‘I will do it my way’ says Archbishop Fernández on new Vatican role

I will do it my way

Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, the newly appointed prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, recently addressed his appointment by asserting, “I will do it my way.”

In his first interview since assuming the role, Archbishop  Fernández (pictured) spoke about various pressing issues, including clerical abuse, the German Synodal Way, same-sex blessings and his approach to his new responsibilities.

The archbishop, who hails from La Plata, Argentina, revealed that he had written a letter to the members of the Vatican’s doctrine dicastery, expressing his admiration for the current prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ, as a theologian and for his work style.

However, “I will do it ‘my way’ as the Italian song says,” Fernández added in the interview with the Spanish Catholic website InfoVaticana published on July 5.

Emphasising the importance of Pope Francis’ call for synodality, Archbishop Fernández stated that he would prioritise listening and understanding before making any decisions. He acknowledged the considerations put forth in the letter the pope sent him, expressing his intention to apply them in some manner.

Same-sex blessings

On the issue of same-sex blessings, Archbishop Fernández aligned himself with the Church’s stance against same-sex unions, stating that marriage in its strict sense is the union of a man and a woman capable of procreation.

However, Fernández suggested that if a blessing could be given without causing confusion, it should be analysed and confirmed.

Archbishop Fernández discussed the complexities surrounding the handling of clerical abuse cases, citing the need to believe the accusers while ensuring due process for the accused priests. He acknowledged the challenges of striking a balance and learning from canonists to navigate these delicate situations.

When asked about the opposition to his appointment and concerns that he might deviate from the expected role of the prefect, Archbishop Fernández responded by highlighting the value of having a Latin American occupy such a position.

“Does it not seem good to you that for some time in history a Latin American who has been a parish priest of the peripheries, who grew up in a small town in the countryside, with a sensitivity close to the pain of the discarded of society, with a life story very different from that of a European or American, but who at the same time is a doctor in theology, occupies this position?

“Once again, I tell them that I will learn from history, I will respect the processes, I will dialogue, but I will do it ‘my way’.”


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