From her very beginning, the Church has been entrusted with the universal commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19), offering to the entire world the new life and communion with God that is made available in Christ through Baptism and the Christian confession of faith. This charge requires of the Church and her members both an orientation to God and a responsibility for the world—neither can be neglected, as they form an indissoluble relational unity that flows from the person of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”(1 Tim 2:5). Yet in the current age, the Church appears forced to choose between God and the world, between  the identity of the faith and its relevance for modern humanity, between fidelity to Revelation and innovation.

In True and False Reform, Gerhard Cardinal Müller seeks to provide an aid for navigating the tensions, confusions, and divisions of this modern crisis, directing our attention to the Church’s essence, characteristics, life, and mission—not as one religion among others, but as the site of Christ’s saving presence with humanity. It is Christ who is the Church’s life and foundation, and

Christ, too, who is the source and end of that transformation according to his likeness to which all are called. Müller shows that this universal call to renewal in Christ—in faith, life, and prayer—is the basis of the Church’s catholicity, the principal of all true reform, and the impetus for Catholics’ journeying together with Christians from other churches and ecclesial communities toward perfect unity in Christ.


GERHARD CARDINAL MÜLLER was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, during which time he also served as president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission, and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Previously professor of dogmatics at the University of Munich from 1986 until 2002, Müller was appointed bishop of Regensberg, Germany, in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, later being elevated to archbishop in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI and to cardinal in 2014 by Pope Francis. Prior to his appointment as prefect, Müller was chairman of the ecumenical commission of the German Bishops’ Conference, and he also served on the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. After his retirement in 2017, Müller was appointed a member of the Apostolic signatura by Pope Francis in 2021. The author of more than six hundred works on various topics, including dogmatic theology, revelation, ecumenism, and the diaconate, Müller is also the editor of The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger—Pope Benedict XVI in sixteen volumes at Verlag Herder.


“Taking his stand ahead of two impossible alternatives—fossilized Traditionalism and deconstructive Modernism—Gerhard Cardinal Müller brings to the confusions of twenty-first-century Church life a penetrating vision of what it means to be a Catholic Christian, while displaying deep and broad learning, human sensitivity, and, above all, the charity too often lacking in intra-Catholic debates today.”

Ethics and Public Policy Center


“A profound summation of Gerhard Müller’s Catholic vision. Grounded in Scripture and apostolic Tradition, the book functions as a mini-summa, combining reflections on God, Christ, the Church, and faith and salvation with existential meditations on prayer, death, and the meaning of life.”

University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary


True and False Reform provides solid orientation for tempestuous times: of global political, social, and ecclesial upheaval, crisis, division, and confusion. In a disciplined and systematic manner Cardinal Müller reminds us that we can only master these challenges by way of a confident and joyful recommitment to follow Our Lord. The cross is the unmistakable sign of Christian discipleship. Leading through lofty philosophical heights and profound theological thoughts, he shows us with a priestly heart how Our Lord renews his ever-self-same Church and how we may participate in this renewal. Most timely and needed!”

University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary


“A beautiful exposition and defense of the Church’s teaching on what it means to be Catholic. Cardinal Müller has done a great service to the Church in these times of doctrinal trouble and confusion.”

Holy Family Church, New York

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True and False Reform: What It Means to Be Catholic