MUMBAI, India – A leading advisor of Pope Francis says the new reform of the Vatican bureaucracy will require an “attitude of service” from members of the Roman curia.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay is a member of the pontiff’s Council of Cardinals that advised him on the curia reform, which culminated with the document Predicate Evangelium, released on March 19.
“The Reform of the Curia was the first major program the Holy Father started exactly one month after his papacy was inaugurated. On April 13, 2013, he appointed his Council of Cardinals to advise him in the reform of the curia and the governance of the universal Church,” Gracias told Indian Currents.
“The reason why the Holy Father took up the reform of the Roman curia as a priority was because during the pre-conclave meetings of cardinals, when reflecting and discussing about the church, a reform of the curia was suggested by many cardinals. Pope Francis responded to this expressed need by appointing a council of advisors to assist him.
“The reform needs a change of mental attitude: An attitude of service is needed on the part of all members of the curia,” the cardinal explained.
“A key principle is that the curia should not be a body between the Holy Father and bishops of the world, but be at the service of both the Holy Father and the local churches. This was sought to be worked out in the entire document. The title of the document ‘Preach the Gospel’ indicates the primary purpose of the church, every dicastery, and every member of the curia,” he continued.
Gracias noted this is also reflected in the great importance given to the Dicastery for the Evangelization of Peoples by the pontiff, which is mentioned before the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Although the document replaces Pastor Bonus, the 1988 curia reform of St. John Paul II, Gracias said many of the changes in the document have already taken place.
“The process of the reform has already begun. As we know, the Holy Father has already changed the structure and personnel in some dicasteries,” he said, referring to the consolidation of offices which took place near the beginning of Francis’s pontificate.
“For change to take place effectively, the mental attitude must change. I see it already happening. The ‘Francis Effect’ is already evident, naturally at a different pace in the different dicasteries, depending on the nature of the dicastery and the personnel in the dicastery. The reform has begun,” Gracias said, adding that he doesn’t think there is an end point for the reform. It needs to continue, not only during this papacy but even beyond.”