Two sections with separate secretaries


Pope Francis has promulgated a motu proprio entitled “Fidem servare” modifying the organization chart of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by separating the responsibilities of the doctrinal and disciplinary sections.

February 15, 2022

The offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

VATICAN: By means of a motu proprio entitled Fidem Service (“preserve the faith”; cf. 2 Tim. 4, 7), Pope Francis modified the internal structure of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) by establishing two distinct sections, a doctrinal section and a disciplinary section , each with their own secretary. From now on, the Cardinal Prefect of the Dicastery will have two principal deputies.

The objective of the reform is to give the importance it deserves to the doctrinal section and its fundamental role in promoting the faith, without diminishing its disciplinary activity, after decades in which much effort and resources human resources have been devoted to examining cases of abuse. With the new structure, each section, with its own secretary, will have more authority and autonomy.

preserve the father
Fidem Service, “keeping the faith”, is “the main task, as well as the ultimate criterion to be followed in the life of the Church”, explains Pope Francis in the Apostolic Letter. This essential task, which involves both doctrinal and disciplinary skills, was entrusted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis, for his part, took the decision to establish two distinct sections within the Congregation precisely to enable it to better fulfill its functions, in the light of the experience acquired during the almost forty years that have passed. elapsed since the last great reform of the Roman Church. Curia (with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonuspublished by Pope John Paul II in 1988).

Each section will be coordinated by a secretary who will assist the prefect in the specific area of ​​his competence, with the collaboration of an under-secretary and the respective heads of office (Capi Ufficio).

Promote and defend the faith
The doctrinal section “addresses matters relating to the promotion and protection of the doctrine of faith and morals. It also promotes studies aimed at increasing the understanding and transmission of the faith in the service of evangelization, so that its light may be a criterion for understanding the meaning of existence, especially in the face of the questions posed by the progress of science. and the development of society. It also examines the documents to be published by other dicasteries, as well as the writings and opinions “which seem problematic for the correct faith, encouraging dialogue with their authors and proposing appropriate remedies”.

This section is also responsible for studying questions concerning the personal ordinariates of former Anglicans; and the management of the Matrimonial Office, which concerns the so-called “fidei privilegeand examines the dissolution of marriages between two unbaptized or between a baptized and an unbaptized.

Judging “more serious” canonical crimes
The Disciplinary Section deals with crimes reserved for the judgment of the Congregation, which are judged by the Supreme Apostolic Tribunal established there.

The section has the duty to “prepare and implement the procedures foreseen by the canonical norms so that the Congregation, through its various offices (Prefect, Secretary, Promoter of Justice, Congress, Ordinary Session, College for the examination of appeals in terms of tort seriousness), can promote the proper administration of justice.

To this end, the Disciplinary Section “promotes appropriate training initiatives,” which are offered to bishops and legal practitioners, “in order to foster a correct understanding and application of the canonical norms related to its area of ​​competence.”

The Archives of the Holy Office
Finally, the Congregation has an Archive for “the preservation and consultation of documents”, which also preserves the Historical Archives of the former Holy Office and of the Index.

The stipulations of the Apostolic Letter Fidem Service enters into force with its publication in L’Osservatore Romano February 14, 2022. The text of the motu proprio will then be published in Acta Apostolicae Sedisthe official journal of the Holy See.–Vatican News


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