Robert Mickens reports for La Croix –It is perhaps the most ambitious project of the current pontificate: attempting to truly reform the mentality and structures of the Catholic Church’s central – and, up until Francis arrived, centralizing– bureaucracy known as the Roman Curia.
Exactly one month after his election in March 2013, the Argentine pope established the “Council of Cardinals”.
Originally made up of eight and then nine senior churchman from different parts of the world, the members of this C-9 were given the task of helping Francis in his governance of the Universal Church.
They were also given the very specific project of drawing up a plan to reform the curia by revising the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus, which currently regulates this Vatican structure.
A draft of the new constitution was completed over a year ago, but the pope wanted to give national episcopal conferences, select heads of religious orders and certain theologians the opportunity to offer more suggestions.
Early in the year there was talk that the final document would be released on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter in February or, at latest, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul at the end of June.
But then the pandemic hit and the remnant of the C-9, now reduced to just six cardinal-members, cancelled its last three meetings.
So is the project on hold? Not according to a source at the Vatican who claimed the new constitution, Praedicate Evangelium, is done and Pope Francis has already signed it.
It appears the text is currently being carefully translated into the major languages. And once that is done, it will be officially published.
Naturally, this would be extremely out of the ordinary. The middle of Roman summer is not usually the time for launching major Vatican documents or important events. But this is not an ordinary pontificate.