Volume > Issue > Fiducia Supplicans: A Fine Mess

Fiducia Supplicans: A Fine Mess


By Pieter Vree | April 2024
Pieter Vree is Editor of the NOR.

Once upon a time, the Catholic Church had a well-respected and often feared curial division. One of its purposes was to censure and correct errant strains of theological thought and combat heterodoxy and heresy. In its earlier iteration as the foremost defender of orthodox Catholic doctrine, it was commonly known as the Holy Office. In more recent years, it was called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Back in those halcyon days, it was manned by serious and competent theologians, and its edicts were often highly anticipated and studiously received.

Those days are over.

Two years ago, Pope Francis renamed it the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF). But it might more fittingly be called the Silly Office as it’s now manned by charlatans who, by all appearances, seem to be less interested in defending the Deposit of Faith handed down by the Apostles than in conforming it to current mores.

Nothing makes this clearer than the row over the first edict issued by its recently installed prefect, Víctor Manuel Cardinal Fernández. Nicknamed “Tucho,” this Argentinian prelate has been called the Pope’s “primary ghostwriter” and is widely believed to be the author of Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016), which infamously calls for greater latitude in allowing divorced and “remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion. He also wrote two books of erotic theology, Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing (1995) and The Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality (1998), the latter of which contains graphic descriptions of sexual relations and a discussion of what Señor Tucho calls “mystical orgasm.”

Creepy! Yes, this is the man now overseeing the doctrinal office.

When announcing Fernández’s appointment to the DDF, Francis included what Elise Ann Allen, senior correspondent for Crux.com (July 1, 2023), called a “highly unusual personal letter” expressing his expectations of Fernández in his new role. In the past, Francis wrote, the Holy Office used “immoral methods” to “persecute…possible doctrinal errors.” Is this a veiled critique of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who was prefect of the CDF for over 23 years before ascending to the papal throne? Or is Francis cribbing the caricatures of the Inquisition found in secular history books? Who knows! He doesn’t bother to specify what those “immoral methods” were or when they were used.

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