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Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández (CNA/Daniel Ibanez)

Following his appointment as head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, Argentine Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández has defended a controversial book and hit back against American critics of the text and of Pope Francis. Source: Crux.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Archbishop Fernández, whose appointment as the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) was announced on Saturday, voiced gratitude for the messages of support he has received but noted that “there are also groups opposed to Francis that are enraged.”

These groups “go so far as to use unethical means to harm me”, he said, and pointed to critics of a booklet he wrote in 1995 on kissing, titled, Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing. It was published in English in 2017.

The book’s introduction states that, “this book was not written based on my own experience, but based on the lives of people who kiss,” and it says the intention was to focus on what various poets had said about kissing.

Archbishop Fernández, who was a 33-year-old pastor at the time, said in his Facebook post that he was inspired by writings of the Church Fathers and as a young priest, he wanted “to reach the youth” at his parish.

He said “extreme groups” have criticised and “humiliated” him for the book for years, accusing him of embracing low-level theology.

He said the “attacks” he has faced over the book “come from Catholics in the United States” who do not know Spanish and who he said have mistranslated words.

He insisted that he was not attempting to defend himself with the Facebook post, but rather, wanted to make some clarifications “to prevent any of you from feeling confused or suffering from these and other accusations, but above all I do it so that they do not try to harm Francis.”


Pope’s new doctrine czar fires back at US critics on kissing book (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)