The diagnosis, severe, had been made for a long time. Precisely since December 22, 2014. That day, before an assembly of dumbfounded cardinals, Pope Francis, still in the momentum of his recent election, had drawn up a list of fifteen diseases that are eating away at the Curia from the inside. Rivalries, vanity, “Spiritual Alzheimer’s”… This brutal awareness sounded the charge against the logics of the court which withered the government of the Church and diverted it from its essential mission: the proclamation of the Gospel.

The new apostolic constitution published this Saturday, March 19 is the culmination of this process. It is significant that the Gospel occupies the first place, even in the title: Praedicate evangelium. The text carries the seeds of several revolutions. We find there the mark of Pope Francis, who has always insisted on the primacy of the encounter with Christ and on the fight against clericalism. Doctrinal questions are no longer first in the flowchart. As for the clerics, they lose their quasi-monopoly on the organs of government. All the faithful, lay or consecrated, men or women, will be able to preside over a dicastery (the pope’s “ministries”), whereas today these are overwhelmingly in the hands of cardinals.

It would be unwise to place too much hope in ostensibly organizational changes. However, this powerful reform, if fully applied, is likely to upset the Church not only in its functioning, but also in the way it announces its message to the world. Especially if his spirit is diffused by capillarity in the dioceses, the parishes and even in the hearts of the faithful. In Christian language, there is another word for “revolution”: “conversion”.


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