Pope Francis Axes Conservative Cardinal Who Disagreed with Him on ‘Sinners’

Pope Francis has replaced Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Vatican’s chief of doctrine, amid apparent disagreements over the handling of reforms and a series of sexual abuse scandals. Instead of being renewed for his role as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after his five-year posting ends this weekend, the Vatican announced Saturday that Mueller will be replaced by a Spanish Archibishop. The move comes after the German conservative questioned the pope’s stance on certain reform issues, including taking a softer line on groups the church views as “sinners.” Mueller had also come under fire recently for his office’s handling of several sexual abuse claims, with allegations that the department refused to cooperate with a commission set up to protect children from predators in the church. Mueller will be replaced by Monsignor Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, the second-in-command of the church’s doctrinal watchdog.