However, certainly a mixture of the doctrine of Marxist self-redemption with the salvation given by God must be rejected. On the other hand we must ask ourselves sincerely: How can we speak of the love and mercy of God in face of the suffering of so many people who don't have food, water, health care, who don't know how to offer a future to their children, where human dignity is truly lacking, where human rights are ignored by the powerful? In the last analysis this is possible only if we are also willing to be with the people, to accept them as brothers and sisters, without paternalism from on high."[18]

Interview of 2013[edit]

In an interview with Die Welt, Bishop Müller addressed the growing criticism the Church has received both in Europe and America for its mishandling of clerical sexual abuse cases and its continued condemnation of contraception, homosexual pseudo "marriage", and declared incapacity to ordain women. Bishop Müller stated that the attacks on the Church recycle arguments of the Communists and Nazis against Christianity. He likened their attacks to pogroms against Jews.[19]


On 22 February 2014, Pope Francis elevated him as Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Agnese in Agone.

Cardinal Müller has been considered to be papabile, that is, a possible candidate for the Papacy.[20][21][22]

Interview of 2014[edit]

In an interview by the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Cardinal Müller said that Pope Francis “is not so much a liberation theologian in the academic sense, but as far as pastoral work is concerned, he has close ties with liberation theology’s concerns. What we can learn from him is the insight that there is no pastoral work without profound theology and vice versa.” In the 1980s, the CDF under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger attacked liberation theology as borrowing "from various currents of Marxist thought." But during a visit to Peru in 1988, then-professor Müller discussed it with his friend and teacher Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP, regarded as the “father” of Latin American liberation theology, who convinced him of its orthodoxy. “Liberation theology wants to make God’s liberating actions visible in the Church’s religious and social practice... . It would stop being genuine theology if it were to confuse the Christian message with Marxist or other social analysis,” he explained. Müller further stated that "the theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez, independently of how you look at it, is orthodox because it is orthopractic and it teaches us the correct way of acting in a Christian fashion since it comes from true faith." While the Apostolic See did not censor Gustavo Gutiérrez, he was asked to modify some of his writings.[7] In response to the inquiry of FAZ whether liberation theology was meanwhile recognised as a theory of equal standing with traditional forms of theology, Cardinal Müller explained that liberation theology’s primary concern was congruent with the Gospel for the Poor, i. e., “for those on the periphery”, to borrow the terminology that Pope Francis has repeatedly used.[23]

Critique of secularism[edit]

In November 2014, Cardinal Müller stated that bishops have been "blinded by secularized society" and are being pulled away from the doctrine of the Church. He said that "unfortunately, representatives of the Church, including bishops," have been so influenced by secular society that they have been "pulled far from the central question of the faith and the teachings of the Church." He blamed the media, international organisations, and various governments for the growing crisis in the Church, claiming that they had been "sowing confusion in people's minds." Müller said that "in many countries, relationships are destroyed, and this also applies to the Christian model of marriage and family. The truth of marriage and the family is relativized."[24]

Theory of Papal theological architecture[edit]

In an interview with La Croix in 2015, here translated into English, Cardinal Müller suggested a new work for the CDF of "theological architecture". The Cardinal was asked how he viewed his work under Pope Francis, especially given that Pope Benedict XVI was a professional theologian and Pope Francis is not. "The arrival of a theologian like Benedict XVI in the chair of St. Peter was no doubt an exception," Müller replied. "But John XXIII was not a professional theologian. Pope Francis is also more pastoral and our mission at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to provide the theological structure of a pontificate."[25]

Critique of doctrinal mutability[edit]

Cardinal Müller has defended the immutability of Catholic doctrine from the attempt to adapt it to contemporary lifestyles, which attempt might be described as aggiornamento. He stated that such an approach introduces subjectivism and arbitrariness. In an interview with Die Tagespost, he claimed that placing lived realities on the same level as Sacred Scripture and Catholic Tradition is nothing more than the introduction of subjectivism and arbitrariness, wrapped up in sentimental and smug religious terminology. His comments have been interpreted as criticism of the "shadow council" when bishops and experts from Germany, France, and Switzerland met in Rome to discuss how the Church could adapt its pastoral approach to contemporary culture, especially contemporary opinions of human sexuality.[26]

Comments on Amoris Laetitia[edit]

Following the publication of the post-synodal Apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia of Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller stated that the Pope did not need to be corrected for false doctrine. Interviewed on 9 January 2017, Cardinal Müller said that Amoris Laetitia was "very clear" in its teaching. Müller said that Pope Francis asks priests “to discern the situation of these persons living in an irregular union— that is, not in accordance with the doctrine of the church on marriage— and asks for help for these people to find a path for a new integration into the church according to the condition of the sacraments [and] the Christian message on matrimony.” The Cardinal stated that in Amoris Laetitia he “do[es] not see any opposition: On one side we have the clear doctrine on matrimony, and on the other the obligation of the church to care for these people in difficulty.”[27] However, in a second interview, Cardinal Müller was asked whether the teaching reaffirmed in Familiaris Consortio of Pope St. John Paul II, which linked the Holy Eucharist to marriage, remains valid. Pope St. John Paul II stated that the divorced and civilly remarried were proscribed from the reception of Holy Communion, except possibly when they determine to live "in complete continence". Cardinal Müller said of this condition that, “of course, it is not dispensable, because it is not only a positive law of John Paul II, but he expressed an essential element of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments.” Cardinal Müller also stated that “Amoris Laetitia must clearly be interpreted in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church.” He has further stated that “I don’t like it[;] it is not right that so many bishops are interpreting Amoris Laetitia according to their way of understanding the Pope’s teaching. This does not keep to the line of Catholic doctrine.”[28]

Allegation of hiding sexual abuse by other clerics[edit]

Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests criticized Müller for reinstating Rev. Peter Kramer in parochial ministry after the latter was convicted in 2000 of crimes of sexually abusing children. Müller apologized for mishandling the case.[29]

In 2016, Fritz Wallner, a former chair of the lay diocesan council in Regensburg, Germany, alleged in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit that Müller "systematically" thwarted the investigation of abuse in the "Regensburger Domspatzen" boys' choir while he was Bishop of Regensburg. Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI, led the choir from 1964 to 1994. Müller insisted that neither the Church nor its bishops were responsible for abusers. In February 2012, he told the news agency DPA that "if a schoolteacher abuses a child, it is not the school nor the Ministry of Education that are to blame." Rather, he maintained, only the perpetrator is guilty.[30] In 2016, a commission of 12 members was instituted to address the history of abuse and its cover-up in the boys' choir, which critics viewed as a long-overdue effort by the Church to address a scandal that had been very troublesome to the Apostlic See in the last decade because it was associated with the brother of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Fritz Wallner called for the Church to purge any person associated with Müller, who oversaw the handling of the allegations.[31]

Cardinal Müller is further being civilly sued in France for his supervision during a case of cover-up of abuse that primarily involved the Archbishop of Lyon, France, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.[32]





See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "List of New Cardinals Named by Pope Francis". 12 January 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Gerhard Ludwig Müller on the site of the Diocese of Regensburg.
  5. ^ RINUNCE E NOMINE, 17 January 2009[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ a b Vatican Insider: "A Liberation Theologian in the Holy Office?" 15 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Vatican Radio Vatican Radio". Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ ""CNS STORY: Reading Vatican II as Break with Tradition Is Heresy, Prefect says"". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Speech by Bishop Müller (in German)" (PDF). Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Bauman, Michelle. "Archbishop Sartain Stresses Dedication to Addressing Religious Sisters' Issues", Catholic News Agency, 1 June 2012
  14. ^ Gerhard Ludwig Mueller Tapped by Pope to Head Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Huffington Post, 2 July 2015
  15. ^ "US Catholic Nuns Criticised in Vatican Report on LCWR", BBC News, 15 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Concludes Mandate Regarding LCWR". Silver Spring, Maryland, USA: Leadership Conference of Women Religious. 2015-04-13. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-24. 
  17. ^ "New Vatican Doctrinal Chief Talks about SSPX, LCWR Discussions". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Archbishop Müller on Faith, the Curia and His Own Upbringing". 2012-07-25. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Archbishop Gerhard Mueller: Critics Waging 'Pogrom' against Church, The Huffington Post, 2 February 2013.
  20. ^ Filip Mazurczak (31 August 2014). "Cardinal Müller: A Great Catholic Leader — The Catholic Thing". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "L'integerrimo cardinale Müller sarà il prossimo papa? | Cristianesimo Cattolico". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "The Next Pope – Twelve Cardinals to Watch". 21 January 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "CDF Head: Pope Francis Has Close Ties with Liberation Theology Movement Called into Question by John Paul II", The Tablet, UK 
  24. ^ "Vatican's Müller: Bishops Being 'Blinded' by Secularism". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "Cardinal Müller discovers new role for CDF under Francis.". Commonweal Magazine. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  26. ^ [3]
  27. ^ [4]
  28. ^ Cardinal Müller: Communion for the Remarried Is against God’s Law
  29. ^ Gerhard Ludwig Mueller Tapped by Pope to Head Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Huffington Post, 2 July 2012.
  30. ^ Former Diocesan Leader Alleges Muller Thwarted Investigation of Choir Boy Abuse, National Catholic Reporter, 29 January 2016.
  31. ^ Church Confronts Abuse Scandal at a Famed German Choir, New York Times, 6 February 2016.
  32. ^ Liberation, 4 March 2016
  33. ^ Gerhard Ludwig Müller

External Links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Manfred Müller
Bishop of Regensburg
1 October 2002 – 2 July 2012
Succeeded by
Rudolf Voderholzer
Preceded by
William Cardinal Levada
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
2 July 2012 – present
President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
2 July 2012–present
Preceded by
Lorenzo Antonetti
Cardinal Deacon of Sant'Agnese in Agone
22 February 2014-present