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Pope Paul VI's reform of the Roman Curia was accomplished through a series of decrees beginning in 1964, principally through the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae issued on 15 August 1967.
On 28 October 1965, the bishops attending Second Vatican Council had asked Pope Paul to consider how the departments of the Roman Curia could "be reorganized and better adapted to the needs of the times, regions, and rites especially as regards their number, name, competence and peculiar method of procedure, as well as the coordination of work among them."
On 2 April 1964, Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications.
As part of the preparations for the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII has created the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity on 5 June 1960. Paul VI added two more secretariats to extend the Vatican's attempt to establish relationships with the non-Catholic world, with other religious groups and with the non-religious. On 19 May 1964, Paul VI established the Secretariate for non-Christians and named Cardinal Paolo Marella, a Vatican diplomat for forty years, fifteen of then stationed in Japan, to head it. The title of his decree, Progrediente concilio ("While the Council is proceeding"), hinted that this was a harbinger of a larger reform that would await the conclusion of the council.On 6 April 1965, Paul VI established the Secretariat for Dialogue with Non-Believers. He named Franz König, Archbishop of Vienna, its president.
Paul VI issued Integrae servandae on 7 December 1965, the eve of the ceremony marking the end of the Second Vatican Council. It accomplished one significant modification to that part of the Roman Curia that had proved most controversial during the council for its management–its critics would say manipulation–of the proceedings. With this letter, the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office temporarily lost its designation as "Sacred" and received a new title that specified its area of competence: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It restricted the department's right to act secretly and provided rights to those accused of heresy. Authors of books acquired rights to notification and a hearing before the department could ban their work. It was instructed to coordinate its work with the Pontifical Biblical Commission, which meant that it would have to take account of new scholarly approaches to biblical texts, a movement it had long resisted. Its traditional autonomy and insularity were challenged by requirements to use consultors named by the pope and to consider the views of "congresses of the learned" and regional associations of bishops.
Paul VI created the Council of the Laity and the Pontifical Commission Iustitia et Pax on 6 January 1967.To the latter, on 15 July 1971, he added the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Promoting Human and Christian Development. He named Cardinal Jean Villot, his Secretary of State, as its president.
With Regimini Ecclesiae universae,
New bodies (largely taking over functions previously carried out, sometimes in less coordinated form, by earlier bodies) were founded by Regimini. They included two offices to manage and oversee financial affairs, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
The functions of some offices that had already been severely reduced were abolished: the Sacred Ceremonial Congregation and the Apostolic Datary.
The competencies of the Sacred Roman Rota and the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura were extended.
Previously, only cardinals were members of the congregations of the Curia. Pope Paul VI decreed that the members could also be bishops who were not cardinals. With Regimini Ecclesiae universae he laid down also that appointments to membership of congregations and as heads of departments would be for five-year periods only, and that appointment for an additional five-year period would also be possible.As before, the members of a congregation do not intervene in the day-to-day operations of the congregation, which is in the hands of the Prefect and the permanent staff, headed generally by the Secretary and the Undersecretary. Membership normally meet to discuss more general problems and to determine guidelines no more than once a year.
The permanent staff is to be of international provenance, chosen from people with suitable preparation and with pastoral experience.These have no claim on promotion to the highest positions.
Each congregation is to have consultors, who are appointed for five-year (renewable) periods.
Account must be taken of the wishes of the episcopal conferences.
The most widely known languages may be used, as well as Latin.
Pope Paul also established that on the death of a pope the posts of heads of departments become vacant, with the exception of those of Cardinal Vicar for Rome, Camerlengo and Major Penitentiary.A new pope is therefore free to name department heads of his own choosing.
Periodic meetings of the heads of departments can be called by the Cardinal Secretary of State with a view to coordinating activities, providing information and gathering suggestions.
Other meetings between officials of more than one departments are also held in accordance with needs.Meetings involving the Congregations for Bishops, for the Clergy, for Religious, and for Catholic Education are to be held at fixed times to deal with questions concerning the clergy in general.
The Sacred Congregation of Rites was divided into two on 8 May 1969 to become the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints with responsibility for managing cases of beatification and canonization and the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship with responsibility for liturgical practices.The later was combined on 11 July 1975 with the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments to form the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The functions of the Apostolic Chancery, reduced by Pope Pius X in 1908 to little more than signing papal bulls were transferred in 1973 to the Cardinal Secretary of State.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.
The College of Cardinals, formerly styled the Sacred College of Cardinals, is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church. As of 13 January 2021, its current membership is 227. Cardinals are appointed by the pope for life. Changes in life expectancy partly account for the increases in the size of the college.
The Congregation for the Clergy is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for overseeing matters regarding priests and deacons not belonging to religious orders. The Congregation for the Clergy handles requests for dispensation from active priestly ministry, as well as the legislation governing presbyteral councils and other organisations of priests around the world. The Congregation does not deal with clerical sexual abuse cases, as those are handled exclusively by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See. The Secretariat is divided into three sections, the Section for General Affairs, the Section for Relations with States, and, since 2017, the Section for Diplomatic Staff.
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, and the curial congregation responsible for contact with the Eastern Catholic Churches for the sake of assisting their development and protecting their rights. It also maintains whole and entire in the one Catholic Church, alongside the liturgical, disciplinary, and spiritual patrimony of the Latin Rite, the heritage and Oriental canon law of the various Eastern Catholic traditions. It has exclusive authority over the following regions: Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, southern Albania and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and also oversees jurisdictions based in Romania, Southern Italy, Hungary, India and Ukraine. It was founded by the Motu Proprio Dei Providentis of Pope Benedict XV as the "Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church" on 1 May 1917 and "considers those matters, whether concerning persons or things, affecting the Catholic Oriental Churches."
In the Roman Curia, a congregation is a type of department of the Curia. They are second-highest-ranking departments, ranking below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions, tribunals and offices.
Jean-Marie Villot was a French prelate and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Lyon from 1965 to 1967, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy from 1967 to 1969, Vatican Secretary of State from 1969 to 1979, and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church from 1970 to 1979. He was made a cardinal in 1965.
An episcopal conference, sometimes called a conference of bishops, is an official assembly of the bishops of the Catholic Church in a given territory. Episcopal conferences have long existed as informal entities. The first assembly of bishops to meet regularly, with its own legal structure and ecclesial leadership function, is the Swiss Bishops' Conference, which was founded in 1863. More than forty episcopal conferences existed before the Second Vatican Council. Their status was confirmed by the Second Vatican Council and further defined by Pope Paul VI's 1966 motu proprio, Ecclesiae sanctae.
The papal household or pontifical household, called until 1968 the Papal Court, consists of dignitaries who assist the pope in carrying out particular ceremonies of either a religious or a civil character.
The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was a commission of the Catholic Church established by Pope John Paul II's motu proprioEcclesia Dei of 2 July 1988 for the care of those former followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who broke with him as a result of his consecration of four priests of his Society of St. Pius X as bishops on 30 June 1988, an act that the Holy See deemed illicit and a schismatic act. It was also tasked with trying to return to full communion with the Holy See those traditionalist Catholics who are in a state of separation, of whom the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is foremost, and of helping to satisfy just aspirations of people unconnected with these groups who want to keep alive the pre-1970 Roman Rite liturgy.
The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See is the office of the Roman Curia that deals with the "provisions owned by the Holy See in order to provide the funds necessary for the Roman Curia to function". It was established by Pope Paul VI on 15 August 1967 and reorganized on 8 July 2014. APSA acts as the Treasury and central bank of Vatican City and the Holy See.
The Secretariate of Briefs to Princes and of Latin Letters, or simply the Secretariate of Briefs, was one of the offices of the Roman Curia abrogated in 1967 during Pope Paul VI's reform of the Pontifical court. It was divided into two sections.
Virgilio Noè was an Italian Roman Catholic prelate and cardinal. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991.
The Section for Relations with States or Second Section of the Secretariat of State is the body within the Roman Curia charged with dealing with matters that involve relations with civil governments. It has been part of the Vatican Secretariat of State since 1909.
The Pontifical Biblical Commission is a body established within the Roman Curia to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of Sacred Scripture.
Pastor bonus is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches. It thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world".
Gustavo Testa was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church, who was made a Cardinal in 1959. He spent his career in the Roman Curia. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1920 and held several appointments as papal nuncio from 1934 to 1959. He headed the Congregation for the Oriental Churches from 1962 to 1968.
Pontificalis Domus was a motu proprio document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.
In the Catholic Church, the Synod of Bishops, considered as an advisory body for the pope, is one of the ways in which the bishops render cooperative assistance to him in exercising his office. It is described in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) as "a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world."
Ingravescentem aetatem is a document issued by Pope Paul VI, dated 21 November 1970. It is divided into 8 chapters. The Latin title is taken from the incipit, and translates to "advancing age". It established a rule that only cardinals who have not reached the age of 80 can participate in a conclave.
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