Today’s Vatican bulletin has only two items dated for today, both attention-grabbers.
The first is that Cardinal Levada has retired as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. With this announcement comes the naming of his successor: Bishop Gerhard Müller of Regensburg, who is simultaneously elevated to archbishop. This appointment will not please some traditionalists, who have painted Archbishop Müller as a disciple of liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez and seen heresy in some of his statements about such topics as the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Real Presence and the nature of the Church. I suspect it will be necessary to read the quoted statements in their fuller context to do them justice. Moreover, it seems unlikely that Pope Benedict would appoint a heretic as the chief guardian of doctrinal integrity. Being a fellow German the new prefect will be well-known to the Pope. Perhaps it was to allay some of the fears being whipped up in traditionalist circles that the Pope recently appointed American Dominican Archbishop Augustine Di Noia to the Eccelsia Dei Commission that is central to the discussions with the SSPX mentioned on other posts here.
The second item is that 52-year old Redemptorist Archbishop Róbert Bezák of Trnava in Slovakia has been removed from his diocese by the Holy Father, only 3 years after he was appointed to it. The Pope seems not to be slackening in his project of cleaning house with regard to the episcopacy. As usual, no reason was given for his removal in the announcement. It follows in the wake of an apostolic visitation of the diocese in January this year, and the main issue seems yet again to be money, as with Bishop Francesco Miccichè of Trapani, dismissed this past May. No doubt more details will be forthcoming in the next day or two.