Founded in 1542 by Pope Paul III with the Constitution “Licet ab initio,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition as its duty was to defend the Church from heresy. It is the oldest of the Roman Curia’s nine congregations.
Pope St. Pius X in 1908 changed the name to the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. It received its current name in 1965 from Pope Paul VI. Today, according to Article 48 of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, “Pastor Bonus”, promulgated by the Holy Father John Paul II on June 28, 1988, “the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence.”
See also the CDF fonds