Reliable voices in the Vatican are saying Cardinal William Levada, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will retire by the end of June.
Italian daily La Stampa reports that Levada has told Pope Benedict he wants to return home to the United States and that Benedict will accept his resignation.
David Gibson of RNS says the news of Levada’s retirement does not come as a total surprise.
“Being the “bad cop” of Catholicism is a powerful and influential position, but it can also be a drag. Moreover, as pope, Ratzinger remains the de facto chief theologian at the Vatican. Levada has never had or desired the influence or stature that Ratzinger had under the late John Paul II.”
When 75, it is mandatory for bishops to submit their resignation, and Levada turned 76 on June 15.
La Stampa’s Vaticanologist, Marco Tosatti, reports Benedict is likely to replace Levada with fellow countryman Gerhard Müller, the Bishop of Regensburg.
It is said that Müller is a man of remarkable personality and while not in the close circle of Benedict’s friends academically he is a significant figure.
In 2007, Müller was reappointed for another five year term to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Considered a defender of Catholic orthodoxy, Mueller is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Müller is bishop of the diocese where the ultra-traditionalist seminary for the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is located.
News category: World.