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Pope Francis greets new Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández after he received his red hat at the consistory on Saturday (CNS/Lola Gomez)

Pope Francis’ new doctrine chief has said he believes a revised structure for his department is working well, and now includes a “democratic system” for handling queries or complaints that prohibits him from making unilateral decisions. Source: Crux.

New Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, a close papal friend and ghostwriter who recently became prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), spoke to journalists Saturday after getting his red hat from Pope Francis alongside 20 other prelates from around the world.

Asked about his past use of social media and how he plans to engage any direct queries he receives, including those from “reactionaries” who take issue with his theology, Cardinal Fernández acknowledged that in the past, “I was used to responding directly through Facebook, but now I have to take a little more care of how I move.”

“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, adding, “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.”

When queries of any kind arrive – whether they be theological questions, doctrinal matters, or even dubia, or doubts, like those presented to the Pope ahead of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Synodality – “there is a series of steps; it passes by the team, it pass through the (weekly) meetings, then it passes by the team of member-bishops, and after it goes to the Pope,” Cardinal Fernández said.

“Then the Pope can sometimes ask us to study it better. So, it’s not that a prefect can just make his own decisions,” he said.

Cardinal Fernández, who recently met with both the disciplinary and doctrinal sections of the DDF, said he believes the department’s new structure, established as part of Francis’s recent reform of the Roman Curia, is working well, and allows more time to deal with matters that come up.


Pope’s new doctrine chief touts ‘democratic system’ for handling queries (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)