On January 17, 2019, Pope Francis abolished the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” that John Paul II had created in 1988 and Benedict XVI had attached to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2009 in order to facilitate the discussions with the Society of Saint Pius X.
While noting that its doctrinal yet essential purpose has not been achieved, Francis decided to transfer the competencies of the Commission to a special office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The personnel have remained the same, except for its secretary, Abp. Guido Pozzo, who has been appointed Superintendent of the Economy (Treasurer) of the Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel.
On March 30, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Patrick Descourtieux the head of the section within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Insiders say that the French priest will be specifically in charge of relations with the communities that the former Pontifical Commission dealt with.
Msgr. Patrick Descourtieux is a French priest who since 2010 has been released by the Archdiocese of Paris and placed at the disposal of the CDF. A former student of the École Normale Supérieure on the rue d’Ulm, with a doctorate in theology and a license to teach that subject, Msgr. Descourtieux was ordained in 1986. After serving as assistant priest in the parish of Saint-Séverin in Paris, he was sent to Rome in 1989 as a member of the French Section of the Secretariat of State. In 1999 he became Rector of Trinité-des Monts, one of the five French national churches in the Eternal City, while teaching at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum from 2002 on.
Since 2010 he has worked as an official within the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, while continuing to teach patristics. He has published in the series Sources Chrétiennes of the publishing house Éditions du Cerf two books on Clement of Alexandria and two more about the Commentaries on the Psalms by Saint Hilary of Poitiers.
It is to be hoped that Msgr. Descourtieux will work effectively to defend the interests of Tradition, which is not limited to a liturgical and spiritual practice but also and essentially to the defense and the transmission of the Catholic faith.