Talk:Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

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"...and to punish whom they consider as offenders". This wording doesn't seem accurate to me. It is true in reference to the Inquisition, but not to the CDF since it doesn't quite punish anymore. I suggest the introduction be reformulated, for instance: "The CDF is the successor of what used to be the famous Roman Inquisition. It has the goal to protect and advocate faithful Catholic teaching on matters of faith and morals." Attilab 19:46, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

The CDF imposes "punishments", up to and including excommunication. That aspect of their operation needs to be included, but I am open to a rewording. -- Cat Whisperer 20:13, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
CatWhisperer, I agreee with you, as they do punish. But it would be helpful to find an official document that clears up the confusion. It would be worth noting as well that the CDF has competency over sexual abuse of minors by clerics.DaveTroy 11:23, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

There should definitely be a cite to the CDF's mandate; that's a good suggestion. Words such as "punish" or "silence" (see Pope Benedict XVI article) are pretty loaded and therefore run the risk of inaccuracy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does refer to excommunication as "the most severe ecclesiastical penalty," but I think a canon lawyer would say that someone excommunicated has already separated him/herself from the Church, which means "punish" may not be the right way to present the issue to persons who are truly trying to understand what is happening when excommunication occurs. Plus, excommunication is not a major part of the CDF's brief (I would be surprised to discover it does it at all, though I could be wrong. Reason for my view: a bishop is in charge of his flock, not the CDF). Point: even if I'm completely wrong about all of this, it's still an argument for trying to be a bit more technically accurate. The article is using very generalized language for things that have terms of art as names. For one thing, readers might appreciate being introduced to those terms of art!--Morsefan 02:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Article 52 of Pastor Bonus uses the following terminology: "The Congregation examines offences against the faith and more serious ones both in behaviour or in the celebration of the sacraments which have been reported to it and, if need be, proceeds to the declaration or imposition of canonical sanctions in accordance with the norms of common or proper law." Canon law refers to some of these sanctions as "Penalties and Other Punishments." -- Cat Whisperer 04:31, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Regarding the terms "declaration or imposition" in article 52 above: A declared excommunication is one where the person has already incurred an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication due to some reason listed in canon law; An imposed excommunication is one where the person is newly excommunicated for some other reason that does not directly result in automatic excommunication. Here is a link to an article about some excommunications imposed by the CDF in 2002. -- Cat Whisperer 06:00, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Meaning of "Secretary"[edit]

As explained on this page, the leader of the CDF was entitled "Secretary" from 1939 until 1968.

Since 1968, the leader has been entitled "Prefect", and (presumably also since 1968) the second-ranking CDF person has been "Secretary".

I added Bertone and Amato to the list of Secretaries. Does this seem misleading? After all, the 1939-1968 secretaries were really holding a different job.

Lawrence King 08:35, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes,exactly.The leaders of the Congregation are the ones who need listing,not the number-twos.--Louis Epstein/ 18:21, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Nitpick: is the address of my computer, for those looking up this address on the history page. I sometimes get kicked out of registration mode by this craputer. Rickyrab | Talk 17:45, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

William Joseph Levada[edit]

Hi Lawrence King, you are right he is not yet a cardinal, but according to [1] and news reports Pope Benedict XVI. appointed him today to be the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Gugganij 11:12, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

You are very correct. The Vatican website's news bulletin confirms this as well. I put the link on the main page in case anyone doubts, although maybe it belongs on this page instead:
Vatican website announcing Levada's nomination
Lawrence King 11:46, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Alleged 2003 document[edit]

Does anyone mind if I delete references to the document that "banned transsexuals from consecrated life"? The sources linked to in the footnotes [2] [3] [4] are now well over two years old and still no such document has appeared. might have simply been repeating rumours based on the document which has recently been leaked (and presumably back then was in the draft stage).'s own source (the Catholic News Service) doesn't keep records that far back. Stroika 16:05, 20 December 2005 (GMT)

No reply. Done. Stroika 08:35, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

As to consecrated life, I do not know. I know that for the purposes of marriage, transsexuals (post operation) are considered impotent as to marriage (hence unable to enter into sacarmental marriage). It could bth this is want was being considered. DaveTroy 20:43, 7 February 2006 (UTC)


Is there a reason not to combine Roman Inquisition and this article? Are they actually "different" offices, or has merely the name and possibly the focus changed? My Catholic history is somewhat lacking, and I'm not sure which would become the actual article title. -- nae'blis (talk) 19:03, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

If merged CDF would have to become the article title as it is the current name of the institution. The difference between the Roman Inquisition and the CDF is (I believe) that the former was only a tribunal, it only had jurisdiction to react to cases of heresy. The CDF on the other hand has the task of assisting Bishops in their role as teachers of the faith.[5] To that end it has published a series of "Instructions (notably Dominus Iesus) which are not judgments made in particular cases but a general statement of Catholic teaching. That said the CDF's own site traces its origins to the Roman Inquisition. A reason against merging might be that we end up with yet another overburdened article. I say keep them separate. It is easy to link the two and they don't really duplicate each other. The connections between CDF and the Roman Inquisition could be stated more clearly in the CDF article. Stroika 21:02, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

It certainly is not wrong to consider merging, but it makes sense to consider how people will use the article. People doing genuine research on the Inquisition may be intrigued to learn that the modern Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is its progenitor, but when they search for article titles, they ought to be able to find one on the Inquisition itself. Most people interested in the CDF are probably interested in Pope Benedict XVI or one of the major publications, and again, it's intriguing to get some reference to the history, but they need easy access to CDF information.--Morsefan 01:47, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[edit]

I do agree that this article should be merged. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is clearly the direct descendant of the Roman Inquisition. One must also consider the Holy Office, as it was called between 1908 and 1966.

I have added an article on the archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Whilst it is at present only open until 1903 (and I do not believe it will be opened further even in the long term), the fact that much information has come out of the record between 1542 and 1902 should certainly warrant an article under the title above.


Is it correct that this congregation is staffed mostly/solely by Dominican monks? David.Monniaux 19:28, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

David, no it is incorrect. I think you are thinking of the orignial inquistion, that was largely staffed by Dominicans (who by the way, are mendicants and not monks). The modern CDF employees priests and religious from around the world, and from many different religious communities.DaveTroy 11:25, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


Among the most known punished priests are Maciel,..

That link goes to a disambiguation page. The only likely candidate on that page is Antônio Conselheiro. I do not know the background well enough to confirm that this is the intended reference. That page does give some indication of disagreement with the formal religious organisation, but does not give sufficient detail to confirm that this is the person who fell foul of what would at that time have been the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. Can someone who knows the original intent review the link in question and if appropriate replace the link to the disambig page with a direct reference?--Shoka 16:23, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Fixed. -- Cat Whisperer 16:36, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Cannot get a reference to a sub-sub section to work. There is a reasonable discussion of Fr Tissa Balasuriya (Sri Lanka) to fix the next redlink, but I can't make a link to that sub sub section work. Help appreciated.--Shoka 16:56, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Robert_Nugent_Lynch looks like a candidate for the next redlink. Again confirm or deny?--Shoka 17:02, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Different Nugent. The section on Balasuriya is a bullet, not a sub-sub-section, so there is no way to link to it directly without changing the target article Heresy in the 20th century to use triple equals "===" instead of bullet "*". -- Cat Whisperer 17:25, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Opinions and publications[edit]

Does the article really include the most relevant information here? For example, the article does not mention Donum Vitae, which is very frequently cited in works referencing Catholic teaching on stem cell research, artificial human reproduction and the like. Also, it is not unreasonable to mention and link to the actual correspondence with investigated theologians -- much of it is on the Vatican website. The nice thing about making those references available to people is that issues such as whether someone was "punished" or "silenced" would be more easily resolved without Wikipedia feeling the responsibility to make the decision.

On a related topic, issues such as whether the CDF "silences" people were dealt with indirectly on the Pope Benedict XVI discussion page. I think they got it right. The CDF does not silence anyone; it asks/requires those teaching theology inconsistent with the teachings of the Church to stop teaching it as "Catholic theology." There are arguments that Hans Kung, for example, may have felt liberated in his work after his censure. I don't think that should go in an article unless there is a citation straight to Kung, but it counsels caution on using journalistic-type writing on these complex subjects--Morsefan 01:56, 18 August 2007 (UTC).

Doctrinal note[edit]

I have seen several documents from the CDF entitled doctrinal note. Perhaps it would be a good idea to explain the juridical value of such a note. ADM (talk) 09:57, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

The competency of the CDF[edit]

"These crimes, in a "motu proprio" of 2001, "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela", come under the competency of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In effect, it is the "promoter of justice" who deals with, among other things, the question of priests accused of paedophilia, which are periodically highlighted in the mass media."

This might be true in a blinkered, Holy See-centric world-view that sees canon law and the CDF as the true and final arbiter over the crime of paedophilia. In reality though, and in the laws of most countries, the 'competency' to deal such crimes (or accusations of such crimes) rests with law enforcement agencies, in the first instance, and with the judiciary thereafter. The only real role the CDF and the church should have in such matters is that of discharging its legal duty to report such crimes (or accusations of such crimes) to the proper authorities and, only thereafter, applying what *additional* rules, procedures, or punishments are appropriate within the context of canon law. The fact that "the CDF was given a broader mandate to address the sex abuse cases" is besides the point. It it not what the CDF *does* do in these cases that matters (i.e. applying its own religious law). It is what it *doesn't* do (i.e. fulfill its legal obligation in the various jurisdictions where the church operates to report such cases). (Excepting that what it does do, quite demonstrably in most cases, is obstruct justice by silence, obfuscation and the shuffling accused priests between dioceses, whilst also swearing victims to silence.)

This article, and perhaps the section 'Role' could do with expanding to include not just the self-described role of the CDF but also its de facto role and function, in-so-far as it can be demonstrated by the available (and citable) evidence. It is also remarkable that there is no section on criticism of the CDF. There has been plenty of it in the national media of many countries for the CDF's role in protecting and colluding with paedophile priests. A more detailed and unified treatment of the role of the Vatican, the Holy See, and in particular the CDF and the current Pope (who was long-time head of the CDF) is that of Geoffrey Robertson, QC in "The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuses". Should a section to cover these issues be included, tightly referenced to original sources, titled 'Criticism'? (Or will this just kick off a delete war?) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

There may, perhaps, be a criticism section about the CDF's actions against well-beloved national petty disorthodox theologians, as there certainly is criticism around for that (though I don't share it). Yet, even with the plenty in the national media of many countries about pedophile priests (recte ephebophile, but let that pass), with all they did cover, I do not remember to see any criticism of the CDF. I saw much, much, criticism against national hierarchies and diocesan bureaucracies. I saw some criticism against "the Pope", apparently for the reason that we were dealing with the Catholic Church and the Pope is Catholic. I did not see criticism of the CDF.
Besides, about that "legal duty to report" thing. The CDF to my knowledge was not guitly of what you might allude it was. We have to distinguish. Either the knowledge comes from the Confessional, in which case reporting is out of the question. Or the knowledge comes from sources without such barriers, such as the victims. In this case, the Church did report - in countries where such legal duty actually existed. In others (in Germany, you must report attempts of still hinderable future crimes of murder, treason, robbery and the like, but not any crime whatsoever), she did not but let the victims decide (the policy has been reversed but there's nothing wrong with it itself). -- (talk) 10:31, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Need a separate article on just what the dickens a Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is[edit]

There are lots of articles in Wikipedia which reference a Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (without the wikilink), as if the rest of the world would know what that is. Could somebody with more competence in Roman doctrine please do us the honor of explaining; and then maybe throw in a handful of wikilinks where they would do the most good, including in this article itself? --Orange Mike | Talk 19:27, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

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