The Vatican

Pope Francis reforms the structure of the Doctrine of the Faith

This reform gives greater strength and autonomy to each section - Doctrinal and Disciplinary - in favor of evangelization and the promotion of the faith, without diminishing disciplinary activity.

David Fernández Alonso-February 14, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes
curia reform

Photo: ©2022 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Keeping the faith"is the main task and the ultimate criterion to be followed in the life of the Church. And for this purpose the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was created, which assumes this important task, thus assuming the doctrinal and disciplinary competencies attributed to it by the pontiffs before Francis.

Pope Francis has modified the structure of the Congregation through this motu proprio in order to make its work more effective. Specifically, he wanted to distinguish the Congregation into two sections: the Doctrinal Section and the Disciplinary Section. 

The Doctrinal Section

On the one hand, the Doctrinal Section, through the Doctrinal Office, will deal with matters related to the promotion and protection of the doctrine of the faith and morals. It also fosters studies aimed at increasing the understanding and transmission of the faith in the service of evangelization, so that it may help in the understanding of the meaning of life, especially in the face of the questions raised by the progress of science and the development of society.

With regard to faith and morals, the Section will be responsible for examining documents to be published by other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, as well as writings and opinions that appear to be problematic for the right faith, encouraging dialogue with their authors and proposing appropriate corrections to be made, so that these documents may be easily accessible to the public.

In addition, this Section is entrusted with the task of studying questions relating to the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. The Doctrinal Section is also responsible for the Matrimonial Bureau, which has been created to examine, both in law and in fact, all matters relating to the ".privileium fidei"and shall examine the dissolution of marriages between unbaptized persons or between a baptized person and an unbaptized person.

The Disciplinary Section

On the other hand, the Disciplinary Section, through its corresponding office, deals with infractions reserved to the Congregation and those which the latter deals with through the jurisdiction of the Supreme Apostolic Tribunal established there. Its task is to prepare and elaborate the procedures foreseen by the canonical norms so that the Congregation, in its various instances (Prefect, Secretary, Promoter of Justice, Congress, Ordinary Session, College for the examination of appeals in matters of delicta graviora), can promote the proper administration of justice.

The current configuration

The configuration of the Congregation was established by St. Paul VI, who in his motu proprio Integrae Servandae had changed the name of the Dicastery to the present Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. St. John Paul II also collaborated with its configuration, which, in the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus specified its competencies.

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