Pope’s plan to reform Vatican Curia

Vatican curia

A new apostolic constitution for the Roman Curia which will shake up church’s central administration is almost ready to be published.

Pope Francis and the council of cardinals propose all activity in the Roman Curia should be united under a simple mission: evangelisation.

The new constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preach the Gospel”), is expected to set up a new “super dicastery” for evangelisation that would give it prominence among all Vatican bodies.

This would mean a lesser role for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema”.

For years it policed theologians, set out the boundaries of Catholic doctrine and vetted all major Vatican documents.

Under Francis, the congregation has taken more of a back-seat role.

“Pope Francis always emphasises that the church is missionary. That is why it is logical that in first place we have put the Dicastery for Evangelisation and not the Doctrine of the Faith,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the coordinator of the council of cardinals.

“In this way the Holy Father has sent a significant message of reform to the people of God.”

The new constitution puts evangelisation at the heart of the Roman Curia’s mission. This means every aspect of Catholicism’s civil service must flow from it.

The changes also send a signal to dioceses around the world to follow suit.

Along with evangelisation, the constitution makes clear that the Curia is there to serve both the pope and the local church. This means that diocesan bishops are going to be placed at the same level as prefects in Vatican departments.

Other changes in the new constitution include the establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors as part of the Curia.

This would give the child-protection body greater authority and make it more effective. One of the difficulties the commission has faced to date has been a lack of any legal status in the Vatican.

In addition, it is rumoured that the constitution will set up a new dicastery that carries out charitable works in the name of the pope.


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