After nearly nine years of preparation, Pope Francis has promulgated the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium,” reforming the Roman Curia and its structures.
Fundamental among the general principles in the new Constitution is the provision that anyone – including lay people – can be appointed to roles of government in the Roman Curia by virtue of the vicarious power of the Successor of Peter.
The preamble to the Constitution explains this in the following terms:
“Every Christian, by virtue of Baptism, is a missionary disciple to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus. One cannot fail to take this into account in the updating of the Curia, whose reform, therefore, must provide for the involvement of laymen and women, even in roles of government and responsibility.”
Noting that the “pope, bishops and other ordained ministers are not the only evangelisers in the Church,” the Constitution goes on to explain that the role of lay people in governance was “essential” because of their familiarity with family life and “social reality.”
Consequently, “any member of the faithful can head a dicastery (Curia department) or organism” if the pope decides they are qualified and appoints them, it provides.
Pope Francis promulgates Apostolic Constitution on Roman Curia ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ (Vatican News)
Pope rules baptised lay Catholics, including women, can lead Vatican departments (Reuters)
Pope Francis visits Palo Cathedral in one of his sorties in Leyte Province Saturday, January 17, 2015. / Malacañang Photo Bureau/ Picryl