Vatican denies Pope’s encyclical delayed over doctrine

The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment had been delayed over doctrinal fears.

Veteran Vaticanista Sandro Magister claimed on his blog Settimo Cielo on May 11 that the Pope had “binned” the first draft of the encyclical in March.

Magister said the Pope feared the first draft would have been “demolished” by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “once it had gotten into his hands”.

The draft had been ghost-written by the Pope’s theologian friend Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández from Argentina, the National Catholic Register reported.

But Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said it is “normal and obvious” that, as with any encyclical, the CDF would check the document before publication.

Fr Lombardi said he was unaware of “any cause of delays or problems”.

He called the speculation “totally unfounded” and said it “seems almost unbelievable that such things are written”.

Fr Lombardi said it is “reasonable to expect the publication within a few weeks, probably in June”.

A few days previously, Archbishop Fernández told Corriere della Sera that the Curia “is not an essential structure”.

He added that a prefect of a dicastery was essentially not necessary to prevent the Church from “falling into ignominy”.

Rather Christ granted the Pope and the bishops a special governance and enlightenment —not to a prefect or some other structure, Archbishop Fernández said.

The archbishop’s comments come after Cardinal Müller stated in an interview in April that the CDF’s role was to “provide the theological structure of a pontificate”.

Archbishop Fernández is considered to be one of Pope Francis’s inner circle.

The archbishop, who is rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires, contributed to Evangelii Gaudium.

He was appointed by Pope Francis as vice president of the commission that drew up the final message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family last October.


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