VATICAN CITY — The former head of the Vatican’s doctrine office has denied any differences with Pope Francis and says he isn’t upset with his earlier-than-expected dismissal.

Francis on Saturday sacked German Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, declining to renew his five-year term. Mueller turns 70 in December, and the normal retirement age for bishops is 75.

In an interview with Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung published Sunday, Mueller said Francis simply decided not to renew his mandate, wanting to limit terms as a rule “and I was the first where he put this into practice.”

He said: “It doesn’t make me particularly sad. … Everyone has to stop at some point.”

He said he would stay at the Vatican to do research, perform his role as cardinal and work in pastoral care.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.