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The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei), previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, and sometimes simply called the Holy Office is the oldest of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. Among the most active of these major Curial departments, it oversees Catholic doctrine.

RoleEdit

According to Article 48 of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988: "the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence."

Within the CDF are the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Biblical Commission. The Prefect of the CDF is ex officio president of both commissions. The congregation also deals with sexual abuse cases.

Galileo before the Holy Office

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

On July 21, 1542, Pope Paul III, with the Constitution Licet ab initio, established 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 Saint Pius X. It was changed to Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 7, 1965, at the end of the Second Vatican Council. In 1983, with the new code of Canon law, "Sacred" was dropped from the names of Vatican Congregations.

OrganizationEdit

Until 1968, the Pope himself held the title of prefect but never exercised this birth office. Instead, he appointed one of the cardinals 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, without further qualification. Therefore, from 1968 onwards, the title of Secretary refers to the second highest ranking officer of the Congregation. There are usually ten other cardinals on the Congregation, as well as a prelate and two assistants.

The work of the Congregation is divided into four sections: the doctrinal, disciplinary, matrimonial, and clerical office. The Congregation holds biennial plenary assemblies, and is occasionally obligated to censure theologians whose writings and teachings are contrary to Church doctrine (e.g., Hans Kung, Charles Curran, and Leonardo Boff).

Members (2009):

On May 6 2006 Cardinals Antonio Cañizares Llovera and Jean-Pierre Cardinal Ricard were named members of the Congregation.

Recent Opinions and PublicationsEdit

Heads of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the FaithEdit

Grand InquisitorsEdit

SecretariesEdit

    • Unless stated otherwise, the secretaryship ended with the relevant man's death

PrefectsEdit

Modern Secretaries of the CDFEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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