On his own initiative Pope Francis has issued a decree that modifies both the structure and the emphases of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) – notorious for its roles in the adjudication of clerical abuse and the monitoring of the writings of theologians.
According to a report by Gerald O’Connell in the US Jesuit journal America, there is some speculation in Rome that with a new remit to review ‘progress of the sciences’ the CDF may look at LGBT issues – the realm of sexuality.
Structurally the CDF is now to give equal attention to doctrinal and disciplinary issues, with a full secretary for each. However, the following sentence in the pope’s motu proprio has aroused great interest.
“The doctrinal section deals with matters pertaining to the promotion and protection of the doctrine of faith and morals. It also promotes studies aimed at increasing the understanding and transmission of the faith at the service of evangelization, so that its light may be a criterion for understanding the meaning of existence, especially in the face of the questions posed by the progress of the sciences and the development of society.”
However, the phrase ‘progress of the sciences’ covers the entire frontier of ongoing science, so all speculation on what the CDF is to look at may well be premature.
To read the full report in America, click here.