Pope Names German to orthodoxy post
The Wall Street Journal
July 2 2012, 4.51pm ET
Link to Original
ROME—Pope Benedict XVI on Monday tapped German bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller to head the Vatican’s office in charge of doctrinal affairs, placing a respected theologian at the helm of one of Roman Catholicism’s most powerful posts.
The appointment comes at a delicate time for the Vatican. Bishop Mueller, 64, succeeds retiring U.S. Cardinal William Joseph Levada as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the formal name of the Holy See’s doctrinal office. Cardinal Levada, 76, presided over a turbulent period in church history as the Vatican struggled to overcome controversies ranging from tensions with dissident movements to the long-running child-abuse scandal.
Bishop Mueller cut his teeth in the world of academia, following a path very similar to the pope. He is the bishop of Regensburg, Germany, the same city where Pope Benedict taught theology in the 1960s as the then-Rev. Joseph Ratzinger.
Like the pope, Bishop Mueller has distinguished himself in theological circles. A prolific writer, Bishop Mueller has published a wide array of works, and he is the editor Opera Omnia, a collection of the pope’s theological writings.
For years Bishop Mueller has maintained close ties with the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, a major proponent of liberation theology, traveling to Peru to attend the priest’s seminars. As a cardinal, the Pope Benedict reined in liberation theologians for espousing teachings that the Vatican considered influenced by Marxism.
In his new post, Bishop Mueller takes over an office founded during the Renaissance to carry out the Roman Inquisition. Today, the Congregation for the Faith is spearheading the Vatican’s response to some of the most sensitive issues facing the Catholic Church. In Europe, the office in involved in efforts to bring the breakaway traditionalist group Society of St. Pius X back into the Catholic fold.
Bishop Mueller will also oversee the Vatican’s controversial effort to overhaul an umbrella group of nuns in the U.S. He will also continue to lead the Catholic Church’s worldwide efforts to crack down on sexual abuse.
Due to the importance of his new post, the prelate is likely to be promoted to the rank of cardinal in the future. In a statement announcing the appointment, the Vatican said Pope Benedict was elevating the prelate to the rank of archbishop.
Cardinal Levada, who is retiring due to age, kept a low profile at the Vatican. The cardinal drew upon his experience running dioceses in San Francisco and Portland to overhaul the Vatican’s approach to handling allegations of sexual abuse by priests, requiring local dioceses to report all credible cases to his office for review and defrocking offending priests.