The ECDF is a consultative body meant to assist the Episcopal Conference itself and the individual bishops in the teaching of
the faith. The Code of Canon Law describes the teaching office of the Church as an "obligation and inherent right", "independent of any human authority (…); for it is to the Church that Christ the Lord entrusted
the deposit of faith, so that by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, it might conscientiously guard revealed truth, more intimately penetrate it, and faithfully proclaim and expound it" (Can. 747 §1).
should be noted that ECDF (and the CBCP as such) does not replace an individual bishop's God-given authority to teach and safeguard the faith to the flock entrusted to him. The role of ECDF is simply to facilitate
and support the exercise of that authority by the bishop of the place. The recent Letter Motu proprio of Pope John Paul II, "Apostolos suos", issued last May 21, 1998, says: "The very nature
of the teaching office of Bishops requires that, when they exercise it jointly through the Episcopal Conference, this be done in the plenary assembly. Smaller bodies—the permanent council, a commission or other
offices—do not have the authority to carry out acts of authentic magisterium either in their own name or in the name of the Conference, and not even as a task assigned to them by the Conference" (no. 23). "The
essential fact must be kept in mind that the Episcopal Conferences with their commissions and offices exist to be of help to the Bishops and not to substitute for them" (no. 18).
Apostolos suos, in
like manner, explains how an Episcopal Conference serves the teaching office of bishops: "The concerted voice of the Bishops of a determined territory, when, in communion with the Roman Pontiff, they jointly proclaim
the catholic truth in matters of faith and morals, can reach their people more effectively and can make it easier for their faithful to adhere to the magisterium with a sense of religious respect. In
faithfully exercising their teaching office, the Bishops serve the word of God, to which their teaching is subject, they listen to it devoutly, guard it scrupulously and explain it faithfully in such a way that the
faithful receive it in the best manner possible (Cf. Dei Verbum, 10). Since the doctrine of the faith is a common good of the whole Church and a bond of her communion, the Bishops, assembled in Episcopal
Conference, must take special care to follow the magisterium of the universal Church and to communicate it opportunely to the people entrusted to them" (no. 21 §2).
The composition of ECDF is as follows:
Chairman: Archbishop Pedro R. Dean
Vice-Chairman: Archbishop Diosdado A. Talamayan
Members: Bishop Antonieto D. Cabajog
Bishop Wilfredo D. Manlapaz
Bishop Emilio Z. Marquez
Bishop Jose S. Palma
Bishop Antonio R. Rañola
Exec. Secretary: Rev. Fr. Luis P. Supan, Ph.D.Rev. Fr. Lope Robredillo, S.T.D.
The ECDF counts on the help of a group of Consultors, experts in the sacred sciences and professors in various faculties of
theology. But decisions made by ECDF are to be attributed to the Bishops-members of the commission alone.
- Rev. Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J., S.T.D.
Professor, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University
- Msgr. Sabino Vengco, S.T.D.
Professor, Immaculate Conception Seminary, Bulacan
- Rev. Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana, O.P., S.T.D.
Rector, Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas (UST)
- Rev. Fr. Luis Antonio G. Tagle, S.T.D.
Rector, Diocesan Seminary of Imus
Member, International Theological Commission
Professor, St. John the Evangelist School of Theology
Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar
- Rev. Fr. Jose Antonio E. Aureada, O.P., S.T.D.
Dean, UST Graduate Schools
Theology professor, UST Ecclesiastical Faculties
- Rev. Fr. Rene Lagaya, SDB, S.T.D.
Professor, Don Bosco Center of Studies
- Rev. Fr. Jerry Bitoon, S.T.D., Rector, St. Peter College Seminary
Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna
Rev. Fr. Gregory D. Gaston, S.T.D.
Dean, Graduate School of Theology, San Carlos Seminary, Manila