This congregation safeguards the doctrine of faith and morals, examining doctrinal questions, writings and theological opinions, providing a forum for those under scrutiny to defend their views. This congregation, under the stewardship of one of the most well-known prelates besides the Pope himself - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect - examines matters pertaining to the Petrine Privilege also called the "Privilege of Faith" in regards marriage cases as well as preserving the dignity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation including the Seal of Confession. Two commissions are attached to this congregation, which is responsible for the Pontifical Biblical Commission of which Cardinal Ratzinger is President and the International Theological Commission as well which is an advisory board composed of no more than 30 theologians who answer to Cardinal Ratzinger.
This Sacred Congregation began during the pontificate of Pope Innocent III as the Holy Office of the Inquisition to combat heresy. In his Apostolic Constitution Licet Pope Paul III made it a permanent congregation of cardinals with supreme and universal competence over all issues concerning heresy and those suspected of being heretics. The name was changed early in this century by Pope Saint Pius X to the Congregation of the Holy Office and Pope Paul VI, in his Motu Proprio Integrage Servandae reorganized this congregation giving it its present title in an effort to get away from the negative concept of only dealing with heresy. Since then, especially during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II the emphasis has been on promotion of orthodox doctrine, faithfully implemented by Cardinal Ratzinger since his appointment as Prefect in 1981.
This congregation is headed by Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, O.P. of Brazil who was appointed Prefect by John Paul II on June 25, 1988 during the Consistory where he also was welcomed into the cardinalate. The Congregation for Bishops has jurisdiction over the the functions of bishops of the world and the sees they serve. Attached to this congregation are the Pontifical Commission for Latin America established on April 19, 1958 by Pope Pius XII and restructured by John Paul II in 1988 and headed by Cardinal Bernardin Gantin of Benin, Africa, and the central coordinating office for Military Vicars which our present Pope created on February 2, 1985, and an office for coordinating the bishops scheduled visits to Rome, called ad limina visits, mandatory for all bishops as of June 29, 1988.
The origins of this congregation date back to Pope Sixtus V on January 22, 1588 when, in his Apostolic Constitution Immensa he formed it as part of the Roman Curia as the Consistorial Congregation. Pope St. Pius X extended the congregation's powers on June 20, 1908 as did Pius XII on August 1, 1952 with his Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia. Its duties were reorganized by Pope Paul VI on August 1, 1967 and given its current title. On June 28, 1988 John Paul II redefined its responsibilities adding ad limina visits at that time.
This congregation deals with the life, discipline, rights and duties of the clergy universally. It oversees the preaching of the Word, catechetics, norms for religious education for both children and adults in dioceses and parishes. It also governs the preservation and administration of the temporal goods of the Church. The Prefect since February 21, 1998 has been Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia. Attached to his congregation is the International Council for Catechetics which Paul VI created in 1973 and the Institute "Sacrum Ministerum" established through John Paul II's Apotolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis in 1992 for the permanent formation of the clergy.
This Curia office began as the Congregation of the Cardinals Interpreters of the Council of Trent through the Apostolic Constitution Alias Nos by Pope Pius IV on August 2, 1564. The title was changed by Pope Gregory XIII and further revised by Pope Sixtus V as the Congregation of the Council which it remained until renamed it present title by Paul VI on August 15, 1967 and further redefined by John Paul II on June 28, 1988 with the added responsibilities of the attached commissions.
Death of Saint Lambert of Maestricht in Flanders, Bishop and Abbot who was martyred by relatives for denouncing Pepin for his adulterous affair.
Death of Saint Hildegard prioress and mystic who was called the "Prophetess of the Rhine" because of her prophecies.
Commemoration of the Stigmata endowed on Saint Francis of Assisi at Mount Alverno where the five wounds of the crucified Christ shot like fiery rays into the hands, feet and side of Francis.
Death of Saint Peter of Arbues in Spain. He became a priest and was appointed inquisitor for the Kingdom of Aragon by Cardinal Thomas Torquemada. During his rule as Inquisitor, not one person was tortured or put to death by Peter. Nevertheless, the heretics he was seeking out - the Marranos (Catholics who had opted for Judaism) assailed him while he was in prayer on September 15 and he died of wounds inflicted by them two days later. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867. .
Birth of Camillo Borghese in Rome who would go on to become the 233rd successor of Peter as Pope Paul V on May 16, 1605 and reign until January 21, 1621.
Pope Clemens VIII recognizes Henry IV as King of France by absolving him of his excommunication lowered by Pope Sixtus V. It would lead to his reluctant acceptance of the Edict of Nantes which gave the Huguenots religious freedom.
Death of Saint Robert Bellarmine. For more on this holy Bishop, Religious and Doctor of the Church click on TODAY'S LITURGY.
Pope Clement XIII releases his second encyclical Cum primum on observing canonical sanctions..
Pope Pius IX issues his 22nd encyclical to the bishops of Bogata titled Incredibili on persecution in New Granada.
The encyclical Etsi Nos is the tenth encyclical ushered by Pope Leo XIII. Auspicato concessum on Saint Francis of Assisi and his stigmata.
Treaty of Crepy in which the German Holy Emperor Charles V and the king of France Francois I signed a peace treaty which enables the Church to proceed with the much needed Council of Trent which would follow soon after through the cooperation and urging of Pope Paul III.
Death of Saint Joseph of Cupertino, a Franciscan Tertiary of the Conventual Franciscans who was a mystic receiving messages and purported to have levitations whose ecstacies during this time were a great embarassment to scholars in the Church who could not explain the phenomena. He was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. Today St. Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of air travelers and pilots.
Pope Gregory XVI issues his seventh encyclical Probe nostis on the Propagation of the Faith.
Pope Leo XIII releases his 68th encyclical, this one on the education of the Clergy entitled Paternae.