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Covering the Vatican



of state’s office: phone 06-6988-3913; e-mail . Fo


general affairs: phone 06-6988-3438; e-mail . Fo


foreign affairs: phone 06-6988-3014; e-mail

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The oldest of the Curia’s congregations, the doctrinal office was founded

in 1542 as the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition. The Inquisition got

dropped from the name in 1908, and Pope Paul VI bestowed the current

name in 1965. According to a document from Pope John Paul II, its duty

is “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole

Catholic world” (

Pastor Bonus

, no. 48). It is divided into three sections: the

doctrinal office, the disciplinary office and the matrimonial office. The con-

gregation is responsible for publishing doctrinal material (the 2000 document

Dominus Iesus

or the 2007 position on artificial nutrition and hydration, for

example), investigating the writings of others for possible errors, taking dis-

ciplinary action (including cases of clerical sexual abuse), and making some

marriage decisions.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also presides

over the

Pontifical Biblical Commission

and the

International Theological


. They are groups of biblical and theological experts, respec-

tively, from around the world who are called on by the congregation or the

pope as consultants on biblical or theological issues. Each commission has a

yearly plenary meeting in Rome. The theological commission is a bit more

prolific than the biblical commission in issuing documents on various themes.

In 2007 it released a noteworthy commentary critiquing the traditional con-

cept of limbo, saying there was good reason to hope that babies who die with-

out being baptized go to heaven.

The congregation’s prefect is a German, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Its secre-

tary is Archbishop Luis F. Landaria, SJ. The undersecretary, also an American,

is Dominican Father J. Augustine Di Noia. The promoter of justice is Msgr.

Charles Scicluna. E-mail . Ph

one 06-6988-3357 or 3413.

The biblical commission’s secretary is Jesuit Father Klemens Stock. E-mail . Ph

one 06-6988-4682. The theological commission’s

secretary general is Jesuit Father Luis F. Ladaria. Phone 06-6988-4727.

Congregation for the Oriental Churches

This is a kind of super-congregation for all matters pertaining to the Eastern

Catholic churches, in their original homelands and wherever they have