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CDF may take responsibility for Vatican office on protecting children

January 31, 2014

A new Vatican office for the protection of children may be attached to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Pope Francis announced during a January 31 meeting with CDF officials.

The CDF has held the responsibility for dealing with cases involving clerical abuse of children, and Pope Francis thanked the officials for “your efforts in dealing with sensitive issues regarding the most serious crimes,” particularly the abuse of children. He said that the new office should become “an example for all those who wish to promote the welfare of children.”

Speaking more generally about the work of the CDF, the Pope said that the Church must guard against “a temptation to understand doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a set of abstract and fossilized theories. Doctrine, he stressed, serves the cause of faith, and the work of the CDF should protect the faithful.

The Pope encouraged CDF officials to be engage in “constructive, respectful, and patient dialogue” with the authors whose works the office is questioning. He also recommended a collegial approach, recognizing the importance of open dialogue and shared communion.

The plenary session of the CDF is devoted to a discussion of faith and marriage, and Pope Francis said that the issue has “great importance” to the Church today. He alluded to the remark by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Church may need to study the question of whether many Catholic couples enter into marriage without an adequate understanding of the meaning of the sacrament.


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