Christopher Lamb in Rome

New constitution means all work of the curia comes under a mission to evangelise, clipping wings of the powerful CDF

Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, during the pope’s annual pre-Christmas meeting with officials of the Roman Curia and College of Cardinals
Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media

Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia will see the creation of a new “super ministry” dedicated to evangelisation that will take precedence over the once-powerful Vatican doctrinal body.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, is the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema.” For years, it policed theologians, set out the red lines of Catholic doctrine and gave its rubber stamp to all major Vatican documents.

But according to Vida Nueva, the respected Spanish Catholic publication, the congregation will no longer hold the number one spot in the curia. Under Francis the CDF has already lost significant influence, and the new constitution formally sets out that it now comes under the new mission statement of spreading the Gospel.

The changes are contained in the new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”) drafted by the Pope and his council of cardinal advisers over the last five years, and which could be published on 29 June, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.

The whole thrust of the constitution puts evangelisation at the heart of the Roman Curia’s mission, meaning that every aspect of Catholicism’s civil service, must flow from this.

“Pope Francis always emphasises that the Church is missionary. That is why it is logical that in first place we have put the Dicastery for Evangelisation and not the Doctrine of the Faith,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the co-ordinator of the council of cardinals, told Vida Nueva for an article to be published in the magazine on Saturday and seen by The Tablet.

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

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, another member of the council of cardinals – which is now made up of six members – stressed that this new department will become the “first dicastery.”

He explained: “The key point in the new apostolic constitution is that the mission of the Church is evangelisation. It [the constitution] puts it [evangelisation] in the centre of the Church and of everything that the curia does. It will be the primary dicastery. The title of the text shows that evangelisation is the number one objective, taking priority over anything else.”

In practical terms, the super dicastery on evangelisation will come from a merger of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, set up by Benedict XVI in 2010 and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, which oversees the Church in the old mission territories. Known as Propaganda Fidei it is a powerful part of the Curia with a large budget and influence over appointment of bishops. Its prefect is known as the “Papa Rossa” (“Red Pope”).

Another reform set out by the constitution includes the establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors as part of the curia which would give the Pope’s child protection body greater authority and make it more effective. One of the difficulties the commission has faced has been a lack of any legal status in the Vatican.

Along with its theological work, the CDF oversees the church trials of priests accused of clerical sexual abuse, although it is not clear how the protection of minors body will work with the doctrinal one on this matter.

Meanwhile, Vida Nueva reports that a new dicastery which carries out charitable works in the name of the Pope could also be created in the new constitution.

Francis has already bolstered the charitable office of the papal almoner by making its current incumbent, Konrad Krajewski, a cardinal, although his role is Rome-based and could be expanded. A department based on charity would also demonstrate that bringing the Gospel means words must be accompanied by actions.

“After evangelisation, has to come charity,” Cardinal Maradiaga said.

Founded in 1542, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was set up to spread “sound Catholic doctrine.”

Under the 23 year leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – it gained a reputation for investigating and disciplining theologians and played a major role in the Church’s internal doctrinal battles.

During the Francis pontificate, the investigations of theologians by the congregation have dried up and the CDF has taken a back seat under a pastoral Pope who wants doctrine applied to the Church’s mission rather than drifting into ideology.

But Cardinal Gerhard Muller, who served as prefect of the congregation under Francis until his dismissal in 2017, argued that his role meant he was responsible for “theologically structuring” the Francis papacy because the first Latin American Pope was “more pastoral.”

This, however, appeared to be an overstatement of his role given that up until 1965 Popes acted as prefects of the doctrine congregation, and it is the Roman Pontiff who has “supreme, full, immediate and universal” power in the Church.

Since his departure from office, Cardinal Muller has become one of Francis’ most outspoken critics.

The new constitution is set to underline the importance of the Vatican and the Roman Curia being at the service of the Pope and local churches, placing diocesan bishops on a par with the prefects of curial departments.

In the decades since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which envisioned an enhanced role for local bishops and churches, there have been numerous complaints that some officials in the Roman Curia overreached their authority.

Rather than working with local bishops, in years gone by diocesan bishops found themselves being bossed around by Vatican officials, particularly when it came to questions of the liturgy and vexing doctrinal matters.

This Pope made the council’s reforms the guiding light of his pontificate, calling for a “cautious decentralisation” in the Church and handing greater powers to local bishops when it comes to liturgical translations.

The new constitution also envisages putting more laity into positions of leadership – something long talked about – and merging the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education into one body. There will no longer be distinctions between councils and congregations, which will be known as dicasteries.

But Cardinal Maradiaga made clear the reform has not just been about merging congregations: “the main objective is to underline the importance of lay people in the Church and for the Church.”

The new constitution makes clear that not only clerics need to be in charge of departments (currently there is one lay man in charge of Vatican dicastery – Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the communications department).

There is also a possible downgrading in the influence of the role of the Secretariat for the Economy, once led by Cardinal George Pell.

Cardinal Pell, now in an Australian prison after being convicted for sexual abuse offences against children, had sought to make himself the “manager of the Holy See” on financial matters. But Vida Nueva reports that on the hierarchal flow chart it now comes under the major dicasteries.

The council of cardinals is due to discuss Praedicate Evangelium, which updates John Paul II’s 1988 constitution Pastor Bonus, during their meeting on 25-27 June.

While it is possible Praedicate Evangelium will be promulgated by the Pope on 29 June, the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, this could be delayed as bishops’ conferences across the world and the Roman Curia have been asked to offer feedback on the draft of the text. These need to be sent through by the end of May.

Significant changes to the text are not expected, as this is the final round of consultation.

“The Pope wanted a long process in which ideas could take off without leaving people behind,” Cardinal Gracias said.

After the new document is published the council of cardinals will continue to advise the Pope on reforms including an update on Canon Law and brainstorm new ideas on matters such as financial management and the role of women.

Cardinal Maradiaga told Vida Nueva that a synod of bishops could be called to apply the “practical ecclesiology” envisaged by the new constitution.

“The Holy Spirit continues to blow,” he said. “It does not take a siesta or go on holiday.


The Roman curia should be abolished as it consists of ambitious men who want position and promotion.

It is also a hotbed of corruption and promiscuous homosexuality.

The RCC should be decentralized with local churches having much more autonomy.

The world’s bishops should have more say and they themselves should be chosen by the priests and people of their diocese.


Maradiaga and the Holy Spirit are unacquainted. He is an oul’ lying money grabbing homo pervert. Francis continues his plan to deconstruct all Catholic morality and teachings and replace it with a globalist belief system. The anti Christ and the one-world religion are on the way.
But most of you lot refuse to see it.


Are you a right-wing American ‘Catholic’? You’re a secessionist of some sort. For us Catholics, Francis is the only show in town. There are plenty of other options for you and your ilk, as numerous commentators on here seem to put it.


Papalatory at its best. Is it any wonder the Orthodox and Protestants are wary of Catholic attempts at ecumenism. You shouldn’t worship the current Pope and treat him like some sort of powerful dictator who unilaterally changes doctrine, though that’s what abuse enabler Francis does.



I’m 11.27. I’ve just read down the blog and it would seem that you are outnumbered ( not that numbers are related to Truth). I would advise you not to claim to speak for Catholics. I am a Catholic and can trace the lineage of my beliefs, can you? I will not be leaving the Catholic Church. It is probable that your idol francis will have gone to his eternal judgement before me, and his henchman Maradiaga also.
You put your faith in a man, I put my trust in Christ’s eternal Church and the Holy Spirit.


There are no ‘right wing’ or ‘left wing’ Catholics. There are only Catholics who follow what the Holy Spirit has always taught through Christ’s Church and those who don’t.
Read up on Paul, he will remind you that you should only be saying, “I am for Christ.”


I do not trust Maradiaga, he whiffs with scandal. He is close to PF so he has never been properly investigated, look at Ed Pentin’s work. Another wolf in sheep’s clothing


The Bishops of England and Wales continue to promote poor liturgy, devalue doctrine and appease the state to maintain the schools.There are few vocations and the typical candidate is an intellectually challenged gay man who’s real calling is just to be an ordinary baptised Christian and to be happy in that state.The Bishops are all totally interchangeable former Vicar Generals who know all the falls from grace. How many years has the Church got left? Five at the most?


Someone left a comment on here some time ago to the effect that ecclesiastical supply companies are expecting their business to plummet in the next five to ten years. That’s also more or less the life expectancy given the English Benedictine Congregation.


Time for new courage in appointment of bishops. Time to break away from the obvious old gang (and their crushing ambition). For Dublin, think about the present Cistercian Abbot of Mount Melleray! He is a Dubliner, elected a few years ago, (unusually), while serving already as abbot at Roscrea. He is highly educated, prudent, efficient while clearly committed to spiritual life.


2.44: Why not promote Buckley for Archbishop of Dublin or as an auxiliary? All our problems would be solved overnight. He’d empty our churches with his venom and poison….then we’d have nothing to worry about..Poor old Patsy!


You are deliberately being provocative with this ‘proposal,’ when you know very well it can’t happen. One suspects that your motivation is pure badness.


It looks from the theme and language as well as from the avatars, as if six of the first seven comments on today’s post are from the same person whose anti-Francis rhetoric is blinding her to the realities that Jesus Christ promised to be with his church until the end of time and that he promised to Peter (and to his successors) that whatever they loose and bind on earth will be loosed and bound in heaven. The conclave of 2013 had the Holy Spirit as its inspiration and guide.
May the Lord continue to bless our Holy Father, Francis, and to preserve him from the hands of his enemies and all who hate him.


Many of us no longer accept the Peter thing. He was never the bishop of Rome and may never have been there. You have a very childish outlook.


So Pat, since one of the offices of a bishop is to teach, how do you interpret the passage in Matthew 16?


I believe those words were addressed to all the apostles and the church as a whole. There were no “bishops” in Peters time and there was no bishop of Rome. Its doubtful that Peter was in Rome and he was not the overseer there.the mission of the apostles was to the whole church and not individual churches.


Sorry to disappoint you, Miss Marple. Avatars do seem to be mostly the same today but must be coincidence only. As to the conclave in 2013? Well, only the self -willed blind continue to deny that that was a mafia ( their own words) plot.


The conclave is only a method of election like an Abbot in a monastery it’s not the direct work of the Holy Spirit who then ‘ speaks’ through the next pope. It’s so predictable to hear about a reform of the Roman Curia as if we are so stupid that we think it’s that important it’s Pope Francis who needs some reform he’s shown favouritism to very unsuitable prelates consistently throughout his pontificate, anyone who Cardinal Murphy O Connor thought highly of must be terrible


This document which is now at draft stage is the result of the council of cardinals convened by HF Francis and who have met so far 39 times since his election.


The fact the holy Spirit was promised to the church does not guarantee that the church is that body which calls itself Catholic at any one time. The Spirit is promised to the church and the church is indefectible, but the church may not be where you say it is. This is an unprecedented time historically and I think the wrangling will carry on for a couple of centuries more.
It’s interesting when clerics sneer on here at how few go to the Oratory, for example. Why do numbers matter? I also have a difficulty with the RC church saying it is the Catholic Church because I don’t think it is. Up to about 20 years ago I would have said it was part of the Catholic Church with other bodies ( such as the Old Catholics). At this point I’m really not seeing the Catholic Church subsisting in any one body, because they’re all screwed. I see it in small groups here and there but don’t want really to commit myself to naming any because every time I do they explode or disappear!


2 38: You Pat, may no longer accept the “Peter thing” as you ignorantly describe it! Speak for yourself. Now you are acting like a 5th evangelist with no academic, theological or scriptural learning or professionalism. Of course, the oratory was founded to satisfy your narcissistic tendencies and as a vehicle for containing and spewing out your poison, hatred and vengeance. The oratory’s authority is that of a show of hands – yours and your reflection in the mirror. Your bizarre theology is self serving, shallow and represents your narrow mindedness and nastiness against all things CATHOLIC. God bless POPE FRANCIS – true successor of St. Peter….Buckley, go and p**s yourself at the back door of your hayshed!! You smug fool….😁😁😁🐃🐃

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You worship a man who presides over international corruption and child abuse. You poor blind fool.


We don’t “worship a man” and well you know it.

It doesn’t matter one iota whether Peter was ever in Rome or not. What matters is the ministry conferred on him and his successors by the Lord.

Anticatholics have been attempting to explain away Matthew 16 and John 21, among other Petrine texts, for 500 years without success.

Peter, whether you like it or not, was given a ministry and a charism unique to him by Jesus Himself.

To accuse Catholics of “worshipping” the Pope is malicious and slanderous.

Indeed, Pat, it’s a bit rich for you to accuse anyone else of being “childish”. You show yourself utterly incapable of anything remotely approaching fair mindedness and balance.

Your prejudice and peeves influence everything you think, say and write – like a big petulant child.

In any case, there is plenty of historical basis for the tradition that Peter died a martyr’s death in Rome that cannot be so easily dismissed.

The “Peter thing” Really? 🙄

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I would say elementary to the work of the Holy Spirit is co-operation with His guidance. If a group have already decided on a candidate, gained his acceptance and then plot to persuade others to vote for him (all done before the conclave officially begins) and AGAINST THE RULES FOR VALID ELECTIONS, I would deduce that they have not prayed for and followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit but, rather, usurped His authority and appropriated it to themselves.
Imagine that, the audacity and presumption to act as GOD. If this is the case, what a reckoning there will be!


It seems as if your methodology is to put the cart before the horse. You don’t like Pope Francis. You are entitled to your preferences. Then you search in vain for a rationale for your dislike. A bottle of smoke, as the venerable Francis Cremin late lamented of Maynooth would have called it. You are not a genuine Roman Catholic if you don’t accept the Pope the Holy Spirit has granted the church in this her time of need. Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia.

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Could you enlighten us as to the 9 (originally before various scandals) Cardinals francis chose for his council?
It might help us to know who exactly these very, very, very Holy and Spirit-filled Cardinals were?
It is also enlightening to review the genuinely Holy Cardinals demoted and sidelined by him (Sarah etc.).
I await the list of 9 names and a potted scandal resume of each.


Begorra lets see. Changing management is wan thing Shaking up the boyos on the ground floor is something else. Sure the poor auld people will have more to do than schtand up pay up put up and shut up I hope but


Pope Benedict had to intervene only a week ago. Let’s turn the tables: you DO like francis, for whatever reason – lax on homosexual clergy or whatever, so therefore you will not countenance that he was elected through scheming. You totally avoid the possibility of errant cardinals disregarding the Holy Spirit. This is strange. Sounds like ‘clericalism’, the new greatest sin, to me. Was McCarrick following the Holy Spirit when he raped boys and seminarians? I assume you will assent to a ‘no’. Therefore, cardinals can disregard the Holy Spirit. In fact McCarrick, although not eligible to vote, was one of the main proponents of francis, hardly a great reference. Since his ‘election’ he has surrounded himself with a most UNHOLY cabal of cardinals.
You insist that the St Galen Mafia was acting for God the Holy Spirit, I disagree.
I am quite happy to be in the company of many eminent theologians and HOLY bishops and cardinals, who you can be assured think a lot more than they publically say re this pontificate.
To paraphrase, in those days a wolf, and not a shepherd I will give them.
Perhaps as well as assuming the authority to tell me that I am not Catholic you might, in Christian charity, contact retired Bishop Gracia of Abyssum Abyssus Invocat to advise him of his excommunication. I’m sure you have concern and responsibility for his soul.
Hopefully, as God works in mysterious ways and can turn all things unto good, the foul pus which has been infecting Christ’s body will now rise obviously to the surface during this pontificate – the better for God to lance and remove it in His own way. Francis the poultice.


Good evenin hi fly.
Begorra fly time will tell if movin th furnitur on th top deck will make a differnce.
Super priests needed more than ever to minister. Are they in hidin.
Butt evangels need to practice what’s been preached and knot be empty vessals or bangin gongs.
Bye fly hi.


Picking up from a blog at the weekend. 3 men have now been approached in Glasgow to become Auxiliary there. All 3 declined. Presuming they all have skeletons they want kept in the cupboard which is fine, but what about the background check by the Nuncio. Shouldn’t they have been ruled out before? An offer is being made this week to a 4th man – watch this space.


Not more shit about Scotland. This is an Irish blog. You are taking up valuable space. Away and iron your kilt and put her haggis on hen!


6.58 disgusting to say the least..

This is a blog for all and Bishop pat has said that time and time again.

Well disappointed that + Pat has allowed your racism but what else would anyone expect from someone like you.

The Catholic Church is World Wide…..


Be interesting to see if it happens this week and if they get right of succession but I do not think so.
+John Keenan will get Glasgow in the future.
Do you know any names or speculation of who it maybe.


Spare a thought for all those being recognized the All Ireland Clergy Golf prizegiving tonight at the Killeshin in Portlaoise.


Maybe the Religious Affairs budget was spent on the Maynooth Holy Week ceremonies.
Photos of the prizewinners are on +Denis’s Twitter feed if anyone is interested.

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6.30: Well done to all the golfers! Aren’t they rught to enjoy themselves this Easter Week? If this is all you’re concerned about, then what a boring, miserable life you have! God h-e-l-p you.

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Its meaningless to the laity as they arent interested re shakeup. It’s a corporation with a soverign state.
Any new developments or new shakeup deserves to be treated with caution or a pinch of salt. It never works as palnned. Rem VII which turned out quite differently.
saw a website suggesting that the vatican/papacy is anti christ which i thought a bit of a joke.It could be closer to the truth.
Interesting bit was other poster said that Peter was never in Rome so it’s a possibility that apostolic succession isnt valid as RCC claim to be. That bit re Peter which i didnt know.
Agree with another poster that PF was/is enabler of abuses. Thank God for Vigano as he exposed the width and depth of corruption that is rotting inside the vatican. PF continued to back pontifical secrepriort which was implemented sine 1922 as all previous popes prior to PF have backed it.
What’s the story with pontifical secret that i don’t understand.

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Pat. Is it true that ex UK Nuncio Antonio Mennini was moved back to the Vatican because of alcoholism and inppropriate behaviour? I am
new to your blog and wondered why he left so soon. Not sounding good.

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Sandra, There is No proof as it was all covered up he was moved out very quick and is in the Vatican.

There is No mention of him or what he gets up too maybe just retired but everyone was shocked at how quick he was dismissed and no mention to anyone about it.

His successor is due to retire in the Autumn which has been a short time appointment.

Strangely enough Charlie brown papal Nuncio of Ireland was moved out quick as well.

So Sandra your information maybe correct he did like the wine…..

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