New head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the FaithFriday, July 6th, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and leader of three other important commissions.
Bishop Muller, whom the Pope elevated to archbishop, will also head the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which oversees Catholics who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
He will succeed the American Cardinal William Levada, who submitted his resignation at the age of 75.
Bishop Muller was born in Mainz-Finthen in 1947, was ordained a priest in 1978, and served as a chaplain and as a religion education teacher in secondary schools, according to the diocese of Regensburg. He earned his doctorate in 1977 under Fr Karl Lehmann, who later became Bishop of Mainz and a cardinal.
The future Archbishop Muller’s doctorate concerned the Church, the Sacraments and the thought of German Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He became Professor of Catholic Dogmatics at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich in 1986, becoming one of the university’s youngest professors and publishing over 400 academic works.
He was named Bishop of Regensburg in 2002. His pastoral initiatives include an effort to re-evangelise the diocese. He worked with the German Bishops’ Conference on ecumenical relations and on international development issues. He helped resume theological dialogue between the German bishops and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch.
He was the Catholic head of the International Lutheran/Roman Catholic Commission on Unity.
In 2006, he hosted Pope Benedict’s visit to Regensburg. The 64-year-old new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was involved in collecting Pope Benedict’s writings.
In 2008, he established the Pope Benedict XVI Institute to help publish the Pope’s collected works and to examine the contexts in which they were written. Now, as he takes on his new job, the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith regains a German flavour as Pope Benedict held the same position under Pope John Paul II.
by Ann Marie Foley