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Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was formerly known as the Congregation of the Holy Office or the Roman Inquisition.

Pope Paul III established in 1542, a permanent congregation staffed with cardinals and other officials, whose task it was to maintain and defend the integrity of the faith and to examine and proscribe errors and false doctrines. This body, the Congregation of the Holy Office, now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, part of the Roman Curia, has become the supervisory body of local Roman Inquisitions.

The Pope himself holds the title of prefect but never exercises this office. Instead, he appoints one of the cardinals to preside over the meetings. There are usually ten other cardinals on the Congregation, as well as a prelate and two assistants all chosen from the Dominican order.

See also: Joseph Ratzinger



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