The Promotion of Doctrine by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith In Light of Pastor bonus and Canon 754
The Promotion of Doctrine by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the FaithIn Light of Pastor bonus and Canon 754Very Rev. Christopher J. Beaudet, J.C.D.Director: Prof. Kurt Martens, J.C.D.ABSTRACTThe Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has safeguarded doctrine since its inception, yet the 1988 Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus describes the CDF's "proper duty" as being twofold: "to promote (promovere) and safeguard (tutari) the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world." The dissertation investigates and presents the canonical significance of the CDF's competency to promote doctrine as distinct from safeguarding it, and probes the applicability of canon 754 in determining the legally required response to doctrine promoted by the CDF on the part of the Christian faithful.The dissertation has five chapters. Chapter one provides a general sketch of the CDF's historical competency to safeguard doctrine in order to highlight its relatively recent competency to promote it. Chapter two presents the pastoral incentives which led to the reform of the Roman Curia in Pastor bonus in general and of the norms for the CDF in particular. Chapter three illustrates how the CDF, the International Theological Commission (ITC), and the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) have promoted doctrine since Pastor bonus through the analysis of selected documents. Chapter four traces the genesis, development, and pastoral incentives to the revision of canon 754 in order to draw parallels to Pastor bonus and to determine the canon's applicability to the reception of doctrine promoted by the CDF. Chapter five assesses related questions to the topic and offers an assessment of the consistency with which the CDF, ITC, and PBC have employed ecclesiastical documents for the purpose of promoting doctrine.The dissertation demonstrates that the promotion of doctrine is one modality of the CDF's bipartite proper duty such that accomplishing one task necessarily involves the other. Pastor bonus sought to emphasize the positive dimension of the CDF's service to the pope and college of bishops, an emphasis similarly reflected in the proposal of doctrine which the "legitimate authority of the Church" may do in canon 754. The study contributes to the ongoing discussions surrounding the nature and the juridical and/or doctrinal weight of CDF documents, and the proper response due to them.
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