The Vatican has moved a step closer towards having a new constitution. Pope Francis’s council of cardinal advisers has been considering the comments on the first draft from bishops, theologians and others.
The council will make a final set of revisions before giving the draft to Pope Francis to look over.
Why was it under-reported?
The Vatican’s statement said nothing about the specific issues discussed – only that there were “many contributions … from bishops’ conferences, from the specific observations from the dicasteries of the Roman Curia”, and from other groups such as Eastern Catholic synods and the pontifical universities.
The progress towards an updated constitution has been slow: we know its proposed title – Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”) – so the media is perhaps well advised to wait until more is known.
What will happen next?
The new constitution is expected to centralise power in the Secretariat of State, while other departments are renamed “dicasteries”.
The Catholic News Agency has quoted “one long-serving curial official” as warning that “this is just the total centralisation of power … Nothing can be done without the pope’s approval, and nothing gets to the pope except through [the Secretariat of State].” There are also fears that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be sidelined. But the council may suggest changes.
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