Doctrine of Faith Dicastery implements democratic query and complaints system

Cardinal Fernández

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the newly appointed head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), has introduced a “democratic system” for addressing queries and complaints within the department.

This change reflects a departure from his previous practice of responding directly through social media channels such as Facebook.

“I was used to responding directly through Facebook, but now I have to take a little more care of how I move,” commented Fernández.

Cardinal Fernández, known for his close association with Pope Francis, addressed journalists after receiving his cardinal’s hat alongside 20 other prelates.

When questioned about how he intends to handle direct queries, even from those who may disagree with his theological views, Fernández emphasised the new process.

Decisions not made unilaterally

Questions of various kinds, whether theological, doctrinal or related to doubts (dubia), now follow a structured path within the DDF.

“If queries arrive to me or questions…I cannot respond to them directly. I have to ask that they send them formally to the dicastery so that they follow their course,” he said. “I am going to say that it can call the attention of some people but there is a very democratic system for dealing with those issues.”

The queries go through a series of steps starting with the department’s team followed by weekly meetings, a review by a team of member-bishops and finally submission to the pope himself.

This new process ensures that decisions are not made unilaterally by the prefect.

Cardinal Fernández expressed his belief that this new structure, established as part of Pope Francis’s reform of the Roman Curia, is functioning effectively. It allows for more comprehensive consideration of matters that arise within the department.

In his comments to journalists, Cardinal Fernández highlighted the increased frequency of meetings within the doctrinal section, allowing for a deeper exploration of various issues and a more considered response to queries.


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