Cardinal Gerhard Müller has criticised the way in which Pope Francis dismissed him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), calling it “unacceptable”.

In an interview with the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, the cardinal said that on the last working day of his five-year term as prefect Pope Francis informed him “within a minute” of the decision not to extend his mandate.

“He did not give a reason,” the 69-year-old cardinal said. “Just as he gave no reason for dismissing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier.”

He added: “I cannot accept this way of doing things. As a bishop, one cannot treat people in this way.

“I have said this before – the Church’s social teaching must also be applied to the way employees are treated here in the Vatican.”

The cardinal said that he spoke to the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner about his dismissal by telephone just hours before his death. “It moved and hurt him personally. He thought it would harm the Church,” Cardinal Müller said.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection