Update, 5:25 a.m., July 1 — America has learned from informed sources that Pope Francis has not reconfirmed Cardinal Müller as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Luis Ladaria, a Spanish Jesuit who has been the number two official at the C.D.F., is the likely successor to Cardinal Müller. An official statement from the Vatican is expected to be released at noon in Rome.
Update, 6:45 a.m., July 1 — The Vatican statement has been released announcing Archbishop Ladaria's appointment.
Late Friday evening, as multiple news outlets were reporting that Pope Francis has not reconfirmed Cardinal Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the end of his five-year mandate, the Vatican remained silent.
The news was first reported by the blog Rorate Caeli, which has frequently criticized Pope Francis. Despite queries to the Vatican press office, neither a statement nor a denial has been issued, and church officials are uniformly refusing to comment.
Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Müller as head of the C.D.F. in 2012 for a period of five years. The 69-year-old German cardinal, who has remained close to the emeritus pope, was due for reconfirmation in that position on July 2 and had a meeting with Pope Francis on the morning of June 30.
Controversy over Cardinal Müller’s role at the C.D.F. has focused on the interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia.” America has learned that a number of cardinals had asked Francis to remove Cardinal Müller from that post because he had on a number of occasions publicly disagreed with or distanced himself from the pope’s positions, and they felt this was undermining the papal office and magisterium.
In an interview on May 12 with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, for example, Cardinal Müller reiterated his argument that Pope Francis’ post-synodal statement on the family does not open the door to receiving Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. This came after bishops’ conferences in Germany, Argentina and Malta issued guidelines on “Amoris” that allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the sacrament in certain situations.
“It is not good that the bishops’ conferences are making official interpretations of the pope,” Cardinal Müller said. “That is not Catholic. We have this document of the pope, and it must be read in the context of the complete Catholic tradition.”
Sources in Rome expect the Vatican to issue a statement soon, perhaps as early as Saturday.