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Pope reforms the Curia

One of the most awaited moments in Pope Francis' papacy has arrived. With the publication of the Apostolic Constitution, Praedicate Evangelium, "Preach the Gospel," he has introduced changes all throughout the Vatican.

This document outlines the structure of the organisms that govern the Church. The purpose of the reform is to express the collegial nature of episcopal ministry. Church institutions in Rome are not an imposition on the bishops, but rather a support for them.

Pope Francis reminds us that every Christian is called to be a disciple and a missionary.

The most notable change to the structure of the Church in Rome is the establishment of the main organisms as dicasteries. There are sixteen dicasteries. Notable among them is the Dicastery for Evangelization, headed by Pope Francis himself. He has made great strides over the years showing the priority of evangelization, which gives him a lot of credibility in effecting this reform.

He outlines eleven criteria for the service of the sixteen dicasteries, first among them service to the Pope's mission.

Another interesting fact is that any member of the faithful can be head over any of the dicasteries. This opens the door for more involvement at high levels of Church function for laity. This re-affirms the value of the priestly and episcopal vocation to teaching, sanctifying, and governing; while at the same time allowing for more involvement in the more bureaucratic functions inherent to such a large organization.

What are some takeaways from this mammoth announcement made on the Solemnity of St. Joseph? It is worth remembering that Pope Francis had his inaugural Mass on March 19, 2013.

  1. Evangelization is the priority. When the Church is not trying to spread Christ's Gospel message, we are wasting our time.

  2. It is mission-oriented. Each of us has a mission to fulfill in this great task of evangelization.

  3. We are all called to be missionaries and disciples.

Rome Reports has an excellent video summary, which you can see here:

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