Pope Francis may fail to reform Curia: Thomas Reese SJ

24/04/2019Print This Post

Setting three criteria for real reform of the Church’s top administrative body, the Roman Curia, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Vatican, Thomas Reese SJ, expects Pope Francis to fail on all three.

“Although I love Francis, I expect to be disappointed by his reform proposals. Francis is a pastor, not a management expert. In addition, there are strong opponents of reform in the Curia. Some of the boxes on the organizational chart will be moved around, but it will make little difference.”

So declares Reese, in Three criteria to evaluate Francis’ reform of Vatican Curia in the National Catholic Reporter.

Reese’s three criteria are:

  • Will these reforms transform the Curia from a Court into a Civil Service?
  • Will they forward the cause of decentralisation in the church?
  • Will they separate executive, judicial and legislative powers?

Essentially Reese is arguing that the church’s central government still more closely resembles the court of an 18th century absolute monarch like Catherine the Great of Russia than it does a modern state – in which (at least in theory) no individual wields unaccountable power.

As an example of the obvious dysfunction of the present Curial system Reese cites the imposition by the Curia of the current disastrous translation of the Missal on all English-speaking countries, despite the Vatican II declaration that such decisions be made by the bishops to whom they applied – and the existence of a far superior translation agreed by those bishops in 1998.

For the complete NCR article, click here.

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