German Theologian Will Head Doctrinal Congregation

by Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller of Regensburg, Germany, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The 64-year-old expert in dogmatic theology and ecumenism, who has co-authored a work on liberation theology, replaced U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, who retired at 76.

As head of the doctrinal congregation, the archbishop also assumes the roles of president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” the Pontifical Biblical Commission and the International Theological Commission.

The appointment automatically elevates the former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, to the rank of archbishop.

The archbishop’s academic research focuses on “ecumenism, modern age theology, the Christian understanding of revelation, theological hermeneutics and ecclesiology – the priesthood and the diaconate,” according to the Diocese of Regensburg.

He has authored more than 400 works with the most well-known being the 900-page “Catholic Dogmatics: For the Study and Practice of Theology.”

In 2004, he co-authored a book titled “On the Side of the Poor: The Theology of Liberation” with Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez, who is considered the father of liberation theology.

Though the doctrinal congregation, led by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, asked Father Gutierrez, to write and rewrite articles clarifying some of his theological and pastoral points during the 1990s, the doctrinal congregation expressed approval in 2004 of his latest work on ecclesial communion, which was published by a pontifical university.