VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has appointed new members of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
The new members are Cardinals Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; Claudio Hummes, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; and Mario Francesco Pompedda, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.
The Holy Father on Friday also appointed these archbishops as new members of the congregation: Henryk Muszynski of Gniezno, Poland; and Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France. Bishop Salvatore Fisichella, honorable chancellor of the Lateran University in Rome, was also appointed.
The members advise those who direct the congregation and meet in plenary assembly every two years.
Founded in 1542 by Pope Paul III with the constitution “Licet ab initio,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition, as its duty was to defend the Church from heresy. It is the oldest of the Curia’s nine congregations.
Now, according to the Pope’s 1988 apostolic constitution “Pastor Bonus,” “the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matters falls within its competence.”