Cardinal Müller has criticised the manner in which Pope Francis dismissed him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF), calling it “unacceptable”.
In an interview with German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, the cardinal said that on the last working day of his five-year term as a prefect of the Congregation for the faith, Pope Francis informed him “within a minute” of the decision not to extend his mandate.
“He did not give a reason,” the 69-year-old cardinal said. “Just as he gave no reason for dismissing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier.”
Cardinal Müller added: “I cannot accept this way of doing things. As a bishop, one cannot treat people in this way.”
“I have said this before – the Church’s social teaching must also be applied to the way employees are treated here in the Vatican.”
The cardinal added that he spoke to the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner about his dismissal in a telephone conversation just hours before his death.
“It moved and hurt him personally. He thought it would harm the Church,” Cardinal Müller said.
In their conversation, Cardinal Meisner also expressed concern over the current situation in the Church, especially “about the quarrelling, disputes and discussions which were standing in the way of church unity and the truth”.
Although doctrinally orthodox, Cardinal Müller refused to take sides in the issue over the dubia, suggesting instead that he mediate a meeting between Pope Francis and the three remaining cardinals.
“I would suggest that the Pope entrust me with the dialogue as I have the competence and the necessary sense of responsibility required. I could moderate the discussion between the Pope and the cardinals.”
However, he added he was not impressed with the revisionist attitudes of certain cardinals towards to issue of communion for divorced and remarried couples.
“I must stress with all due clarity that the attempts up to now by Cardinals Schönborn, Kasper and others to explain how we can achieve a balancing act between dogma, that is church teaching, and pastoral practice are simply not convincing.”