Commenting in “Allgemeine Zeitung” on his removal as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, which took place on July 2 at the exact expiration of his five-year mandate, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller reported that Pope Francis “no longer intends to prolong roles in the curia beyond five years, and that he was the first one to whom this practice has been applied.”
That Müller’s removal is the first of this kind is beyond a doubt. So much so that in the days and months leading up to it other officials in the curia whose terms expired were kept in their positions by the pope. But it remains to be seen if in the future everyone will be removed at the end of their five years.
Francis loves to move with a great deal of freedom when it comes to the rules, which moreover include two age limits: 75, when a resignation letter is supposed to be sent to the pope, and the age of 80, when all curial positions are supposed to expire automatically.
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