Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Chaos in the Roman Curia stem from the 1967 changes by Paul VI

When Pope Paul VI changed the legal structure of the Roman Curia in 1967, with the issuance of the Apostolic Constitution, Regimini Ecclasiae Universae, he set the dynamic that slowly led to the chaos, conflict and dysfunction within the present day Curia. The pretext for these legal changes was the Second Vatican Council that called for a closer and greater collaboration between the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops (so-called "collegiality"). Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with the Pope collaborating with his bishops; indeed, we should wish close ties between the local Ordinary and the universal, supreme Pastor. After all, the local bishop is dependent on his authority on the Successor of Peter. However, as we have seen over the past 40 odd years, the creation of a super department such as the Secretariat of State, has led not to healthy governance, but corruption, cronyism, careerism and worse. The past few weeks have only confirmed that something is very unhealthy in the governance of the Holy See.  

Prior to 1967, the structure of the Curia was the Pope, the Holy Office and the various Congregations. Post 1967, vast powers were transfered to the Secretariat of State; the renamed Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) being also subservient to the Secretariat. Thus, over time the Secretariat has assumed a massive amount of power - either directly, or through appointments, nepotism etc. No English version exists to my knowledge, but I have highlighted the salient passages in Latin and Italian.

...itemque ad mutuas rationes inter Sacras Congregationes ordinandas et fovendas constituere voluimus, ut tum negotia mixtae competentiae, quae dicuntur, communi consilio pertractarentur, tum facta convocatione per Cardinalem Secretarium Status, omnes Cardinales Dicasteriis praepositi munera et opera mutuo ordine nexuque componerent.

...Inoltre, per regolare e favorire i mutui rapporti tra le Sacre Congregazioni, abbiamo voluto stabilire che i cosiddetti affari di competenza mista siano trattati di comune accordo e che, in seguito alla convocazione da parte del Cardinale Segretario di Stato, tutti i Cardinali preposti ai Dicasteri svolgano insieme con ordine e concordia i loro compiti e lavori.

A whole chapter deals with the massive, sweeping new powers of the Secretariat, including reference to it assisting the Supreme Pontiff in governing the universal Church, commencing thus: 

19. § 1. Secretaria Status seu Papalis, cui praeest Cardinalis Secretarius, opem ferentibus Substituto et Adsessore, munus obtinet proxime iuvandi Summum Pontificem, tum in cura universae Ecclesiae, tum in rationibus cum Dicasterцs Romanae Curiae. 

19. § 1. La Segreteria di Stato o Papale, presieduta dal Cardinale Segretario coadiuvato dal Sostituto e dall'Assessore, ha il compito di aiutare da vicino il Sommo Pontefice sia nella cura della Chiesa universale sia nei rapporti con i Dicasteri della Curia Romana. 


Freyr said...

This explains the recent news of Cardinal Sodano and his cronies agitating for control of the Secretariat of State. The deal was Sodano's faction would support a plausible candidate for pope in return for their own man in the state position. In other words Cardinal Sandri, a man equally implicated in the Maciel affair, for Secretary of State in return for Sodanoista support for a papal candidate.

Barona said...

Large government likes to always be larger.... Vatican governance, not being infallible, is prone to the same temptations any government is.

Barona said...

One would expect better from bishops.... but alas... interesting to note: the Secretariat of State is so vast that it has innumerable lay employees etc. Consider the CDF has only about 30. One can then deduce how "Stato" is breathing down everyone's backs. It will take a Pope with not only an iron will - but actual interest in governance. The second longest papacy in history was woefully detached from reforming the problem - and, Pope Benedict inherited an absolute mess. Another problem is the alleged factional grouping of Sodanistas versus Bertone-ites.