(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the annual Plenary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) on Friday in the Vatican.
Listen to Christopher Altieri's report:
The CDF is tasked with a range of responsibilities, from determining the doctrinal soundness of theological and catechetical works, to advising and giving judgment on matters relating to areas like medicine and bioethics, to conducting canonical trials in cases of child sex abuse by clergy – work for which the Holy Father had words of praise and encouragement.
Pope Francis focused his broad-ranging remarks around three distinct points: the inter-relatedness of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; the importance of collegiality in ecclesial life and governance; the complementary relationship of charismatic and hierarchical gifts in the life and mission of the Church.
“When, in the evening of life,” said Pope Francis, “it shall be asked of us what we did to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, equally shall it be asked of us if we helped people find their way out of doubt, if we were committed to welcoming sinners – admonishing or correcting them, if we were capable of combatting ignorance, especially that ignorance which regards Christian faith and the good life.”
The Pope went on to praise the initiatives of the CDF in building and strengthening rapports with various bishops’ conferences, especially those of Europe, which, he said, “contribute to stirring up in the faithful a new missionary élan and a greater openness to the transcendent dimension of life, without which Europe risks losing that humanistic spirit which she loves and defends.”
Pope Francis went on to explain that the Church’s hierarchical structure and the movements of the Spirit in the Church’s life are both gifts of God to be cherished and nurtured, especially through an ever-greater appreciation of Synodality. “The relation between the hierarchical and charismatic gifts, in fact, directs us to its Trinitarian root, in the bond that unites the divine Logos incarnate and the Holy Spirit, who is always a gift of the Father and the Son.”