Who’s next?

Cardinals Muller and Ezzati arrives for morning session of extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at Vatican

Three priests of Cardinal Mueller’s dicastery were summarily dismissed by Pope Francis, who subsequently refused to give his reasons for the action. When the Cardinal objected that arbitrary treatment of employees in this way went against catholic social teaching, he was apparently told, in no uncertain terms, that the Pope’s decisions are absolute.

Now, in an interview with Raymond Arroyo, Mueller has reiterated his belief that women deacons are an impossibility.

Pope Francis, however, promised an international meeting of women religious  – perhaps in a moment of inadvertent enthusiasm – that he would set up a commission to look into the possibility. As chairperson of the 12-person commission (six men, six women) Francis has chosen Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

With the secretary of his own department in charge of a theological commission apparently intended to reverse the conclusions of the International Theological Commission, set up under the auspices of the same Congregation less than twenty years ago, one cannot but wonder about Cardinal Mueller’s future.

How far does absolute authority extend?

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