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Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis has named Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, his longtime personal theologian and ghostwriter, to lead the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Source: CNA.

The Argentine prelate succeeds Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, 79, who has been prefect of the dicastery since 2017.

Archbishop Fernández, almost 61, will take up his new post in the middle of September, the Vatican said. The prolific writer has been archbishop of La Plata, Argentina, since 2018.

“As the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, I entrust to you a task that I consider very valuable,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to Archbishop Fernández, published on Saturday with the announcement of his appointment.

The Pope said the dicastery at times has promoted pursuing “doctrinal errors” over “promoting theological knowledge”.

“What I expect from you is certainly something very different,” Francis said. “I ask you as prefect to dedicate your personal commitment in a more direct way to the main purpose of the dicastery, which is ‘guarding the faith.’”

Archbishop Fernández posted a photo of himself with Pope Francis on Twitter on June 30, the day before the announcement of his appointment as doctrine prefect.

He said he spent the week with the Pope and called it “the new stage for Francis”.

“He works more hours than anyone else in the Vatican,” the archbishop wrote in Spanish. “Here he is seen tired after five hours with dense stuff, but after a siesta he was perfect and happy.”

Archbishop Fernández is a controversial figure in the Church in Argentina, in part because of some of his past publications. The theologian has published more than 300 articles and books.


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