Vatican City, Jul 12, 2017 / 09:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Gerhard Müller has strenuously denied media reports alleging Pope Francis asked the German prelate five pointed questions before informing him that his term as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not being renewed. The claims have been widely reported on social media.
Citing an unnamed German source, who in turn claims to have received the information from another person, the US-based news site One Peter Five and Italian Vaticanista Marco Tosatti have reported that Pope Francis, when meeting Cardinal Müller June 30, allegedly asked the then-prefect five questions about his views on a range of topics, including the introduction of a female diaconate and priesthood, the abolition of clerical continence, his stance regarding Amoris laetitia, and his stance on Francis sacking three members of staff in the congregation.
According to these reports, after hearing the German cardinal's answers, Francis then informed him his mandate was ending and left the room, leaving behind a patiently waiting Cardinal Müller, who was expecting the Holy Father to be retrieving a token of gratitude, until an embarrassed Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household, told the stumped cardinal that the meeting was in fact over.
Now Cardinal Müller has told Vaticanista Guido Horst that none of these claims are true. Writing in a guest editorial published at CNA Deutsch, Horst describes personally meeting the German clergyman the morning of July 11 in Rome. The journalist, chief correspondent of the "Tagespost" newspaper, describes showing a surprised cardinal a printout of the reports: Müller himself had not seen the reporting on the Internet (his secretary, who provides the 69-year-old with online access, is on leave).
The cardinal was "flabbergasted to read this description of his meeting with the Pope", Horst writes, quoting Cardinal Müller as stating: "This is incorrect". In fact, the whole meeting had run very differently Cardinal Müller asserted, and the claims made by the "anonymous German source" were quite false. The comments echo a brief email sent by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, to both One Peter Five and Marco Tosatti yesterday. In it, Burke states that the claimed "reconstruction is totally false" and requests that the story be updated.