Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: Cardinal Fernández’s First Year: Undermining His Own Magisterium?

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Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández in Rome [photo: Vatican Media]

By Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, The Catholic Thing, July 6, 2024

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is a Canadian priest, Catholic commentator, and Senior Fellow at Cardus.

Víctor Manuel Fernández has been busy during his first year in office. But has he been effective?

Appointed one year ago this week as prefect of the Vatican’s doctrinal office – in the past known colloquially in Rome as “La Suprema” and now officially as the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) – Cardinal Fernández has had an intense year, giving official responses to questions about Holy Communion for couples living together outside valid marriagestransgender godparentsfreemasonry, and cremation; declarations on blessing same-sex couples and human dignity; a note on the valid administration of the sacraments, and norms on judging supernatural phenomena.

Yet amidst this flurry of magisterial activity, Cardinal Fernández may have undermined the very magisterium he has so vigorously exercised. He has taught energetically, but in a manner that makes unclear what is being taught. Such an approach can erode magisterial authority, not because Catholics might dissent from magisterial teaching, but because it is no longer clear what magisterial teaching is. …