Vatican Press Conference Explains Pope Francis' New Apostolic Constitution "Praedicate Evangelium" on the Roman Curia and its Service to the Church in the World

Press Conference for the presentation of the Apostolic Constitution "Praedicate Evangelium" on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church in the world, 21.03.2022
At 11.30 this morning, the Press Conference for the presentation of the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium” on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church in the world took place in live streaming from the Press Office of the Holy See.

Speakers: Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; HE Mons. Marco Mellino, Secretary of the Council of Cardinals; and Prof. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SI, Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Faculty of Canon Law.

The following are the interventions:

Speech by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro

With the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium , a journey that began nine years ago comes to an end; since, that is, together with the announcement of the constitution of a Council of Cardinals to advise him in the governance of the universal Church, Pope Francis also announced the start of a reform of the Roman Curia (13 April 2013). The main phases and moments of this process and its progressive implementation will shortly be recalled by HE Mons. Marco Mellino, secretary of the Council of Cardinals. [1]

The choice of a perspective

One of the first tasks of the Council of Cardinals was undoubtedly the choice of a perspective for the new apostolic constitution, in the manner of what was done for the two previous curial reforms: the constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae (1967) of St. Paul VI and the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus (1988) of Saint John Paul II. [2]

The main purpose of the reform of Saint Paul VI was to correspond to the requests of the Second Vatican Council so that, in arranging and implementing the reform of the Curia, he explicitly referred to the wishes expressed by the Council Fathers. [3] 

In this regard, he will look in particular at the decree Christus Dominus , where there are important elements of principle, which certainly return - explicitly and implicitly - in the formulations of both Pastor Bonus and Predicate Evangelium .

In short, according to the conciliar decree it was not only a question of the nature of the Roman Curia, but also and above all of the need to reorganize it "in a new way and in accordance with the needs of times, countries and rites, especially as regards their number. , their name, their skills, their working methods and the coordination of their activities "(n. 9).

As for its nature of the Roman Curia, the Second Vatican Council recalls

a) that it is a reality of service; it is an instrument that collaborates and helps the Pope in governing the whole Church. The Council writes that "in exercising his supreme, full and immediate power over the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff avails himself ( utitur ) of the dicasteries of the Roman curia" ( Christus Dominus , 9). This is a fundamental principle, to which I will return.

b) Consequently, the various dicasteries "carry out their work in his name and in his authority ( nomine et auctoritate illius ), for the benefit of the Churches and at the service of the sacred pastors ( in bonum Ecclesiarum et in servitium Sacrorum Pastorum )" ( Ibid . ).

c) A little further on, at n. 10 Christus Dominus reiterates that all the dicasteries "were constituted for the good of the universal Church", deducing from this the opportunity for the Roman Curia to present "a truly universal character".

As for the reform implemented by Saint John Paul II, the text of Pastor Bonus also recalls the principles present in Christus Dominus , so that the Roman Curia

a) "he lives and works in so far as he is in relationship with the Petrine ministry and is based on it" (n. 7). Therefore, "the main characteristic of each and every dicastery of the Roman Curia is the ministerial one" ( Ibid. ).

b) Also in this case it is specified: "Since ... the ministry of Peter, as" servant of the servants of God ", is exercised with regard to both the universal Church and the College of Bishops of the universal Church, also the Roman Curia, which serves the successor of Peter belongs to the service of the universal Church and of the Bishops "( Ibid. )

In its extensive Introduction , then, the constitution Pastor bonus immediately affirms its theological perspective: communio , a choice at its origins and at the basis of which there was undoubtedly the extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops convened by John Paul II himself at twenty years after the close of the Council (1985) in whose final report we read the peremptory affirmation: "The ecclesiology of communion is the central and fundamental idea in the documents of the Council".

The curial reform now promulgated by Francis certainly has similarities with these previous reforms. In fact, in the manner of Paul VI, who in order to initiate the reform of the Roman Curia referred to the indications previously received from the Council, Francis too will refer to a previous indication: "a suggestion that emerged in the course of the general congregations preceding the Conclave". [4] As happened with the drafting of Pastor Bonus , also in the process of drafting the new constitution an ecclesiological inspiring principle was sought and identified in missionary spirit. The reasons are not difficult to recognize.

We all know, in fact, that in the very initial phase of his service on the Chair of Peter, Francis published his first apostolic exhortation: the Evangelii gaudium(24 November 2013) explicitly giving it "a programmatic meaning" (n. 25). Furthermore, it is an indispensable document for understanding the reform process intended and initiated by Pope Francis. It was precisely by reflecting on that text that in the Council of Cardinals it was soon understood that if there was to be a reform of the Roman Curia, it had to be part of a much broader project of "reform". With that apostolic exhortation, in fact, the Pope had given the Church his hope that all communities will work effectively "to advance on the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion, which cannot leave things as they are", because "now they cannot we need a "simple administration" "( Ibid.). The same well-known expression: "missionary transformation of the Church" with which Evangelii gaudium begins , is to be read in the perspective of "reform".

To adequately understand what Francis means, it will be useful to refer to what he himself said on July 28, 2013 during the trip to Rio de Janeiro for the 28th WYD. In meeting the bishops responsible for CELAM, the Pope distinguished two dimensions of the mission: one programmatic and the other paradigmatic. He said that “the programmatic mission, as his name indicates, consists in carrying out acts of a missionary nature. The paradigmatic mission, on the other hand, implies placing the usual activities of the particular Churches in a missionary key ”. The distinction is very important and is implicit in Evangelii gaudiumwhere Francis writes that he dreams of "a" missionary choice (= paradigmatic mission) capable of transforming everything, so that customs, styles, schedules, language and every ecclesial structure (= programmatic mission) become an adequate channel for evangelization of today's world, more than for self-preservation "(n. 27). Otherwise said, the structural changes must be the fruit of a pastoral choice and this obviously also applies to the Roman Curia.

The title of the apostolic constitution therefore responds to this inspiration. It was already implicitly disclosed in the press release of the Holy See Press Office of 25 April 2018, which states that among the various themes that will form the new document, it is necessary to take into account the fact that "the proclamation of the Gospel and the missionary spirit "will be the" perspective that characterizes the activity of the whole Curia ". As it is easy to see, the expression Praedicate Evangelium (which intentionally wants to connect to that of Evangelii gaudium ) is taken from Mk 16:15: a mandate which, as Saint John Paul II wrote in Redemptoris missio, constitutes "the first service that the Church can render to each man and to all humanity in today's world" (n. 2).

What derives from this choice of perspective as regards the organization of the Roman Curia will be recalled by the Secretary of the Council of Cardinals in the speech that will follow this one. In any case, what the Preamble of the Constitution, taking up expressions from Christideles laici of John Paul II, recalls in n. 4: "For the reform of the Roman Curia it is important to keep in mind and value another aspect of the mystery of the Church: in it the mission is so closely linked to communion that we can say that the purpose of the mission is precisely that" of making known and making to live to all the "new" communion which in the Son of God made man has entered the history of the world "".

A little further on in the same issue, linking to the theme of "synodality" introduced by Francis in the Address of 17 October 2015 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, the Preamble writes: "This life of communion gives the Church the face of synodality ... This synodality of the Church, then, will be understood as the "walking together of the Flock of God on the paths of history to meet Christ the Lord". It is a question of the mission of the Church, of that communion which is for the mission and is itself missionary "(n. 5).

The Secretary of the Council of Cardinals will say how the Apostolic Constitution has translated this affirmation into facts. As for me, I will only recall that the proposal to assume synodality among the inspiring principles in the reform work of the Roman Curia came insistently by the Heads of Dicasteries in the meeting they had with the Holy Father on November 24, 2014. In that context, it was said that the synodality between the Dicasteries it is to be considered very important and should develop in the Curia as a real culture, aided by a communication system that makes it possible to know what others are doing to avoid duplication of activities and programs.

 Some guiding principles for the reform of the Roman Curia

The N. 3 of the Preamble warns that the reform of the Roman Curia must also be understood in the context of the missionary nature of the Church and, after hinting at the various reforms that have taken place from the sixteenth century to today, he concludes by affirming that "this new apostolic constitution aims to better harmonize the today's exercise of the service of the Curia with the path of evangelization, which the Church, especially in this season, is experiencing ".

It must be said that Francis' decision to initiate a process of reform of the Roman Curia had the effect of awakening attention to the very idea of ​​"reform": a theme and, above all, a term for reconciliation. with which the Catholic Church had to await the event of Vatican II. I will only mention the decree Unitatis redintegratio , where at n. 6 we read: "The pilgrim Church is called by Christ to [ this ] continuous reform which, as a human and earthly institution, she always needs".

It is certainly not the time and place to develop such a challenging theme. Apart, however, the resumption of the ancient axiom on ecclesia semper reformanda - and, perhaps, of a Curia semper reformanda - it is now convinced that "reform is a constitutive dimension of the church, of every church, precisely because it is a matter of of the Church of Christ, who is the "form" and the "formator" of the church, in a spiritual dynamism that makes him a perennial reformer of his bride ». [5] In short, it could be said that reform is a fundamentally spiritual and constitutive instance of the Church, which is also expressed in reforms . [6]Also for Francis: when he speaks of the "reform of the Roman Curia", he never does so regardless of the reformatio Ecclesiae . Indeed, it is to it that he mainly looks and this seems important to me in order to (to use one of his expressions) "recorrer parcelas pero avizorando pampas, mirar fragmentos pero contemplando formas". [7]

As for it, therefore, Pope Francis has constantly accompanied the work of the Council of Cardinals not only by his presence at all the working sessions, but also by guiding its work especially through his interventions - well known - to the traditional pre-meeting. Christmas with the Roman Curia.

In his speech of 22 December 2016, in particular, he recalled twelve guiding criteria of the reform (individuality; pastorality; missionary nature; rationality; functionality; modernity; sobriety; subsidiarity; synodality; catholicity; professionalism; graduality). I dwell on a few.

The principle of subsidiarity was first enunciated in the Social Doctrine of the Church at n. 80 of the Quadragesimo anno and was recognized by Pius XII as valid also for the social life of the Church. Every social activity is by nature its subsidiary; it must serve as a support for the members of the social body, and never destroy and absorb them: this is how Pius XII formulated it in the address to the new cardinals of February 20, 1946, specifying however that this was to be understood "without prejudice to the hierarchical structure" of the Church . [8] An allusion to this principle is found in art. 3 §3 of the "Statute" of the new Dicastery for Integral Human Development ", which reads:" The Dicastery worksso that effective and appropriate material and spiritual assistance is offered in the local Churches - if necessary also through appropriate pastoral structures - to the sick, refugees, exiles, migrants, stateless persons, circus performers, nomads and itinerant people ".

The principle of decentralization is connected to this principle In consideration of the fact that the Successor of Peter is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity of both the bishops and the multitude of the faithful ( LG 23; cf.n.18), the Roman Curia is not only an instrument at the service of the Roman Pontiff , but also an instrument of service for the particular Churches . The N. 8 of the Preamble highlights this: «The Roman Curia is at the service of the Pope, who, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity of both the Bishops and the multitude of the faithful. By virtue of this link (the emphasis is mine ) the work of the Roman Curia is also in organic relationship with the College of Bishops and with the individual Bishops, and also with the Episcopal Conferences and their regional and continental Unions, and the Eastern hierarchical structures, which are great pastoral utility and express the affective and effective communion between the Bishops ".

Francis made explicit use of the concept of decentralization in Evangelii gaudium n. 16, where we read: «It is not appropriate for the Pope to replace the local Episcopates in the discernment of all the problems that arise in their territories. In this sense, I feel the need to proceed with a healthy “decentralization” ». A little further on, after recalling the function of the Episcopal Conferences, Francis added this consideration: "Excessive centralization, rather than helping, complicates the life of the Church and its missionary dynamics" (n. 32). The term decentralization then resumed in the speech of 17 October 2015, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops.

Among the guiding criteria for the reform of the Roman Curia, in the speech of December 22, 2016, Francis also included that of gradualness . He explained: «gradualness is the fruit of the indispensable discernment that implies historical process, scanning of times and stages, verification, corrections, experimentation, approval ad experimentum . Therefore, in these cases it is not a question of indecision but of the flexibility necessary to be able to achieve true reform ».

In this perspective we will read the "anticipations" that in recent years - until recently with the apostolic letter motu proprio of February 14, 2022 with which Francis modified the internal structure of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - have been implemented in view of the current general reorganization. This way of proceeding is by no means new; indeed, it will be said that it is customary in such matters.

It will be remembered, in fact, that even with Paul VI there were anticipatory innovations of the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae : thus, with the motu proprio Pastorale munus of 30 nov. 1963, 40 faculties and 8 privileges were granted to residential Bishops; again, with the motu proprio Integrae servandae of 7 Dec. 1965 Paul VI also changed the name and structure of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. Again, with the motu proprio De Episcoporum munerìbus of June 15. 1966 some conciliar principles on the powers of bishops were implemented (cf. LG 27; ChD 8a) and this not only by enlarging the already ample faculties of the Pastorale munus, but also introducing in the canonical order the norm of the list of pontifical reserves in substitution of that on the list of faculties to the Bishops. It is still not enough, because with the motu proprio Ecclesiae sanctae of 6 ag. 1966 Paul VI also promulgated the norms that gave effect to some decrees of the Council, further increasing the powers of the Bishops and consequently depriving the apostolic dataria almost entirely of competence, which will then be officially abolished. Only a week before the promulgation of the Regimini Ecclesiae universae there is then the motu proprio Pro comperto sane (August 6, 1967), a fundamental document of which I will speak shortly.

It cannot be ruled out that this criterion (important for preserving its character of "service" for the Roman Curia) may remain even after the promulgation has taken place! This too, on the other hand, has already happened with the previous reforms. Paul VI, for example, after only two years from the Regimini Ecclesiae universae proceeded to split the ancient Congregation of Rites giving life to the two new Congregations for the Causes of Saints and Divine Worship; [9]the latter soon ceased to function autonomously, being united in 1975 to the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments to form with it a single dicastery under the joint denomination of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Again in 1973 Paul VI decreed the suppression of the ancient Apostolic Chancellery, bringing its now residual competences into the Secretariat of State.

Even John Paul II after the reorganization of the Roman Curia operated with the Pastor bonus made further changes: for example with the establishment in 1993 of a new dicastery resulting from the merger into a single body of the two Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Dialogue with non believers. At the same time, John Paul II decreed the disengagement from the Congregation for the Clergy of the Pontifical Commission for the Preservation of the Church's Heritage and History, giving it absolute autonomy under the different denomination of Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church.

The meaning and reason of the forms of intervention that I have just exemplified could well be illustrated in the light of what Francis wrote in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium about the principle (as he puts it) that "time is superior to space" . This principle - explained the Pope - allows you to work in the long term, without the obsession with immediate results. It helps to patiently endure difficult and adverse situations, or the changes in plans that the dynamism of reality imposes ... Prioritizing time means taking care of starting processes rather than having spacesTime orders spaces, illuminates them and transforms them into links in a constantly growing chain, without reversing. It is a question of privileging actions that generate new dynamisms in society and involve other people and groups who will carry them forward, until they bear fruit in important historical events. Without anxiety, but with clear and tenacious convictions "(n. 223). To this principle, the Pope, in the time between the beginning of the reform work of the Roman Curia and today, has always been faithful.

Another important principle followed in the reform process of the Roman Curia was that of tradition , which is the principle of fidelity to history and continuity with the past. It is precisely according to this principle that it would have been misleading (as well as imaginative) to think of a reform that would upset the entire curial structure. In the Curia, in fact, there are Dicasteries that concern fundamental actions of ecclesial action, such as the proclamation of the Gospel, the protection of the faith and the safeguarding of customs, liturgical life, the service of communioand of charity… Other Dicasteries concern people and states of life in the Church. All this must necessarily be preserved even if, as for any service structure, it always needs a permanent sort of "maintenance".

On the other hand, and almost in its equilibrium, the principle of innovation will be thought of . Within this criterion of innovation there is also the choice and appointment as Prefect of the Dicastery for the communication of a lay faithful: a decision not improvised by the Pope; on the contrary, it has been specifically studied with the contribution of authorities on the subject. Even in this case, however, the choice of Francis has a significant precedent.

Earlier I mentioned Saint Paul VI and now I think of the total overturning that with his curial reform the Secretariat of State had: from the last place occupied among the various curial bodies it suddenly found itself at the head of all the dicasteries: it was not only a structural transformation since it became "a kind of General Secretariat of the Church". [10] Equally, if not more relevant, will be the aforementioned motu proprio Pro comperto sane with which Paul VI will overcome the principle followed continuously by the time of the reform of Sixtus V (1588) according to which the Roman dicasteries were, in their composition, linked to the college of cardinals and therefore functioned solely as congregationes cardinalium.Hence the denomination of "congregation" until now reserved for some dicasteries of the Roman Curia. With his motu proprio, Paul VI overcame this principle by establishing the co-optation of diocesan bishops as members of the Congregations of the Roman Curia. The change had been advocated by the Council; [11] with its implementation, Paul VI marked a change of epoch.

One could, not without reason, consider the choice made by Francis to place the lay faithful at the helm of a Dicastery of similar significance. [12] Even this choice was, albeit timidly, advocated by Vatican II [13]so that, thinking after more than fifty years of this implementation of the requests of Vatican II, the words of Francis in the private dialogue that he had on 23 September 2018 with the Jesuits of the Baltic countries come back to my memory. To a young Lithuanian Jesuit who had asked him how they could help him, the Pope replied: «I feel that the Lord wants the Council to make its way into the Church. Historians say that it takes 100 years for a council to be implemented. We are halfway there. So, if you want to help me, act in such a way as to carry out the Council in the Church. And help me with your prayer. I need a lot of prayer ». [14]

The Preamble , therefore, in n. 10 asserts: "The Pope, the Bishops and other ordained ministers are not the only evangelizers in the Church ... Every Christian, by virtue of Baptism, is a missionary disciple" to the extent that he has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus". It cannot be ignored in the updating of the Curia, whose reform, therefore, must provide for the involvement of lay people, even in roles of government and responsibility ”.

This is reiterated by n. 5 of the Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia on the "Vicar nature of the Roman Curia". Here it is established that "any member of the faithful can preside over a Dicastery or an Organism, given the particular competence, power of governance and function of the latter". At the basis of this choice is the fact that "each curial institution fulfills its mission by virtue of the power received from the Roman Pontiff in whose name it operates with vicarious power in the exercise of its primatial munus ". [15]

Everything is obviously grafted onto the theology of the laity promoted by Vatican II and deepened and developed in the following decades. [16] Fr. G. Ghirlanda SJ Ultimately, the choice to abandon the term "Congregation" could also be considered in the light of what has just been said. This terminology, in fact, which dates back to Sixtus V's Immensa aeterni Dei (1588), assumed that only the Cardinals were the holders of presidency of the "Congregations". We therefore spoke of Sacrae C ongregationes Cardinalium . This is no longer the case. The term Dicasteryit suggests that in principle, according to the nature of the Dicastery, all the baptized can carry out this office : clerics, persons of consecrated life, lay faithful.

As for the term "dicastery", in previous legislations it was used very frequently, but always with a synthetic, general value. The Regimini Ecclesiae Universae explained, for example, that it included "the Sacred Congregations, the Courts and the Offices, with the addition of the Secretariats, established with valid and solid reasons"; in Pastor Bonus we read that "by the name of dicasteries we mean: the Secretariat of State, the Congregations, the Courts, the Councils and the Offices, that is the Apostolic Chamber, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the Prefecture for the economic affairs of the Holy See". [17]

In Praedicate Evangelium , "Dicastero" is no longer a generic term, but only designates the sixteen bodies called by that name, whose powers are derived from what is explained in the same apostolic constitution.

A further principle followed by the Council of Cardinals for the reform of the Roman Curia is that of concentrating on what is really necessary for the universal Church. It is a principle that could also be called "simplification" and it is what has already suggested the unification in some Dicasteries of previous Pontifical Councils and also some other curial realities.

The preamble of the Constitution

Before concluding my speech, I would like to offer a quick look at the structure of the Preamble , a term that will be understood in the sense it had in Latin and indeed, I would add, as a "key to reading". It consists of twelve numbers, the first of which gives reason for the choice of the title, making it explicit immediately in the two references to the missionary conversion of the Church and to the Church as a mystery of communion (cf. nn. 2-4).

I nos. 5-9 focus on the specific service of the Roman Curia (cf. n. 8); this theme, posed for one aspect in reference to the service of the Primacy and the College of Bishops (cf. nn. 5-6) and moreover to the themes of the communio episcoporum and of the Episcopal Conferences (cf. nn. 7 and 9).

The concluding part (nos. 11-12) concerns the significance of the reform of the Roman Curia. I read a few initial passages: "The reform of the Roman Curia will be real and possible if it sprouts from an interior reform, with which we make our" the paradigm of the Council's spirituality ", expressed by the" ancient story of the Good Samaritan "...". Here are taken up some words of Saint Paul VI in a retrospective look towards the Second Vatican Council. [18] In Francis' Praedicate Evangelium we refer back to that Ignatian inspiration of him, which he himself declared in his aforementioned speech to the Roman Curia of 22 December 2016. Here the Pope resumed the adagedeformed reformate, reformate conform, conform confirm and confirm transform . [19]

These are progressive passages that recall the course of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises , where the first corresponds to the so-called "via purgativa" ( deformata reformare ), the second to that called "via illuminativa" ( reformata conformare ), the third and fourth week they correspond to the "via unitiva" conformed to confirm and confirmed to transform ). In these passages the word "form", with the different meanings denoted by the various prefixes, has the meaning of letting oneself be molded by God, as he did in the beginning with Adam. [20]

The first echo, therefore, that the word "reform" arouses in the soul of Francis is a reform of his own life. All this ties in harmoniously with what he himself means when he speaks of Ecclesia semper reformanda . Thus on 10 November 2015 in Florence, at the V National Convention of the Italian Church: «The reform of the Church… does not end with yet another plan to change structures. Instead, it means grafted oneself and rooted oneself in Christ, letting oneself be led by the Spirit. Then everything will be possible with genius and creativity ».

If this conception of the reform of the Roman Curia is understood, the inclusion of an issue dedicated to spirituality among the Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia will not seem out of place (cf. no. 6). For Francis, in fact, "reform" is much more than any structural change. Instead, it is a question of operating in such a way that the Church, despite the passage of time and the changes in history, preserves its transparency (sacramentality) with regard to the plan of God who makes her exist and dwells in it.

This also applies to the Curia. In short, what for it is called "reform" is intimately connected to the face of a Church outgoing missionary, as we read in Evangelii gaudium : "The reform of structures, which requires pastoral conversion, can only be understood in this sense: ensure that they all become more missionary, that ordinary pastoral care in all its aspects is more expansive and open, that it places pastoral agents in a constant attitude of "going out" and thus favors the positive response of all those to whom Jesus offers his friendship "(n. 27).


[1] For some of my previous interventions on the theme of the reform of the Roman Curia, cf. M. Semeraro, The reform of Pope Francis , in "Il Regno - Current" 14/2016, 433-441; In place. Reform of the Curia , in "Il Regno-actualicità 2/2018", 1-7; Pope Francisco, La reforma de la Curia Romana . Ediciόn preparada y comentada por Mons.Marcello Semeraro, LEV-Romana, Vatican City-Madrid, 2017.

[2] For a history of these reforms cf. N. Del Re, The Roman Curia, Historical-juridical features, LEV, Vatican City 1998 4 , 53-58.

[3] In this case, the rereading of Paul VI's Discourse to the Roman Curia of 21 September 1963 would be of great use. The term "reform" occurs several times. Regarding the Roman Curia, two affirmations are significant: "That some reforms should be introduced in the Roman Curia is not only easy to foresee, but it is good to desire", is the first; the other statement concerns a link between Ecclesia semper reformanda and Curia semper reformandaThe affirmation of St. Paul VI is this: "the purpose of modernizing juridical structures and deepening the spiritual conscience not only does not find resistance as regards the center of the Church, the Roman Curia, but also finds the Curia itself in the 'vanguard of that perennial reform, which the Church herself, as a human and earthly institution, is in perpetual need ”. The relationship between reform of the Church and reform of the Curia is found in the choice of Francis: cf. Principles and Criteria for the Service of the Roman Curia , n. 12.

[4] Cf. Statement from the Secretariat of State of 13 April 2013: "The Holy Father Francis, taking up a suggestion that emerged during the General Congregations prior to the Conclave, has set up a group of Cardinals to advise him in the governance of the universal Church and to study a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia ».

[5] S. Xeres, Reform as an essential dimension of the Church. Historical overview, in M. Wirz (edited by), «Reforming the Church together», Qiqajon - Community of Bose, Magnano 2016, 59. On the theme in the magisterium of Francis, cf. R. Repole, The dream of an evangelical Church. Ecclesiology of Pope Francis , LEV, Vatican City 2017; M. Semeraro, The reform of the Church according to Pope Francis , in R. Luciani, M. Teresa Compte (coords) «En camino hacia una Iglesia sinodal. From Pablo VI to Francisco »Fundacion Pablo VI, PPC, Boadilla del Monte (Madrid), 2020, 11-22. More generally, cf. A. Spadaro, CM Galli (edd.), Reform and reforms in the Church , Queriniana, Brescia 2016.

[6] Cf. L. Manicardi, "Reforming: spiritual elements", in Wirz, Reforming the Church together cit., 40.

[7] JM Bergoglio SJ, Meditaciones para religiosos , ed. Diego de Torres, San Miguel-Buenos Aires [1982], 11 (re. Ed. Mensajero, Bilbao 2014, 17): tr. it. In the heart of every father. At the roots of my spirituality , Rizzoli, Milan 2014, 7: «walking through the courtyard seeing prairies, looking at fragments, but contemplating forms».

[8] It will therefore be taken into account that the Church, despite being a mystery reality and, at the same time, a historical-social reality: "Christ, the only mediator, constituted on earth and incessantly sustains his holy Church, a community of faith , of hope and charity, as a visible organism, through which he spreads truth and grace for all. But the society constituted of hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ, the visible assembly and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly goods, are not to be considered as two different things; rather they form a single complex reality resulting from a double element, human and divine "(LG 8).

[9] Cf. the constitution Sacra Rituum Congregatio of 8 May 1969.

[10] Del Re, The Roman Curia, 75.

[11] "It is also hoped that among the members of the dicasteries there will also be some bishops, especially diocesan ones, who can more fully represent the mentality, desires and needs of all the Churches to the Supreme Pontiff": Christus Dominus , n . 10.

[12] Currently this is the case only for the Dicastery for Communication .

[13] "The Council Fathers believe that it is very useful for the sacred dicasteries to ask, more than in the past, the opinion of lay people who are distinguished by virtue, doctrine and experience, so that they too can play the role that they agrees »: Christus Dominus , n. 10.

[14] Pope Francis, "I believe the Lord is asking for a change in the Church". Private dialogue with the Jesuits of the Baltic countries , in «La Civiltà Cattolica» 2018, IV, 111.

[15] See also the General Norms , art. 15.

[16] On this theme cf. V. Mignozzi, Is there an authority of lay christiideles in the Church? Interpretative lines (sustainable) in an ecclesiological perspective , in «Apulia Theologica» January-June 2018, 151-172.

[17] General rules , art. 2 §1. The art. 2 stated that "the dicasteries are juridically equal to each other". The art. 1 defined the Roman Curia as "the set of dicasteries and bodies that assist the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the universal Church and of the particular Churches, an exercise by which unity is strengthened of faith and the communion of the People of God and the mission proper to the Church in the world is promoted ”. In Praedicate Evangelium , art. 12 §1 of the General Norms states: "The Roman Curia is composed of the Secretariat of State, the Dicasteries and the Organisms, all juridically equal to each other".

[18] Cf. Paul VI, Allocution for the last public session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (7 December 1965).

[19] It is possible that Bergoglio in referring the adage is inspired by G. Fessard, La dialectique des exercices spirituels de S. Ignace de Loyola , Aubier, Paris, 1966 (Spanish edition: La dialéctica de los ejercicios espirituales de San Ignacio de Loyola, Mensajero – Sal Terrae, Bilbao – Santander 2010, 52–53). For this cf. DA Lugo SJ, En camino hacia la libertad: el fin de los Ejercicios Espirituales y la gracia de Dios : thesis discussed at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid 2020; cf also M. Borghesi, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. An intellectual biography , Jaca Book, Milan 2017, 19. 99-103; S. Madrigal Terrazas SI,Spiritual masters of Pope Francis. Hugo Rahner, Miguel Ángel Fiorito, Gaston Fessard , in "La Civiltà Cattolica" 2022, I, 590-604.

[20] Cf. Antonio Spadaro S. J, «The reform according to Francis. The Ignatian roots ”, in La Civiltà Cattolica 2015/4, 114-131 (quad. 3968 - 24 October 2015).

[00417-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]


Speech by HE Mons. Marco Mellino

1. Text processing

In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis writes: "The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to listen to the call for pastoral conversion" [1] . In accordance with this spirit and with this precise intent, also by virtue of the mandate and the precise indications that the General Congregations held in the days before the Conclave had specified for the new Pontiff who would be elected, the Holy Father, in recent years, assisted by the Council of Cardinals [2] , discussed and reflected at length on this aspect, with the specific intention of proposing the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonusHe listened to the observations, opinions, suggestions and requests of the Dicastery Heads of the Roman Curia, meeting them personally in the sessions of the Council of Cardinals, but also holding interdicasterial meetings and a Consistory of Cardinals (12 and 13 February 2015) . He also welcomed opinions and indications from local episcopates and others [3] . In this way, together with the Council of Cardinals, an overall vision has matured, which has gradually emerged in a reform project of which the promulgated text is the result. It is the result of an elaboration that has seen the completion of various passages consistent with the principle that "a synodal Church is a Church of listening" [4] .

Almost five years after the start of the work (28 September 2013), the various considerations matured in the reflections and discussions addressed in the sessions of the Council of Cardinals led to the drafting of a first draft (dated September - December 2018), which in the drafting of the its various parts, in addition to the choice of ideal continuity with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus , contained the criteria and guiding principles of the new constitutional structure.

This text was the subject of careful review and discussion in the February and April 2019 sessions of the Council of Cardinals, to then be submitted to the consultation of all the Superiors of the Dicasteries and Institutes of the Roman Curia and of the Institutions connected with the Holy See. He was also sent to all the Episcopal Conferences, the Patriarchates and the Major Archbishop's Churches; to the Pontifical Representations; to all the Pontifical Universities present in the city and to some of those present in the various continents indicated personally by the Holy Father; to some information agencies chosen for continental and linguistic areas.

Having collected all the observations and proposals received from the aforementioned consultation, the Holy Father and the Council of Cardinals, in the sessions of June and September 2019, examined, discussed and voted on each amendment, thus arriving at the drafting of a text which, in the month of October 2019, was again submitted to the consultation of some of the Dicastery Heads of the Roman Curia and in January 2020 it was sent to the Cardinals residing in the city for their opinion along with any suggestions.

All the amendments received from this second consultation were again subject to examination, discussion and vote, partly in the session of the Council of Cardinals held in February 2020 and the remaining ones, having been unable to hold the scheduled sessions due to the pandemic, are been examined electronically. The result of their work was the draft of the text, dated 8 June 2020, delivered by the Cardinals of the Council to the Holy Father.

From that moment everything was left to the consideration of the Pope, who, since July 2020, personally examined the amendments taking into account the observations, indications and proposals received and making his own choices, as Supreme Legislator.

The result of this elaboration was the text which, on September 16, 2020, was submitted for consideration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, asking for an overall opinion on the same. together with any specific and circumscribed observations that would have been deemed appropriate, both with regard to the doctrinal and juridical aspects.

The aforementioned Curial Institutions have provided for what has been requested and the Holy Father, making use of their competent contribution, has reached the definitive formulation of the text promulgated on 19 March 2022, Solemnity of St. Joseph Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and which will enter into effective Sunday 5 June 2022, Solemnity of Pentecost.

2. A “piece” that brings the reform of the Roman Curia to completion

In recent years, while with the Council of Cardinals he was carrying out the study of the project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus , Pope Francis has implemented various reform measures [5] , therefore the text of the new Apostolic Constitution is one of these measures. implemented so far. It is added to them, demonstrating that the work of the reform is wider than the mere text of the Constitution in question and that it is part of it. On the one hand, therefore, it is a piece that fits into a larger and more articulated mosaic. On the other hand, it is also true, however, that with this text the reform of the Roman Curia finds its complete form.

Some of these measures concerned the establishment or reorganization of bodies of the Roman Curia itself, which the promulgated text has accordingly incorporated. It deals with:

- of the Section of the Secretariat of State for Diplomatic Staff of the Holy See [6] ;

- the establishment in two Sessions of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith [7] ;

- of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [8] ;

- of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life [9] ;

- of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development [10] ;

- of the Dicastery for Communication [11] ;

- the Council for the Economy;

- the Secretariat for the Economy [12] ;

- the Office of the Auditor General [13] ;

- the Commission for Reserved Matters [14] ;

- the Investment Committee [15] ;

- the inclusion of the Pontifical Musical Chapel in the Office of Celebrations

- Liturgical of the Supreme Pontiff (art. 233 § 2) [16] .

As regards the Institutions connected with the Holy See: the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority [17] .

3. The title is indicative of a perspective

The title of the Constitution in question - Praedicate Evangelium (taken from the expression of Mk 16:15: the mandate entrusted by the Risen One to his disciples) - refers to evangelization tout court and indicates the perspective in which the text was elaborated: missionary spirit [18] . This choice is explained in the light of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium - to which it is intentionally linked -, which remains the indispensable document for understanding the reform process that Pope Francis is implementing and clearly indicates that the heart of the reform moves from what is the first and most important task of the Church: evangelization. Saint Paul VI affirmed that“Evangelizing is the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. It exists to evangelize ” [19] . From this it follows that the missionary dimension must be capable of transforming every ecclesial structure. Pope Francis himself affirmed: “The reform of structures, which requires pastoral conversion, can only be understood in this sense: to ensure that they all become more missionary” [20] ; otherwise the reform would only be a reorganization of the ecclesiastical functional structure [21] .

Given that the missionary nature, the "outgoing Church" is the backbone that structures the text of the Apostolic Constitution in question, this explains the creation of the Dicastery for Evangelization and the order of position assigned to it in Title V concerning the Dicasteries .

For the avoidance of doubt, it is good to specify that all Dicasteries enjoy equal juridical dignity [22] and that all exercise jurisdiction, therefore the order of their place in the list has no juridical value in itself, but - at least for the first three - it is at least significant. Therefore, the choice of assigning the order of precedence to the Dicastery for Evangelization explicitly reflects the perspective of missionary spirit in which the general vision of the curial reform was carried out.

This by no means intends to place the activity of evangelization before faith in Christ itself (postponing the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to that for Evangelization). This choice is well understood in the light of the change of epoch which is historically taking place and which inevitably requires the Church to face unprecedented challenges, projecting herself towards new frontiers both in the first mission ad gentes and in the new evangelization of peoples who have already received the proclamation of Christ [23] . The Holy Father clearly stated this in a passage from the Speech to the Roman Curia in 2019:"When [the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples] were established, it was an era in which it was easier to distinguish between two fairly defined sides: a Christian world on one side and a world still to be evangelized on the other. Now this situation no longer exists ... We therefore need a change of pastoral mentality, which does not mean passing to a relativistic pastoral care ... All this necessarily entails changes and changes in attention also in the aforementioned Dicasteries, as well as in the entire Curia " [ 24] .

This priority and centrality of evangelization is also highlighted by the deliberate choice that the Pope himself [25] and each of the two Sections of which it is constituted will preside over the Dicastery for Evangelization (the Section for the fundamental questions of evangelization in the world and the Section for the first evangelization and the new particular Churches ) is governed in his name and by his authority by a Pro-Prefect.

Lastly, it is significant that, in the established order, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for the Service of Charity follow the Dicastery for the Doctrine of , one in the missionary action to which the Roman Curia is called and constitute a triad that "gives the stamp" to the whole text of the Apostolic Constitution. In the light of this overall vision, in which the spirit of curial service has been rethought, the reason for which the apostolic charity was raised to the status of a Dicastery is evident [26] .

4. The Roman Curia is at the service

The Roman Curia is by its nature a service organism [27] . It is the institution that the Pope ordinarily makes use of in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office and of his universal mission in the world [28] . By reason of this service to the Petrine ministry, the Roman Curia also places itself at the service of the Bishops [29] . Therefore it "is at the service of the Pope, successor of Peter, and of the Bishops, successors of the Apostles, according to the modalities that are proper to the nature of each one" [30] .

This conception of the Roman Curia, without changing its juridical nature [31] , highlights and expresses that its service is expressed in its dedication to the good of the universal Church and at the same time of the particular Churches. It is at the service of the Pope: it exists and acts only insofar as it serves the Holy Father and serves the Holy Father; in his name and with his authority he fulfills his function (ordinary vicarious power). At the same time, the action of the Roman Curia cannot ignore the reference to the ministry of Bishops, both as members of the Episcopal College and as pastors of the particular Church. Indeed, it is an instrument of communion and participation in ecclesial concerns to the extent andin which the Roman Pontiff is and within the limits of his supreme power and mission [32] .

Precisely by virtue of this diakonia connected with the Petrine ministry, the Roman Curia is, therefore, on the one hand very closely linked with the Bishops of the whole world, and, on the other, the same Bishops and their Churches are the first and principal beneficiaries of his work [33] . She exercises this service with respect for that hierarchical and synodal communion in which all the successors of the Apostles participate [34] .

From this it is clear that the noun that qualifies the Roman Curia - service - in addition to delineating its nature also expresses the spirit with which it is called to work [35] , both towards the Holy Father and the Bishops, in respect of whom, for this reason reason, in its action, must never condition, much less hinder their relationships and contacts, but rather favor reciprocal, affective and effective communion among them [36] . The Roman Curia, therefore, does not place itself between the Pope and the Bishops, but rather places itself at the service, that is, it carries out its proper task with regard to both "according to the modalities that are proper to the nature of each" [37], without leaving room for misunderstandings and misunderstandings on who it ultimately depends on and what are its competences in the context of which it is called to do its service for the good of the whole Church.

5. Synodality

Synodality is a proper and distinctive trait of the Church; it is a constitutive dimension of the same and has always characterized it. It is therefore not a question of an attitude to have or something to do, but rather it concerns precisely what the Church is. Touch her nature and her identity [38] . It is simply what she is called to. Therefore synodality also animates the structures in which the synodal nature of the Church is expressed in an institutional way [39] .

For the Roman Curia this means that the exercise of its service must be synodal [40] . The aspects of this synodality are the following: intra dicasterial, inter dicasterial, with the various levels of the Church, with the General Secretariat of the Synod (of Bishops). Of each we recall some rules as an example:

Intra dicasterial synodality :

- the Members of a Dicastery are representatives of the total reality of the faithful of the People of God: clerics (of all the various degrees), members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and lay people (art. 15);

- within each Dicastery, Body or Office each is called to fulfill his / her role so that his industriousness favors a disciplined and effective functioning, beyond cultural, linguistic and national differences (art. 9 § 2);

- the regular and faithful use of the foreseen bodies is prescribed: the Congress and the ordinary session (Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia, 9; art. 10, 25, 26 § 2);

- the convocation of the Plenary Session must be carried out every two years, unless the Ordo servandus of a Dicastery has a longer period of time (art. 26 § 3);

Inter dicasterial synodality :

- usual meetings of the Heads of Dicasteries, chaired by the Roman Pontiff and coordinated by the Secretary of State (Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia, 8, art. 34);

- usual interdicasterial meetings (Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia, 9; art. 10);

- Interdicasterial commissions to deal, when necessary, with matters of mixed competence which require reciprocal and frequent consultation (art. 28 § 5);

- convergence between the various Departments, Bodies or Offices in a dynamic of mutual collaboration, each according to their own competence (art. 9 § 1);

- in the preparation of a general document by a curial institution, the request for observations, amendments and suggestions from the other curial institutions involved is envisaged (art. 29 § 1);

- in order to promote better coordination of the various sectors of the Dicasteries, Bodies and Offices of the Curia, it is the task of the Secretariat of State, as the papal secretariat (art 44), to carry out its important function aimed precisely at achieving unity and interdependence between them, favor coordination without prejudice to the autonomy of each one (art. 46) [41] .

Synodality with the various levels of the Church's existence : particular Church, Episcopal Conferences, their regional and continental Unions and Eastern hierarchical structures [42] . There are many articles in the constitutional text that implement this aspect. We limit ourselves to highlighting three of them from the General Rules:

- collaboration in the most important matters (art. 36 § 1) [43] ;

- preparation of documents of a general nature of considerable importance or those that particularly concern some particular Churches: they will be prepared taking into account the opinion of the Episcopal Conferences, their regional and continental Unions and the Eastern hierarchical structures involved (art.36 § 2) ;

- the institution of the Visitation ad Limina Apostolorum , during which, through a frank and cordial dialogue, the Prefects advise, encourage, give suggestions and appropriate indications to the Bishops in order to contribute to the good and development of the whole Church, to observance of the common discipline and at the same time they gather from the same suggestions and indications to offer an ever more effective service (articles 38 - 42).

Synodality with the General Secretariat of the Synod ( of Bishops )

- The Roman Curia collaborates, according to their respective specific competences, in the activity of the General Secretariat of the Synod (of Bishops) according to what is established in the regulations of the Synod itself (art.33).

- It is significant to underline that the Roman Curia and Synod (of Bishops), both constituted by their own Apostolic Constitution [44] , are the institutions which the Holy Father ordinarily uses in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office and his universal mission in the world [45] .

6. Co-responsibility in communio

The service of the Roman Curia, always with full respect for collegiality, is also carried out in the spirit of a "healthy decentralization" [46] , that is, knowing how to make the most of local skills in dealing with and resolving issues that do not affect the unity of doctrine, of discipline and communion of the Church [47] , in order to guarantee a more rapid effectiveness of the pastoral action of government of the Pastors facilitated by their proximity to the people and the specific situations in the area that require it.

This criterion responds to the principle of subsidiarity , which, in an analogical way , can be applied within the life of the Church, which is both mysterium and societas (LG 8), without compromising its hierarchical structure [48] . In the Church, in fact, the principle of "communion" is preeminent to subsidiarity , which governs the relations between entities that are not extrinsic and competitive, but are inseparably immanent to each other [49], albeit with that hierarchical structure which is proper to every ecclesial communion. The Church, in fact, is a communion whose hierarchical level is insuperable. This means, therefore, that one can certainly invoke and apply, when lawful and possible, a "healthy decentralization" in the life of the Church, but not merely in the name of a subsidiary relationship between two extrinsic entities, but in the name of that immanence communal in which the norm of reciprocal service and donation is in force among the subjects, in which the vitality and growth of one falls to the benefit of the other [50] . Hence the meaning of the expression used in this regard in the text of the Constitution in question: “co-responsibility in communio", In which the principle of" communion "is truly qualifying and where the principle of" subsidiarity "is received, understood and applied according to the reality of the mysterium communionis proper to the Church.

There are several articles of the Constitution in question that move in this direction with the specific intent of favoring above all the sense of collegiality and pastoral responsibility, as well as supporting the principles of rationality, effectiveness and efficiency.

Furthermore, precisely because it is an instrument at the service of communion, the Roman Curia, which by virtue of the knowledge that comes to it from its service to the universal Church, is able to gather and elaborate the wealth of the best initiatives and creative proposals regarding the evangelization of the Church. in action by the individual particular Churches, by the Episcopal Conferences and by the Eastern hierarchical structures, as well as the way of acting in the face of problems and challenges, favors and promotes the exchange of experiences between the different particular Churches and ecclesial realities [51] , thus not a mere administrative and bureaucratic service, but by serving and increasing communion [52] .


[1] FRANCIS, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium , 32, in AAS 105 (2013), pp. 1033 - 1034.

[2] Announced on 13 April 2013 and established with Chirografo on 28 September 2013 to advise the Holy Father in governing the universal Church (in AAS 105 [2013], pp. 875 - 876).

[3] Cf. FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 22 December 2016, in AAS 109 (2017), p. 43, note 30.

[4] FRANCIS, Address for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Synod of Bishops , 17 October 2015, in AAS 107 (2015), pp. 1138 - 1144.

[5] See FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 22 December 2016, in AAS 109 (2017), pp. 44- 48. The list should be updated with the measures put in place in the following years.

[6] Press release from the Secretariat of State of 21 November 2017.

[7] Motu proprio Fidem servare , of 11 February 2022.

[8] Chirograph dated March 22, 2014.

[9] Motu Proprio Sedula Mater , of 15 August 2016.

[10] Motu Proprio Humanam progressionem , of 17 August 2016.

[11] Motu Proprio The current communicative context, of 27 June 2015. Erected with the name of Secretariat for Communication, it was later called Dicastery.

[12] With the Motu Proprio Fidelis dispensator et prudens of 24 February 2014, the Secretariat for the Economy and the Council for the Economy were established. With the Motu Proprio of 8 July 2014, the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See was transferred to the Secretariat for the Economy. With the Motu Proprio I merci temporali , of 4 July 2016, following as a rule of utmost importance that the supervisory bodies are separate from the supervised ones, the respective areas of competence of the Secretariat for the Economy and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. On 28 December 2020 with the Motu proprio A better organizationwhat had already been indicated in the letter of 25 August 2020 addressed to the Secretary of State regarding the transfer of economic and financial functions from the Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, for the management, and to the Secretariat for the economy, for control.

[13] Motu proprio Fidelis dispensator et prudens , of 24 February 2014.

[14] Established on 29 September 2020.

[15] Communiqué of the Holy See of December 15, 2021.

[16] Motu Proprio About the Pontifical Music Chapel , of 17 January 2019.

[17] With the Motu Proprio of November 15, 2013, the Financial Information Authority (AIF) was consolidated, established by Benedict XVI with the Motu Proprio of December 30, 2010 for the prevention and contrast of illegal activities in the financial and monetary field. With the Chirograph of December 5, 2020, the new Statute was renamed and approved, which changes the name and responsibilities to the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority (ASIF). The Holy See Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of the Quality of Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties erected by Benedict XI with Chirograph on September 19, 2007, which has not undergone further revisions, has also been added.

[18] The title had already been implicitly disclosed in the press release of the Holy See Press Office of 25 April 2018 in which it was specified that among the various themes that would form the new document, it was necessary to keep in mind that the proclamation of the gospel and the missionary spirit would have been the perspective that characterizes the activity of the entire Roman Curia. Subsequently, the title was communicated for the first time in the briefing of 12 September 2018. Finally, Pope Francis in the Address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2019, said: “Inspired by this magisterium of the Successors of Peter from the Second Vatican Council to to date, it has been decided to propose for the new Apostolic Constitution on the reform of the Roman Curia the title ofPraedicate evangelium . That is, the missionary attitude ”. The text in question, at the present time not yet published in AAS , is available on the website of the Holy See.

[19] PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 14, in AAS 68 (1976), p. 13.

[20] FRANCIS, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium , 27, in AAS 105 (2013), p. 1031.

[21] Cf. FRANCIS, Address to the Bishops responsible for the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) on the occasion of the general coordination meeting , 28 July 2013, in AAS 105 (2013), p. 698, n. 3. See PE, Preamble, nn. 2 and 3.

[22] EP, art. 12 § 1.

[23] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio , 30, in AAS 83 (1991), p. 276.

[24] FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 21 December 2019.

[25] See EP, art. 54.

[26] In the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus was an institution connected with the Holy See (cf. PB, art. 193).

[27] The "diaconal attitude must also characterize those who, for various reasons, work within the Roman Curia which, as the Code of Canon Law also recalls, acting in the name and with the authority of the Supreme Pontiff," fulfills to his own function for the good and at the service of the Churches "(can. 360; cf. CCEO can. 46). Deacon primacy "relative to the Pope"; and equally diaconal, consequently, is the work that takes place inside the Roman Curia ad intra and outside ad extra " (FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 21 December 2017, in AAS 110 [2018], pp. 65 - 66).

[28] Cf. PE, art 1. “The relationship that binds the Curia to the Dioceses and the Eparchies is of primary importance. They find in the Roman Curia the support and the necessary support they may need. It is a relationship that is based on collaboration, trust and never on superiority or adversity. The source of this relationship is in the conciliar decree on the pastoral ministry of bishops, where it is more fully explained that that of the Curia is a work carried out "for the benefit of the Churches and at the service of the sacred pastors" (CD 9). The Roman Curia, therefore, has as its point of reference not only the Bishop of Rome, from whom it draws authority, but also the particular Churches and their Pastors throughout the world, for whose good it works and acts " (FRANCIS, Address to the Curia Roman, 21 December 2017, in AAS 110 [2018], p. 70).

[29] See PE, Preamble, 8; Principles and Criteria for the Service of the Roman Curia, 1, 5.

[30] EP, art 1.

[31] Cf. can. 360 CIC.

[32] The Roman Pontiff is "the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity both of the Bishops and of the multitude of the faithful" (LG 23), he presides over "the universal communion of charity" (LG 13) and confirms "in faith his brothers (cf. Lk 22, 32) "(LG 25).

[33] See PB, Introduction, 9."It is therefore appropriate, returning to the image of the body, to highlight that these" institutional senses ", to which we could in some way compare the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, must operate in a manner consistent with their nature and purpose: in the name and with the authority of the Supreme Pontiff is always for the good and at the service of the Churches. They are called to be in the Church as sensitive sensitive antennae: transmitters and receivers. Transmitting antennas as they are enabled to faithfully transmit the will of the Pope and the Superiors… The image of the antenna also refers to the other movement, the reverse one, that is to say the receiver. It is a question of grasping the instances, the questions, the requests, the cries,(FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 21 December 2017, in AAS 110 [2018], pp. 67 - 68).

[34] See PE, Principles and Criteria for the service of the Roman Curia, Introduction.

[35] See EP, arts. 2 - 5: pastoral nature of curial activities; articles 7 - 8: operational principles of the Roman Curia.

[36] See PB, Introduction, 8.

[37] PE, Preamble, 8.

[38] Cf. PE, Preamble, 4. Synodality is "a constitutive dimension of the Church, which through it manifests itself and shapes itself as a People of God on the journey and an assembly called by the risen Lord" (International Theological Commission, Synodality in life and in the mission of the Church , 2018, n.42). "Synodality expresses the nature of the Church, its form, its style, its mission" (FRANCIS, Address to the faithful in Rome , 18 September 2021. The text in question, currently not yet published in AAS , is available on the website of the Holy See.

[39] Cf. International Theological Commission, Synodality in the life and mission of the Church , n. 70.

[40] Cf. FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 22 December 2016, n. 9, in AAS 109 (2017), pp. 43 - 44.

[41] Cf. FRANCIS, Address to the Roman Curia , 22 December 2016, n. 8, in AAS 109 (2017), pp. 43.

[42] Cf. Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia, 4. Eastern hierarchical structures: Synods of Bishops of the Patriarchal Churches and Major Archbishops, Councils of the Hierarchs of the Metropolitan Churches sui iuris , Assemblies of the hierarchs of different Churches sui iuris who exercise their authority in the same country or region.

[43] Another expression of synodality: art. 107 § 2.

[44] Paul VI instituted the Synod of Bishops with Motu proprio Apostolica sollicitudo , 15 September 1965. Pope Francis, with the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis communio (15 September 2018), profoundly renewed it, inserting it in the framework of synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church , at all levels of its existence.

[45] " The Synod ... lends effective collaboration to the Roman Pontiff, according to the methods established by himself, in matters of greater importance, that is, those that require special knowledge and prudence for the good of the whole Church" (Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis communio , n.1).

[46] Cf. FRANCIS, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium , 32, in AAS 105 (2013), pp. 1033 - 1034.

[47] See PE, Principles and Criteria for the Service of the Roman Curia, 2.

[48] ​​“A principle of general value, namely: what individual men can do for themselves and with their own strength must not be taken away from them and left to the community; a principle that applies equally to the minor and lower-order communities as opposed to the larger and higher ones. Since - so the wise Pontiff continued - every social activity is by nature subsidiary of him; it must serve as a support for the members of the social body, and never destroy and absorb them. Truly bright words; which are valid for social life in all its degrees, and also for the life of the Church, without prejudice to its hierarchical structure " (Pius XII, Address to the new Cardinals , Consistory February 20, 1946, in AAS 38 [1946], pp. 144-145).“Que autorité ecclésiastique applique ici aussi le principe général de l'Aide subsidiaire et complémentaire; que l'on confie au laïc les taches, qu'il peut accomplir, aussi bien ou même mieux que le prêtre, et que, dans les limites de sa fonction ou celles que trace le bien commun de l'Eglise, il puisse agir librement et exercer sa responsabilité " (Pius XII, Address on the apostolate of the laity , 5 October 1957, in AAS 49 [1957], p. 927).

[49] Universal Church and particular Churches, Pope and College of Bishops, ordained priesthood and common priesthood of the faithful. "The power of the Supreme Pontiff does not in any way prejudice the episcopal power of jurisdiction, ordinary and immediate, with which the Bishops ... guide and govern, as true shepherds, the flock assigned to each of them, [power which] indeed is confirmed, strengthened and defended by the supreme and universal Pastor, as St. Gregory the Great solemnly affirms: “My honor is that of the universal Church. My honor is the solid strength of my brothers. I feel truly honored when each of them is not denied due honor " [cf. Epistle to Eulog. Alexandrin. , I, VIII, Ep. XXX] "(Dogmatic Constitution.Pastor aeternus , III, in ASS 6 [1870-71], p. 43-44).

[50] This is the law in the one Church of Christ, which otherwise would in fact be fragmented into many subjects extrinsic to each other, and which requires to be assumed in ecclesial practice to effectively and exemplary manifest the quality of that unity of which Christ endowed his Church as a gift and a task at the same time.

[51] See PE, Principles and Criteria for the Service of the Roman Curia, 4.

[52] See EP, art 1.

Speech by Prof. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SI

1. Role of the laity and vicar character of the Curia

An innovative aspect of the Constitution is that of the role of the laity within the Roman Curia.

The N. 5 of the Principles and criteria for the service of the Roman Curia (= Principles and criteria ) is expressed as follows: " Each curial institution fulfills its mission by virtue of the power received from the Roman Pontiff in whose name it operates with vicarious power in the exercise of its primatial munus. For this reason, any member of the faithful can preside over a Dicastery or an Organism, given the particular competence, power of governance and function of the latter ".

A first important affirmation of this number - which is obvious, but sometimes it seems as if its content is not taken into consideration - that of the vicar character of the Curia, already affirmed by the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus , 8. It is by virtue of the power received by the Roman Pontiff, ordinary vicarious power, that the Curial Institutions are authorized to intervene authoritatively by competence of the matter, or at the request of the bishops or on their own initiative if necessary.

From this follows the other affirmation of n. 5 of the Principles and Criteria , effectively innovative: " For this reason any member of the faithful can preside over a Dicastery or an Body, given the particular competence, power of governance and function of the latter". It is an important affirmation because it makes it clear that whoever is in charge of a Dicastery or other Body of the Curia does not have authority due to the hierarchical rank he is invested with, but due to the power he receives from the Roman Pontiff and exercises in his name. If the Prefect and the Secretary of a Dicaster are bishops, this must not lead to the misunderstanding that their authority comes from the hierarchical rank they have received, as if they were acting with their own power, and not with the vicarious power conferred on them by the Roman Pontiff. The vicarious power for carrying out an office is the same if received from a bishop, a presbyter, a consecrated person or a lay person.

Furthermore, in Praedicate Evangelium , art. 15, it is stated: " The Members of the Curial Institutions are appointed from among the Cardinals residing both in the city and outside it, to which are added, as particularly experts in the things in question, some Bishops, especially diocesan / eparchial, as well as, according to the nature of the Dicastery, some priests and deacons, some members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and some lay faithful "and what was found in the corresponding n. 7 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, who affirmed: "... but it being understood that the affairs, which require the exercise of the power of government, must be reserved to those who are awarded the sacred order". According to Praedicate Evangelium , art. 15, also the laity can carry out such affairs, exercising the ordinary vicarious power of government received from the Roman Pontiff with the conferment of the office.

This confirms that the power of governance in the Church does not come from the sacrament of Orders, but from the canonical mission.

This finds its foundation first of all in cann. 208 and 204 CIC 1983 and 11 and 7 §1 CCEO , which assume the conciliar doctrine ( LG 31a; 32b).

The can. 208 recognizes that by virtue of baptism among all the faithful " there is a true equality in dignity and in acting " so that all are called to cooperate in the building up of the body of Christ. In a similar way, can. 204 §1 affirms the responsibility of all the baptized with regard to the fulfillment of the mission that Christ has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world. However, given that the Christian community is constituted by the different hierarchical and charismatic gifts, the work of the Holy Spirit, therefore by the different ministries and activities, according to the two canons mentioned there are different juridical conditions among its members and plurality of juridical relations, for which the ways of building the body of Christ and carrying out the mission of the Church in the world differ, but are complementary to each other[1] . The fundamental equality among all the baptized, even if in differentiation and complementarity, is the foundation of synodality, which Mgr. Marco Mellino has already spoken about.

The can. 129 §2 CIC 1983 affirms: " In the exercise of the same power - mentioned in §1, that is, that of government or jurisdiction to which clerics are able - the lay faithful can cooperate according to the norm of law ", In can. 979 CCEO instead of " lay faithful " there is " all the other Christian faithful ". Regarding what we are now interested in highlighting, the meaning does not change.

What is stated in the Apostolic Constitution Pradicate Evangelium is of great importance, because the question of the admission of the laity to the exercise of the power of governance in the Church involves a broader question: whether the power of governance is conferred on bishops with the canonical mission and on the Roman Pontiff by divine mission or by the sacrament of Holy Orders. If the power of governance is conferred through the canonical mission, it can also be conferred on the laity in specific cases; if it is conferred with the sacrament of Holy Orders, the laity cannot receive any office in the Church which involves the exercise of the power of governance. For this reason it is worthwhile to offer some data to understand the novelty made.

The question is very complex and divides the authors. Here it is enough to say that it was debated repeatedly in the Second Vatican Council, but in the end this did not want to resolve it in the sense of its origin from the sacrament of Holy Orders, having changed the only text of Lumen gentium (the beginning of n. 28) which had remained formulated in this sense [2] .

During the reform process of the Code of Canon Law the question was again discussed and the Plenary Congregation of the enlarged Commission, held on October 20-29, 1981, was asked to suppress the current can. 129 §2 and 1421 §2 on the possibility of having a lay judge in a court of three judges, on the basis of the affirmation that the Second Vatican Council had affirmed the origin of all the power of governance in the Church from the sacrament of orders. The two canons remained, so the Commission rejected the request as it did not appear that the Council had affirmed this [3] . Since the reason given for the suppression had a doctrinal character, the fact that the two canons remained assumes a doctrinal significance.

John Paul II in n. 43 of Esap. Pastores gregis of 16 October 2003, referring to can. 381 §1 CC 1983 and can. 178 CCEO (note n. 166), explicitly stated that the Bishop " is invested, by virtue of the office he has received, with an objective juridical power, intended to be expressed in potestative acts through which to implement the ministry of government (munus pastorale ) received in the Sacrament " [4] .

The fact, then, that the Motu proprio of Pope Francis Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus of 15 August 2015 [5] , in art. 1673 §3, admits that out of a college of three judges two may be lay people, while providing that the president must be a cleric, reinforces the provision of can. 1421 §2, because it cannot be doubted that the laity can, by exercising the power of judicial governance received with the canonical mission, determine the nullity or otherwise of the marriage in question.

Along this line are the Principles and Criteria , n. 5, and art. 15 of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium . They settle the question of the capacity of the laity to receive offices that involve the exercise of the power of governance in the Church, provided they do not require the reception of Holy Orders, and indirectly affirm that the power of governance in the Church does not come from the sacrament of order, but from the canonical mission, otherwise the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution itself would not be possible.

2. The role of the Episcopal Conferences, their Unions and the Eastern hierarchical structures

The Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium develops the role of the Episcopal Conferences, their regional and continental Unions.

The Episcopal Conferences, on the basis of the Decr. Christus Dominus 37 and 38, enter the order of the Latin Church as a concrete form of application and development of the collegial spirit to help Bishops to face pastoral tasks and resolve ecclesial commitments and issues of common interest and not to replace their specific pastoral munus . Therefore, they are not considered intermediate hierarchical structures, but subsidiarity bodies which, as stated in the Preamble at nos. 7 and 8, do not interfere with the Petrine office or the government of particular Churches. The Preamble , saying in the same n. 7 which"They are currently one of the most significant ways of expressing and serving ecclesial communion in the various regions together with the Roman Pontiff, guarantor of the unity of faith and communion" , confirms that they express and encourage the exercise of "co-responsibility in communio " for the pastoral utility and the common good of the particular Churches through the joint exercise of certain functions proper to them. This collegial spirit, which inspires and guides the activity of the Episcopal Conferences, also leads to collaboration between the Conferences of different regions and continents as well, thus giving rise to regional and continental Unions [6] .

Correspondingly and adequately, the Constitution also underlines the role of the Eastern hierarchical structures, i.e. the Synods of Bishops of the patriarchal and major archbishopric Churches, the Councils of the Hierarchs of the Metropolitan Churches sui iuris , the Assemblies of the Hierarchs of different Churches sui iuris who exercise their authority in the same nation or region [7] .

It should be remembered here that can. 447 CIC 1983, referred to in its content by n. 9 of the Preamble , specifically says that the Bishops in the Episcopal Conference exercise "jointly" ( contiunctim and non collegialiter ) only "some pastoral functions" ( munera quaedam pastoralia ), therefore not all. It says “ jointly”To avoid thinking that in the Conferences the collegial power of the Bishops, which they can exercise only when the whole College is convoked, is put into effect. However, given that the episcopal ministry has a collegial dimension, the Conferences express it in the joint exercise of the particular power that the Bishops have over the Churches entrusted to them. Furthermore, making the canon referring to the joint exercise of only "some pastoral functions" and not of all, it wants to protect the responsibility that by divine right the Bishops have for the Church entrusted to their care.

Therefore, as reiterated in n. 7 of the Preamble , the power proper to Bishops / Eparchs in the exercise of their pastoral ministry is not affected, therefore the intent of the Constitution, expressed in n. 9 of the Preamble , is to enhance the Episcopal Conferences, their regional and continental Unions, as well as the Eastern hierarchical Structures in their potential for implementing the communion of Bishops among themselves and with the Roman Pontiff.

Therefore, according to n. 8 of the Preamble , the Episcopal Conferences, their Unions, the Eastern hierarchical structures, each according to its own nature, are a valid instrument that contributes, in multiple and fruitful ways, to the implementation of collegial affection among the members of the same episcopate and it provides for the common good of the particular Churches through a concerted and well-connected work of the respective pastors, an expression of close cooperation and an indication of the need for harmony of forces, as the fruit of the exchange of prudence and experience for the good of the whole Church. Therefore, they reveal themselves to be of great pastoral utility and express the affective and effective communion between the Bishops.

3. Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, with its own Statute approved by the Secretariat of State on 21 April 2015 [8] , was established by Pope Francis with an unsecured date on 22 March 2014 [9] , with the aim of proposing to the Roman Pontiff the most appropriate initiatives for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and to promote, together with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the responsibility of the particular Churches in this area. According to the art. 1 § 1 of the Statute, it was an autonomous institution connected with the Holy See, having public juridical personality (can. 116).

With the art. 78 of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium , it is established at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith with the same consultative function and the same purposes as it had (§ 2). In this way, the Commission becomes an effective part of the Roman Curia, while retaining a certain autonomy, because it is chaired by its delegated President and by a Secretary, appointed for five years by the Roman Pontiff (art.78 §4), has the its officers and operates according to its own rules (§5).

This integration into the Roman Curia shows particular attention to the question in question and indicates how much the Church is working to prevent such serious crimes from continuing to be perpetrated by clerics, members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and by faithful who enjoy dignity or perform an office or function in the Church. It is important, although it is rather difficult, to present and make known to public opinion, as well as to the ecclesial community itself, the set of growing and significant efforts that the Church has made in recent years with regard to the protection of minors. Indeed, the emphasis of the media is rather focused on scandals, rather than on a healthier consideration of how to combat sexual abuse, not only in the Church, but also in society.

A clear sign of the maturation of the Church with regard to sexual abuse was the reform of Book VI of the Code of Canon Law on Sanctions in the Church, desired by Pope Francis, as the ap. Pascite gregem Dei of 23 May 2021 in can. 1398 configures sexual abuse by placing it under title VI which is on "Crimes against the life, dignity and freedom of man" and not under Title V on "Crimes against special obligations", as in the case of can. 1395 CIC 1983. Furthermore, can. 1398 considers not only clerics subjects of this crime, as can. 1395 CIC 1983, but also the members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and "any member of the faithful who enjoys dignity or performs an office or function in the Church".

The position of the Pontifical Commission, then, is consistent with the fact that the competence of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and protect the integrity of Catholic morality (art.69) and, through the Disciplinary Office of the Disciplinary Section, to judge how Supreme Apostolic Court cases concerning sexual abuse (art.76 §1). In this way the Pontifical Commission has the task of preventing such crimes, while the Disciplinary Section of the Dicastery has the task of conducting the criminal action against them.

4. Economic organizations

The economic bodies provided for in articles 205-227 of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium are: the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the Office of the Auditor General, the Commission for Reserved Matters, the Investment Committee. With the exception of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, they have all been established by Pope Francis [10] . However, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See was renewed by Pope Francis [11] .

These are closely related Bodies of the utmost importance, to ensure that the temporal goods of the Church are administered according to the purposes for which the Church possesses them: to order divine worship, to provide for an honest sustenance for the clergy and other ministers. , exercise works of the sacred apostolate and charity, especially at the service of the poor (can. 1254 §2; Presbyterorum Ordinis17c). The criterion governing the connection between these Bodies is the clear distinction between administrative and financial responsibilities and those of control. Some examples. The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) is responsible for both the administration and the financial management of the movable and immovable property of the Holy See and, through the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), of the entities that have entrusted to fourth last, the administration of one's own assets (art. 219); on the other hand, the Secretariat for the Economy, as the Papal Secretariat, is responsible, through two distinct functional areas, for the control and supervision of administrative and financial matters over all the Curial Institutions, the Offices and the Institutions connected with the Holy See, therefore also over the APSA, as well as on the Pence of St. Peter and on other papal funds (articles 212; 213 § 2). The Council for the Economy is a supervisory body in the same area as the Secretariat for the Economy, but carries out an advisory function, following the best practices recognized internationally in the field of public administration, in order to have ethical administrative and financial management and efficient (art. 205). The annual budget and the consolidated final balance sheet of the Holy See are prepared by the Secretariat for the Economy (art.215.3), but are approved by the Council for the Economy, which submits them to the Roman Pontiff (art.209 § 1). Furthermore, the Secretariat for the Economy approves any act of alienation, purchase or extraordinary administration carried out by the Curial Institutions and by the Offices and Institutions connected with or referring to the Holy See,ad validitatem on the basis of the criteria established by the Council for the Economy (articles 218 § 1; 208).

The Auditor General, who acts in full autonomy and independence (Article Statute, Article 2 § 1), is responsible for the audit of the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See, therefore of all the annual financial statements of the individual Institutions and of the Curial Offices, as well as of the Institutions. connected with the Holy See or referring to it (articles 222; 223 § 1). In addition, he carries out reviews on: anomalies in the use or allocation of financial or material resources; irregularities in the granting of contracts and in the performance of transactions or disposals; acts of corruption or fraud (Article 224 § 1).

On the one hand, the Commission for Reserved Matters authorizes any legal, economic or financial act which, for the greater good of the Church or of people, must be covered by secrecy and also removed from the control and supervision of the competent bodies, on the other hand controls and supervises the contracts of the Holy See which, according to the law, require confidentiality (art. 225). Finally, the Investment Committee is an advisory body, with the aim of guaranteeing the ethical nature of the Holy See's securities investments (art. 227).

With M. p. In addition, a better organization of 26 December 2020 [12] , Pope Francis has sanctioned the transfer of the management of economic and financial functions from the Secretariat of State to the APSA, and has entrusted its control to the Secretariat for the Economy.

5. The interior reform: state and interior disposition of people

Pope Francis in his speech to the Roman Curia of 21 December 2020 stated that simply drafting the text of a new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia is not enough for its reform [13] , as, as he highlighted in the speech of 22 December 2016 to the Curia itself“It will be effective only and only if it is implemented with 'renewed' men and not simply with 'new' men. It is not enough to be content with changing the personnel, but it is necessary to bring the members of the Curia to renew themselves spiritually, humanly and professionally. The reform of the Curia is not implemented in any way with the change of persons - which certainly happens and will happen - but with the conversion in persons ... As for the whole Church, even in the Curia the semper reformanda must transform itself into a personal and structural one. permanent conversion " [14] .

Consequently, according to the Apostolic Constitution, in order for the Institutions of the Curia to function, the personnel must be qualified and therefore apply themselves with dedication and professionalism, having competence in the affairs they must deal with, acquired through study and experience, nourished by a lifelong learning. All this is to be framed in an exemplarity of life, which involves dedication, a spirit of piety and acceptance in the performance of one's duties and also an experience of pastoral service ( PE art.5-7; Principles and criteria , n.7 ). Pope Francis particularly dealt with the exemplarity of life in the MP The fidelity in things of 26 April. 2021 [15] .

The above does not apply only to officials (art.14 §§3 and 4), but obviously applies to all those who work in the Institutions even at the highest levels of responsibility, so that the appointments are not dictated by criteria of career advancement or exchanging favors, but by criteria of service, as incompetent people, especially in management positions, are extremely harmful. For this reason, the rule that the appointments are all for five years is also very appropriate, so that if the person is unsuitable for the office received, he is not renewed in it. Furthermore, the norm is also appropriate that clerical officials or members of Institutes of Consecrated Life or Societies of Apostolic Life, after five years of office, return to their own diocese or to their own Institute or Society, in order to avoid an automatic careerism. In any case, if the person is valid and there are no career aspirations in him, it is good that his office be renewed (art. 17 § 4).

Therefore, in order to offer the best and most effective service, art. 8 insists that the organization of the activity of each institution must be governed by criteria of rationality and functionality.

This is the natural basis for the proper functioning of the Curia, but what animates it must be that spirituality which is described in n. 6 of the Principles and Criteria , which is nourished by the relationship of all its members with Christ, whereby the service that is rendered is united with the experience of the covenant with God, in the joyful awareness of being disciples-missionaries at the service of the whole people of God.


[1] The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Letter Iuvenescit Ecclesia of 15 May. 2016, 11; 13-15, affirmed the co-essentiality of the charismatic and hierarchical gifts in relation to the divine constitution of the Church founded by Jesus (cf. Enchiridion Vaticanum 32 / 700-743).

[2] Cf. Acta Synodalia III / I, 225; III / VIII, 96-97.

[3] Cf. Pontificium Consilium de Legum Textibus Interpretandis, Congregatio Plenaria diebus 20-29 actobris 1981 habita , Vatican City 1991, 35-38.

[4] AAS 96 (2004) 825-927. Along the same lines, nos. 8 and 9 of the same Exhortation and nos. 12, 64 and 159 of the Dir. Apostolorum successores of the Congregation for Bishops of 22 Febbr. 2004, in Enchiridion Vaticanum 22 / 1567-2159. It should be noted that supporters of the origin of the power of governance from the sacrament of Orders do so on the basis of the identification between munus and potestas , due to the incorrect interpretation of the Constitution domm. Lumen gentium 21b.

[5] Cf. AAS 107 (2015) 958-970.

[6] Cf. cann. 447; 449; Principles and criteria , n. 4; John Paul II, M. p. Apostolos suos , nos. 3-5. 12, 14, 20 in AAS 90 (1988), 641-658; Dir. Apostolorum successores , nn. 28-32, 24; Eg ap. Pastores Gregis , 63. It should be pointed out that the Episcopal Conferences are not the only ones Ecclesiarum particularium coetus (cann. 431-459 CIC). There are, in fact, the Ecclesiastical Provinces, which are institutions bindingly provided for by law (can 431 CIC: componantur); these particular "groupings of Churches" are an expression of "institutions of communion between Churches". Then there are the Plenary Council, for all the Churches of an Episcopal Conference (can 439 § 1 CIC) and the Provincial Council, for all the Churches of a Province, (can 440 CIC) as institutes of synodal expression. Finally, the symbolism of the conferral of the pallium (cann. 437 § 1 CIC and, mutatis mudandis , 156 CCEO). In this regard, the Constitution in question does not exclude, much less deny all these ecclesial realities and in any case guaranteed by the CIC, intends to "enhance and strengthen pastorally" that of the Episcopal Conferences.

[7] Cf. Preamble n.9.

[8] Cf. AAS 107 (2015) 564-567.

[9] Cf. Ibid., 562-563.

[10] Cf. Mp Fidelis dispensator et prudens , 24 Febbr. 2014, AAS 106 (2014) 164-165; Mp Confirming a tradition , 8 Jul. 2014; Mp temporal goods , 4 July. 2016, in AAS 108 (2016) 962-865. The statutes of the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy and the Office of the Auditor General, were approved by Pope Francis respectively with the Mp Il Conslgiope rl'Economia , 22 Feb. 2015; the MP The Secretariat for the Economy , 22 Feb. 2015 and the MP The Office of the Auditor General , in Enchiridion Vaticanum 31 / 153-262.

[11] Mp Confirming a tradition , 8 July. 2014.

[12] Cf. L'Osservatore Romano 28 Dec. 2020, 11.

[13] Cf. L'Osservatore Romano 21 Dec. 2020, 8.

[14] AAS 109 (2017) 37- 38.

[15] Pope Francis provides: "Considering that those who work in the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, in institutions connected to the Holy See, or which refer to it, and in the administrations of the Governorate of the Vatican City State have a particular responsibility to make concrete the fidelity spoken of in the Gospel, acting according to the principle of transparency and in the absence of any conflict of interest, I establish the following: §1 In the General Regulations of the Roman Curia, after article 13, the following article is inserted “Article 13bis. §1 The subjects classified or to be classified in functional levels C, C1, C2 and C3, including the Cardinal Heads of Dicasteries or Heads of Bodies, as well as those who have functions of active judicial administration or control and supervision referred to in §2, including the subjects referred to in articles 10, 11 and 13§1 of these Regulations and 20 of the Regulations for lay management personnel of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State, must sign the act of taking up the office or '' assignment and every two years a declaration in which they certify: a) that they have not received definitive sentences for willful crimes in the Vatican City State or abroad and that they have not benefited from a pardon, amnesty, pardons and other similar measures or having been acquitted by them by prescription; b) not to be subjected to pending criminal trials or, as far as the declarant is aware, to investigations for crimes of participation in a criminal organization; corruption; fraud; terrorism or related to terrorist activities; laundering of the proceeds of criminal activities; exploitation of minors, forms of trafficking or exploitation of human beings, tax evasion or avoidance. c) not to hold, even through a third party, cash or investments, including shareholdings or interests of any kind in companies and businesses, in countries included in the list of jurisdictions with a high risk of money laundering or terrorist financing as identified by the provision of '' Supervisory and Financial Information Authority, unless the declarant or his relatives up to the third degree are resident in said countries or have established their domicile there for proven family, work or study reasons; d) that all the goods, movable and immovable, owned or even only held by the declarant or the remuneration of any kind received by the declarant, to the extent known to the declarant, come from lawful activities and do not constitute the product or profit of the crime ; e) not to hold, as far as the declarant is aware, shareholdings or interests of any kind in companies or businesses that operate with purposes and in sectors contrary to the Social Doctrine of the Church; f) not to hold, even through a third party, cash or investments, including shareholdings or interests of any kind in companies and businesses, in the countries included in the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes identified by provision of the Secretariat for the Economy, unless the declarant or his / her relatives up to the third degree are resident in said countries or have established their domicile there for family or work reasons or study and such availabilities have been declared to the competent tax authorities. §2 Active administration functions are understood to mean those which involve participation in proceedings which determine the undertaking of economic commitments of any kind by the Entity. The judicial functions referred to in paragraph 1 are judicial ones only. Paragraph 1 does not apply to support staff of control and supervisory bodies. As an anti-corruption authority, the offices and offices to which the declaratory obligations apply according to this paragraph are identified by a provision of the Office of the Auditor General. §3 The declaration referred to in paragraph 1 is kept by the Secretariat for the Economy in the personal file of the declarant. A copy of the same is sent, as far as it is concerned, to the Secretariat of State. §4 Where it has reasonable grounds, the Secretariat for the Economy, making use of the structures in charge of this in the Holy See or in the Vatican City State, can carry out checks on the truthfulness of the declarations presented. §5 Without prejudice to cases of criminal responsibility, the lack of declaration or the false or mendacious declaration constitutes a serious disciplinary offense pursuant to article 76, §1, n. 2) and legitimize the Holy See to request any damage suffered ". §2 In article 40, paragraph 1, of the General Regulations of the Roman Curia, the following letter is inserted after letter m): "n) accept or solicit, for oneself or for subjects other than the Body in which they work, for reasons or on the occasion of one's office, gifts, presents or other benefits of a value exceeding forty euros "" ( Communicationes 103, 2021, 75-78).