Vatican City, March 19, 2022 / 05:20 (CNA).
The Vatican on Saturday released a long-awaited document implementing Pope Francis’ reform of the organization and structure of the Roman curia.
the apostolic constitution, predicate evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”), was released on March 19 after nine years of production by the Council of Cardinal Counselors to the Pope.
predicate evangelium replaces Minister’s premiumthe apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia promulgated by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988, then modified by Popes Benedict and Francis.
With the publication of the new constitution, Minister’s premium is “fully repealed and replaced”.
The constitution was issued on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the ninth anniversary of the inauguration of the pontificate of Pope Francis. It will take full effect on June 5, Solemnity of Pentecost.
Under the new constitution, all departments of the Vatican are now called “dicasteries”. The powerful Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for example, will henceforth be known as the “Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
In addition to removing the title “Congregation” from Vatican departments, the new constitution renames the Pontifical Councils into “dicasteries.”
The Office of Papal Charities, headed by the papal chaplain, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, becomes the new Dicastery for the service of charity.
The 16 Dicasteries will be known as the Dicastery for Evangelization, Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dicastery for the Service of Charity, Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Dicastery for the causes of the saints. , Department for Bishops, Department for Clergy, Department for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Department for Laity, Family and Life, Department for Promoting Christian Unity, Department for interreligious dialogue, Department of Culture and Education, Department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Department for Legislative Texts and Department for Communication.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples are merged into the Dicastery for Evangelization, presided over directly by the Pope.
The document explains that “it became necessary to reduce the number of departments, bringing together those whose vocation was very similar or complementary, and to rationalize their functions with the aim of avoiding overlapping of competences and making their work more effective”.
The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education are united within the Dicastery for Culture and Education, divided into two sections.
The objectives of the reform are set out in a section entitled “Principles and Criteria for the Service of the Roman Curia”.
It sets out 11 guiding principles: “Service to the mission of the Pope”, “Co-responsibility in the communio”, “Service to the mission of the bishops”, “Support to the particular Churches and their Episcopal Conferences and Eastern hierarchical structures”, ” The vicarious nature of the Roman Curia”, “Spirituality”, “Personal integrity and professionalism”, “Collaboration between the dicasteries”, “Inter- and intra-dicasterial meetings”, “Expression of catholicity” and “Reduction of the dicasteries”.
When elected in 2013, Pope Francis was widely seen as having a mandate to reform the Roman curia. During the first nine years of his pontificate, he issued decrees modifying Vatican law and structures, which are reflected in the text of the new constitution.
The document confirms changes at the former Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith unveiled by Pope Francis in February.
The pope reorganized the internal structure of the Vatican Doctrine Office into two sections: a doctrinal section and a disciplinary section.
Establishing the responsibilities of the doctrinal section, the new constitution states that it works in close contact with church leaders throughout the world “in the exercise of their mission as authentic teachers and teachers of the faith, of which they are bound to safeguard and promote the integrity of this faith.
The section “examines writings and opinions which appear contrary or harmful to good faith and good morals; it seeks dialogue with their authors and presents the appropriate remedies to be applied, in accordance with its own standards.
It “shall also endeavor to secure an adequate refutation of the errors and dangerous doctrines which are spreading among the Christian people”.
The constitution states that the new Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is responsible for organizing “the drafting or revision and updating of the [original Latin] editions of liturgical books.
“The dicastery confirms the translations of the liturgical books into the current languages and gives recognition [formal recognition] to their appropriate adaptations to local cultures, legitimately approved by the episcopal conferences,” he says.
He adds that “the dicastery deals with the regulation and discipline of the sacred liturgy with regard to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite”.
Pope Francis took over restrictions on the celebration of Masses of Extraordinary Form – also known as Traditional Latin Masses – in his Apostolic Letter of July 2021 Traditional custodians.
The Council of Cardinals ended the first try of the new constitution in 2018. The text was then circulated to the presidents of the national episcopal conferences, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the synods of the Eastern Churches, the conferences of major superiors and certain pontifical universities for comments in 2019.
The Council of Cardinals met in February 2020 to “an in-depth proofreading and revision” of the document.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the cardinals continued to revise the text to virtual meetings with Pope Francis.
Seven cardinals currently sit on the Council of Cardinals, assisted by Bishop Secretary Marco Mellino: Honduran Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, who acts as coordinator; the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin; Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State; Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay; German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising; American Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston; and Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa.
In January 2021, Parolin said that “significant progress” had already been made in the Pope’s reform of the Roman Curia, particularly with regard to Vatican finances, pointing to the creation of the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy and the Office of the Auditor General.
He added that other reforms could include merging the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples with the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization and combining the Congregation for Catholic Education with the Pontifical Council for Culture.
“But these are minor actions compared to what has already been done,” he said. “It is now a question of making homogeneous all the reforms which have been made, by means of the new apostolic constitution.
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