Pope Francis Names Secretaries of Doctrinal and Disciplinary Sections of CDF

New appointments have been made to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

New appointments were made April 23.
New appointments were made April 23. (photo: Unsplash)

Pope Francis on Saturday appointed secretaries of the doctrinal and disciplinary sections of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The Pope named Msgr. Armando Matteo, 51, as the secretary of the Doctrinal Section of the CDF and Msgr. John Joseph Kennedy, 53, as the secretary of its Disciplinary Section on April 23.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, 78, remains as the head of the CDF with the new appointments. He has served as its prefect since July 2017.

Under Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia, solidified by the implementation of the apostolic constitution, Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel) last month, the internal structure of the CDF has been reorganized into two sections.

When the new apostolic constitution comes into force on June 5, the Vatican’s doctrinal and disciplinary office will also be known by a new name, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Msgr. Matteo will lead the CDF’s Doctrinal Section, which is responsible for matters “having to do with the promotion and protection of the doctrine of faith and morals,” according to the motu proprio, Fidem Servare, issued by Pope Francis on Feb. 14.

The theologian and professor at the Pontifical Urbaniana University is originally from the Archdiocese of Catanzaro-Squillace in Calabria in southern Italy. He has served as the adjunct under-secretary of the CDF since April 2021. 

Msgr. Matteo holds a degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The Doctrinal Section examines Curial documents before their publication to assure they are doctrinally sound. Pope Francis said it will also examine “writings and opinions which appear problematic for the correct faith, encouraging dialogue with their authors and proposing the appropriate suitable remedies to be applied.”

The section will also be responsible for issues regarding Anglican personal ordinariates.

Msgr. Kennedy will head the Disciplinary Section, which deals with certain serious canonical crimes.

Originally from Dublin, Msgr. Kennedy has worked as an official within the CDF since 2003 and has served as the head of its disciplinary section since 2017. He holds a licentiate and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

It is expected that Cardinal Ladaria, who turned 78 this week, will be replaced as prefect of the CDF within the year.

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