The former head of the Vatican’s doctrine office has denied reports that he was dismissed by Pope Francis after a brief discussion of Church teaching.

In a story in the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, journalist Guido Horst said that Cardinal Gerhard Müller “could not believe his eyes” upon reading the claims made by the website OnePeterFive.

“‘This is not true; the conversation was quite different,’” Mr Horst reported Cardinal Müller as saying.

OnePeterFive cited a “trustworthy German source” who quoted an eyewitness “who recently sat with Cardinal Müller at lunch in Mainz” and allegedly heard the cardinal’s account of the meeting with Pope Francis before he was removed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The article claimed the Pope asked the cardinal’s stance on women deacons and priests, the repeal of celibacy, the exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the dismissal of three employees of the CDF.

It alleged that, following the cardinal’s responses, the Pope said he would not renew his mandate and left the room “without any farewell or explanation”.

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