Reorganization of the curia begins

Reorganization of the curia begins

Catholic World News reports that the first steps in the promised massive reorganization of the Roman Curia have been taken. It was announced this morning that Pontifical Council for Migrants would merge with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, with the latter’s prefect, Cardinal Renato Martino, remaining in charge.

Also, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue will merge with the Pontifical Council for Culture, again with the latter’s prefect, Cardinal Paul Poupard, remaining at the head.

Cardinal Stephen Hamao, head of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, will be retiring at 76 years old. Inter-religious Dialogue has been without a leader since last month when Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald was transferred to be papal nuncio in Egypt. That move signaled to some people that Inter-religious Dialogue was going to be a casualty of the reorganization.

The native Japanese Hamao has been controversial with calls in recent years for greater independence for local churches and for more inculturation of the Church’s teachings and liturgy to make them appeal to Asian Catholics, particularly noting “an excessively severe moral law.” Fitzgerald, too, was controversial, having a leading role in the infamous inter-religious meetings in Fatima.

Not only is Pope Benedict streamlining the Roman Curia’s bureaucracy, he’s apparently cleaning house too. However, it is interesting that Inter-religious Dialogue ended up at Culture and not at Promotion of Christian Unity. What message is that sending?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Hello Walter,

    Maybe Martino is near retirement age anyway.

    And as you say, the extent to which he can cause mischief may be limited to the extent to which Benedict XVI is more hands on than John Paul II.

    I’d rather he were retired to a major basilica or somesuch as well.  I certtainly don’t think curial officials need be pro-American per se (the only “pro-” I want them to be is Christ) but Martino’s comments too frequently seemed unbalanced – and too willing to appease Islamic states.

  • Benedict XVI is a much better manager than the beloved PJP2 ever was.  Perhaps there is some accountability now, since some people have indeed been farmed out, I see…. 

    Even a touch of accountability would do us worlds of good in terms of operation, morale, you name it…..

  • What message is that sending?

    It sends a clarifying theological message, Dom.  As you know, inter-religious dialogue is something very different from the search for unity with non-Catholic Christians. 

    The goal of inter-religious dialogue is understanding, peace, and common effort for the good of human societies.  The goal of relations with other Christians is much greater: it’s full unity in faith, worship, and communion. 

    Inter-religious dialogue is a matter of considerable human importance, but striving for Christian unity is a permanent spiritual duty of the Church. 

    This unity has a dual sacred basis, faith in the divinely revealed Trinity and sanctification through our common baptism in Christ.  Other Christians are already our brothers and sisters in the Lord, although not fully united with us in doctrine and worship. 

    Full communion between other Christians and the Church would fundamentally change our relationship with the other Christian communities.  They would become non-other Christian communities: they would be fully one with the Church.

    Dialogue with non-Christians and non-believers doesn’t have that supernatural basis in shared faith and the sacraments, and aims at more limited and often practical objectives: the good of society and the good of the Church within society.

    Dialogue, while important, is secondary in importance to something else.  The Church’s primary orientation toward non-Christians remains one of preaching the Gospel, a distinct activity that aims at the supernatural good of the hearer, and in Rome it’s supported by a different curial body (Evangelization of Peoples).

  • RC hit the nail on the head.  Although why was Inter-religious Dialogue not merged with Evangelization of Peoples?  Rome must not see dialogue as a means of evangelization.

  • Carrie:  There indeed was a period of blogging by Dom on this site, that if you missed a day, several things ended up on Page 2!  I missed a bunch myself.

    Dom: Can’t wait until you are feeding little baby Giorgio late at night, with nothing to do but blog!  This site will really be screamin’ then.