ROME — Pope Francis’s reform of the Roman Curia underlines the importance of bishops’ conferences, particularly in fostering communion among the bishops themselves and with the pope, a bishop said.
The missionary nature and mandate of the church “is the backbone” of the apostolic constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preach the Gospel”), Bishop Marco Mellino, secretary of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, told the heads of Curia offices at a meeting May 9.
The lengthy text of the bishop’s speech to the group was published in the Vatican newspaper the same day.
With mission at the heart of its work, the newly organized Roman Curia is positioned to contribute to “the work of evangelization of the church in the way that is proper to it,” he said.
Mellino highlighted what he called the “guiding principles” in the new constitution, such as: the Curia as a body of service; the use of synodality within the Curia and throughout the entire church; co-responsibility and collegiality; spirituality and professionalism; and the role of the laity and bishops’ conferences.
The intent of the constitution, he wrote, is to promote episcopal conferences and regional and continental councils or assemblies “in their potential of putting into action the communion of the bishops among themselves and with the Roman Pontiff.”
These many bodies, with their own nature and characteristics, are “a valid instrument which contributes, in a diversified and fruitful way, to the realization of collegial affection among the members of the same episcopate and provides for the common good of the particular churches,” the bishop wrote.
This is done through “the concerted and well-connected work of their respective shepherds, an expression of close collaboration and an indication of the need for a harmony of forces,” which comes out of a mutual use of “prudence and experience for the good of the whole church,” he wrote.