Pope Francis announced Fernández’s appointment to the influential dicastery on July 1. A longtime personal theologian and ghostwriter for the pope, Fernández is expected to take up his new post in mid-September.
“As the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, I entrust to you a task that I consider very valuable,” Pope Francis wrote in a July 1 letter to Fernández. “I ask you as prefect to dedicate your personal commitment in a more direct way to the main purpose of the dicastery, which is ‘guarding the faith.’”
Doyle said that “Fernández’ recent handling of a clergy sex abuse case in his home archdiocese of La Plata raises great concern.”
According to Doyle, Fernández “publicly defended” and supported La Plata priest Father Eduardo Lorenzo in the face of five sex abuse allegations in 2019. Doyle said that Fernandez continued to stand by Lorenzo even after an arrest warrant was issued and the priest committed suicide.
“In his response to allegations,” Doyle said that Fernández “stoutly supported the accused priest and refused to believe the victims. Showing disregard for the safety of children, Fernández kept the priest at his parish post even as more victims came forward.”
“For his handling of this case, Fernández should have been investigated, not promoted to one of the highest posts in the global Church,” Doyle said. “Nothing about his performance suggests he is fit to lead the pope’s battle against abuse and cover-up.”