Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Latin: Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei
Coat of arms of the Holy See

Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio, seat of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation overview
FormedJuly 21, 1542; 479 years ago (1542-07-21)
Preceding agencies
  • Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition
  • Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office
TypeCongregation
HeadquartersPalazzo del Sant'Uffizio,
Rome, Italy
Congregation executives

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF; Latin: Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei) is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. Its seat is the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine.[1] Formerly called the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition,[a] and then between 1908 and 1965 the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, it is still informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office (Latin: Sanctum Officium). Founded by Pope Paul III in 1542, the congregation's sole objective is to "spread sound Catholic doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines."[1] Its headquarters are at the Palace of the Holy Office, just outside Vatican City. The congregation employs an advisory board including cardinals, bishops, priests, lay theologians, and canon lawyers. The current Prefect is Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, who was appointed by Pope Francis for a five-year term beginning July 2017.[2][3]

Pope Francis has planned a reorganization of the Curia that will alter the role of this Congregation. A final draft of his apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia, titled Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”), has been submitted for comment to national bishops’ conferences and a variety of other bodies.[4][5] The anticipated changes to the Congregation arise from Francis' emphasis on the Church's missionary role and likely result in a lesser role for this dicastery focused on Catholic doctrine.[6]

History

Further information: Roman Inquisition

Astronomer Galileo Galilei presented before the Holy Office, a 19th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury
Astronomer Galileo Galilei presented before the Holy Office, a 19th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury

On 21 July 1542, Pope Paul III proclaimed the Apostolic Constitution Licet ab initio, establishing the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, staffed by cardinals and other officials whose task it was "to maintain and defend the integrity of the faith and to examine and proscribe errors and false doctrines." It served as the final court of appeal in trials of heresy and served as an important part of the Counter-Reformation.

This body was renamed the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1908 by Pope Pius X. In many Catholic countries, the body is often informally called the Holy Office (e.g., Italian: Sant'Uffizio and Spanish: Santo Oficio).

The congregation's name was changed to Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF) on 7 December 1965, at the end of the Second Vatican Council. Soon after the 1983 Code of Canon Law came into effect, the adjective "sacred" was dropped from the names of all Curial Congregations,[b] and so the dicastery adopted its current name, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Timeline

1542 Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition is established
1622 Pope Gregory XV writes a letter addressing the issue of priests abusing the confessional to solicit "shameful and dishonorable conduct". The letter is referenced in Sacramentum Poenitentiae (1741).
1665 The General Congregation of the Universal Inquisition, in the presence of Pope Alexander VII, reiterates that propositions by confessors to solicit or provoke sex from penitents are "alien and discordant by the Evangelical truth and clearly so by the sixth and seventh doctrines of the Holy Fathers" and are to be "checked, condemned, and prohibited. […] The Inquisitors of Heretical Depravity […] [should] seek out and proceed against everyone – every priest […] who has essayed to tempt a penitent."[7]
1908 The Inquisition is renamed Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office by Pope Pius X.
1965 The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office is renamed Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF).
1985 All dicasteries of the Roman Curia no longer use the adjective "sacred" as part of their title. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith becomes the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
1988 Pope John Paul II reaffirms the authority of the CDF on 28 June: "The proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way."[8]
2001 John Paul II issues Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela "by which are promulgated Norms concerning the more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." It, again, reaffirms the CDF's responsibilities, expressing that it was necessary to define more precisely both "the more grave delicts whether against morals or committed in the celebration of the sacraments" for which the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith remains exclusive, and also the special procedural norms "for declaring or imposing canonical sanctions."[9]
2014 On 11 November Pope Francis sets up within the CDF a special body to expedite consideration of appeals by priests against laicization or other penalties imposed on them in cases of sexual abuse.[10]
2015 Francis establishes an ecclesiastical judicial commission, which will have its own staff and secretary, to try bishops, which will work with other units of the CDF and with the congregation that has oversight over the bishop.[11]
2018 Francis appoints three women as consultors to the Congregation, the first in its history.[12]
2019 The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is merged into the Congregation.[13]

Role

According to the 1988 Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor bonus, article 48, promulgated by John Paul II: "The proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way."[8]

This includes investigations into grave delicts, i.e., acts which the Catholic Church considers as being the most serious crimes: crimes against the Eucharist and against the sanctity of the Sacrament of Penance, and crimes against the sixth Commandment ("Thou shall not commit adultery.") committed by a cleric against a person under the age of eighteen. These crimes, in Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela a motu proprio of 2001, come under the competency of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In effect, it is the "promoter of justice" which deals with, among other things, the question of priests accused of paedophilia.[9][14][c]

Within the CDF are the International Theological Commission, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The Prefect of the CDF is ex officio president of these commissions.[citation needed]

On 7 December 2021, Pope Francis promulgated a new version of the "Norms on the Delicts Reserved to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith"; the original version had been first promulgated in 2001 by John Paul II and amended in 2010 by Bendict XVI. The changes of the new version concern "harmonising the norms with the revised Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, which was promulgated in May 2021" and addind "numerous normative measures of various kinds issued in previous years, especially since 2016."[18]

Organization

Until 1968, the pope held the title of prefect and appointed a cardinal to preside over the meetings, first as Secretary, then as Pro-Prefect.

Since 1968, the Cardinal head of the dicastery has borne the title of Prefect and the title of Secretary refers to the second highest-ranking officer of the Congregation. As of 2012 the Congregation had a membership of 18 cardinals and a smaller number of non-cardinal bishops, a staff of 38 (clerical and lay) and 26 consultors.[19]

The work of the CDF is divided into four sections: the doctrinal, disciplinary, matrimonial, and clerical offices. The CDF holds biennial plenary assemblies, and issues documents on doctrinal, disciplinary, and sacramental questions that occasionally include notifications concerning books by Catholic theologians (e.g., Hans Küng, Charles Curran, and Leonardo Boff) that it judges contrary to Church doctrine.[20]

Recent canonical judgments and publications

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The following is a list of recent documents and judgments issued by the CDF. Lengthy CDF documents usually have Latin titles. A short document that briefly states objections to one or more writings by a Catholic theologian is typically called a "notification."

2021–present

"Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex" wherein the Church reaffirmed the orthodox view that "Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex" because God "does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him. He in fact “takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are.”" (15 March 2021)[21] [22] [23]

2011–2020

2001–2010

1991–2000

1981–1990

1975–1980

Leadership

Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Incumbent
Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ

since 1 July 2017
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
StyleHis Eminence
Member ofRoman Curia
Reports toThe Pope
AppointerThe Pope
Term lengthFive years, renewable
Constituting instrumentLicet ab initio
Pastor Bonus
Formation21 July 1542
First holderAntonio Michele Ghislieri

Secretaries until 1965

When the Supreme Sacred Congregation for the Roman and Universal Inquisition was first established in 1542, it was composed of several Cardinal Inquisitors styled as "Inquisitors-General", who were formally equal to each other, even if some of them were clearly dominant (e.g. Cardinal Gian Pietro Carafa from 1542, who was elected Pope Paul IV in 1555). Until 1968 the Pope himself presided over the Congregation. However, from 1564 the daily administration of the affairs of the Congregation was entrusted to the Cardinal Secretary.[34][35]: 19–26  This model was retained when the Inquisition was formally renamed as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1908.[36]

Unless stated otherwise, the secretaryship ended with the officeholder's death.

Name From Until Appointer
1 Antonio Michele Ghislieri
(elected as Pope Pius V)[35]: 118 
1564 1566 Pius IV
2 Giacomo Savelli[35]: 118  1577 1587 Gregory XIII
3 Giulio Antonio Santori[35]: 118  1587 1602 Sixtus V
4 Camillo Borghese
(elected as Pope Paul V)[35]: 118 
1602 1605 Clement VIII
5 Pompeio Arrigoni[35]: 118  1605 1612
(resigned)
Paul V
6 Giovanni Garzia Millini 1612 1629[35]: 118  Paul V
7 Antonio Marcello Barberini 1629 1633
(resigned)
Urban VIII
8 Francesco Barberini 1633 1679 Urban VIII
9 Cesare Facchinetti 1680 1683 Innocent XI
10 Alderano Cybo 1683 1700 Innocent XI
11 Galeazzo Marescotti 1700 1716
(resigned)
12 Fabrizio Spada 1716 1717 Clement XI
13 Nicolò Acciaioli 1717 1719 Clement XI
14 Francesco del Giudice 1719 1725 Clement XI
15 Fabrizio Paolucci 1725 1726 Benedict XIII
16 Pietro Ottoboni 1726 1740 Benedict XIII
17 Tommaso Ruffo 1740 1753
18 Neri Maria Corsini 1753 1770 Benedict XIV
19 Giovanni Francesco Stoppani 1770 1774 Clement XIV
20 Luigi Maria Torregiani 1775 1777 Pius VI
21 Carlo Rezzonico 1777 1799 Pius VI
22 Leonardo Antonelli 1800 1811
23 Giulio Maria della Somaglia 1814 1830 Pius VII
24 Bartolomeo Pacca 1830 1844 Gregory XVI
25 Vincenzo Macchi 1844 1860 Gregory XVI
26 Costantino Patrizi Naro 1860 1876 Pius IX
27 Prospero Caterini 1876 1881 Pius IX
28 Antonio Maria Panebianco 1882 1883 Leo XIII
29 Luigi Bilio, CRSP 1883 1884 Leo XIII
30 Raffaele Monaco La Valletta 1884 1896 Leo XIII
31 Lucido Parocchi 1896 1903 Leo XIII
32 Serafino Vannutelli 1903 1908
(resigned)
Leo XIII
33 Mariano Rampolla 1908 1913 Pius X
34 Domenico Ferrata 3 January 1914 10 October 1914 Pius X
35 Rafael Merry del Val 14 October 1914 26 February 1930 Benedict XV
36 Donato Sbarretti 4 July 1930 1 April 1939 Pius XI
37 Francesco Marchetti-Selvaggiani 30 April 1939 13 January 1951 Pius XI
38 Giuseppe Pizzardo 16 February 1951 12 October 1959 Pius XII
39 Alfredo Ottaviani 7 November 1959 7 December 1965
(became Pro-Prefect)
John XXIII

Prefects since 1965

When Pope Paul VI changed the name of the dicastery on 7 December 1965, he changed the title of the cardinal in charge of the daily administration of the Congregation from Secretary to Pro-Prefect. He continued to reserve the title of Prefect to himself[37] until 1968 when he relinquished his role as head of the Congregation and named a Prefect.[38]

No. Name From Until Appointer
1
Alfredo Ottaviani
Pro-Prefect[d]
7 December 1965 6 January 1968 Paul VI
2
Franjo Šeper 8 January 1968[e] 25 November 1981 Paul VI
3
Joseph Ratzinger
(later elected as Pope Benedict XVI)
25 November 1981 2 April 2005[f] John Paul II
4
William Levada 13 May 2005 2 July 2012 Benedict XVI
5
Gerhard Ludwig Müller 2 July 2012 2 July 2017[2][3] Benedict XVI
6
Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ 2 July 2017[2][3] Incumbent Francis

Secretaries since 1965

With the December 1965 reorganization of the Holy Office as the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the head of the Congregation was no longer titled Secretary. The dicastery's second-in-command, until then titled assessor, was then given the title of Secretary, as was already the case with the other Roman Congregations. The following Archbishops have held the title of Secretary:

Present composition

See also

Notes

  1. ^ From where the names "Roman Inquisition" or "Holy Inquisition" arose, terms later popularly used in reference to the 16th-century tribunals against heresy.
  2. ^ It remained in use throughout 1984, as can be seen in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis of that year, but no longer appeared in the 1985 issues of that official bulletin of the Holy See.
  3. ^ The revision of Norms concerning the more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith currently in force is the revision approved by Benedict XVI in 2010.[15][16][17]
  4. ^ Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, previously Secretary, continued to head the Congregation when it was renamed on 7 December 1965, and his title of Pro-Prefect was confirmed on 8 February 1966. Upon his retirement he was termed Prefect emeritus of the Congregation, and not Pro-Prefect emeritus.
  5. ^ Since the appointment of Šeper in 1968, the head of the dicastery has the title of Prefect. The Pope no longer holds the office of Prefect of the CDF himself.[38]
  6. ^ Death of Pope John Paul II

References

  1. ^ a b "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - Profile". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "Pope names Jesuit prelate to succeed Müller at doctrine office". Crux. Catholic News Service. 1 July 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Pongratz-Lippitt, Christa (8 July 2017). "Müller hits out at Francis, says the way pope dismissed him was unacceptable". La Croix International. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  4. ^ Lamb, Christopher (22 April 2019). "Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia". The Tablet. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  5. ^ San Martín, Inés. "New Vatican document to put evangelization ahead of doctrine". Crux. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  6. ^ Elise Harris (27 June 2019). "Curial aide says reform is about mission, not doctrine". Crux Now. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  7. ^ Benedict XIV (1 June 1741). "Sacramentum poenitentiae" (PDF). richardsipe.com (in Latin and English). Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2012. Includes English translation by unknown.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  8. ^ a b John Paul II (28 June 1988). "Pastor bonus". vatican.va. Articles 48–55. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  9. ^ a b John Paul II (30 April 2001). "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela". vatican.va. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  10. ^ Wooden, Cindy (11 November 2014). "Pope sets up new body to speed handling of sex abuse appeals". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017.
  11. ^ Povoledo, Elisabetta; Goodstein, Laurie (10 June 2015). "Pope creates tribunal for bishop negligence in child sexual abuse cases". The New York Times. New York. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  12. ^ O'Connell, Gerard (21 April 2018). "Pope Francis appoints three women as consultants to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". America. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Lettera Apostolica in forma di Motu proprio circa la Pontificia Commissione "Ecclesia Dei"". press.vatican.va. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  14. ^ Scicluna, Charles (13 March 2010). "Promoter of justice at Doctrine of Faith on paedophilia" (Interview). Interviewed by Gianni Cardinale of Avvenire. Vatican City: Vatican Information Service. VIS 20100313 (2070). Translated from "Il «pm» vaticano: «Chiesa rigorosa sulla pedofilia»". Avvenire (in Italian) (Milan, IT: Avvenire Nuova Editoriale Italiana S.p.a.). 13 March 2010.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  15. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "The norms of the motu proprio 'Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela' (2001): historical introduction". vatican.va. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  16. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (21 May 2010). "A brief introduction to the modifications made in the Normae de gravioribus delictis, reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". vatican.va. Archived from the original on 29 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  17. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (21 May 2010). "[Norms concerning the more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith]". vatican.va (2010 rev. ed.). Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Pope Francis updates norms on more serious ecclesiastical crimes". Vatican News. 7 December 2021.
  19. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012 ISBN 978-88-209-8722-0), pp. 1159-1160
  20. ^ "The Holy See - The Roman Curia - Congregations - Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex". press.vatican.va. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Holy See: The Church cannot bless same-sex unions - Vatican News". www.vaticannews.va. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Pope Francis' LGBT+ views, as Vatican opposes same-sex blessings". Reuters. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Fidelity oaths spark fear of return to theological silencing". National Catholic Reporter. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  25. ^ Pullella, Philip (15 April 2013). "Pope Francis reiterates 'radical feminist' criticism of US nuns' group". worldnews.nbcnews.com. New York: NBC News Digital. Reuters. Archived from the original on 18 April 2013.
  26. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (18 April 2012). "Doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious". usccb.org. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Vatican letter directs bishops to keep parish records from Mormons". 2 May 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008.
  28. ^ Hargett, Malea (6 October 2007). "Six Arkansas nuns excommunicated for supporting heresy: women operate Hot Springs day care". arkansas-catholic.org. Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Catholic. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015.
  29. ^ Pullella, Philip (23 April 2007). "Gay marriage evil, abortion terrorism: Vatican". Reuters. Archived from the original on 26 April 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2007.
  30. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (24 November 2002). "Doctrinal note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life". vatican.va. Archived from the original on 7 April 2003.
  31. ^ "Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons". Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  32. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Dominus Iesus". vatican.va. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013.
  33. ^ "Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons". Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  34. ^ Mayer, Thomas F. (2013). The Roman Inquisition: a papal bureaucracy and its laws in the age of Galileo. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8122-4473-1.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g Black, Christopher (2009). The Italian Inquisition. New Haven [u.a.]: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11706-6.
  36. ^ "Sapienti Consilio, Index (die 29 Iunii anno 1908) | PIUS X". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  37. ^ Doty, Robert C. (9 January 1968). "Ottaviani Quits Post in Vatican; Croat, a Progressive, Is Named" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  38. ^ a b Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A., eds. (1997). "Holy Office". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 786. ISBN 9780192802903. Retrieved 8 August 2017. Revised 2005
  39. ^ "Italian with Gregorian connection named doctrinal congregation's deputy". National Catholic Reporter. 18 July 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  40. ^ [1][dead link]
  41. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (14 September 2017). "Pope appoints new under-secretaries to CDF and Congregation for Clergy". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  42. ^ "Don Matteo Visioli" (in Italian). Pontifical Gregorian University. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  43. ^ "Pope appoints U.S Jesuit to post of Promoter of Justice". Vatican Radio. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2017.

Coordinates: 41°54′04″N 12°27′22″E / 41.90111°N 12.45611°E / 41.90111; 12.45611