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Argentine Archbishop Fernández named Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith

July 01, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has named Argentine Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández as the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, effective in mid-September.

Archbishop Fernández succeeds Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, who has led the dicastery since 2017.

The author of dozens of works—including Sáname con tu boca: El arte de besar (Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing, 1995)—Archbishop Fernández is widely believed to have drafted Amoris Laetitia.

The Argentine archbishop, now 60, was ordained to the priesthood in 1986. In 2009, the future Pope Francis, with the support of the episcopal conference, appointed Father Fernández the rector of Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, but the appointment was an interim one until the Vatican granted formal approval in 2011.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then under the leadership of Cardinal William Levada, objected to Fernández’s appointment as rector, but the future Pope Francis interceded with Pope Benedict to permit the appointment, according to reports in the religious and secular press.

Two months after the 2013 papal election, Pope Francis named Fernández a titular archbishop, and in 2018, the Pontiff named him Archbishop of La Plata.

“The dicastery over which you will preside in other times came to use immoral methods,” Pope Francis said in a letter to Archbishop Fernández. “Those were times when, rather than promoting theological knowledge, possible doctrinal errors were pursued. What I expect from you is certainly something very different.”

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