VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Italian media are reporting that Pope Francis dismissed three priests from the Congregation for the Doctrine (CDF) of the Faith over Christmas.
Vaticanista Marco Tosatti reported on December 26 that the Holy Father ordered Cdl. Gerhard Müller, head of the CDF, to fire three priests, without giving any explanation. Müller held off on the firings because he wanted a private audience with the Pope to understand the reasons why, as the priests were among his top staff.
[Cdl. Müller] was very perplexed, because they were good priests, and among the most professionally capable. He declined to obey, and asked the Pope for a private audience. He had to wait because the meeting was postponed several times. Finally he was received. He said, "Your Holiness, I received these letters, but I have not done anything, as these persons are among the best in the Congregation. What have they done?" The answer was: "I'm the pope, and I don't have to give reasons for any of my decisions. I've decided that they must go, and therefore they must go." He stood up, extending his hand, signaling that the meeting was over.
The article explains that two of the three priests left by the end of the year, going without understanding the reasons for their departure after having worked in the CDF for many years. The third seems to have been granted an extension.
According to Tosatti, one of the priests who left "freely expressed — perhaps too freely — his opinions on some of the Pope's decisions."
Apparently, a close friend of the Pope was within earshot, reported the priest's words to the Pope, who then contacted the priest, issued some stern words — and now the priest is gone from the CDF.
Tosatti concludes: "The clumsy attempt to send an investigative commission to look into a sovereign entity like the Order of Malta, independent of the Holy See ... and thus unable to be investigated by outside organizations, is another symptom of the autocratic atmosphere that has pervaded the Vatican."