VATICAN CITY — In their latest round of meetings, Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals has finished and approved the first draft of what will be a new apostolic constitution outlining the role and functions of the Roman Curia.
The tentative title of the document is Predicatae Evangelium, meaning “Preach the Gospel.” The new constitution will eventually replace Pastor Bonus, the apostolic constitution issued by St. John Paul II in 1988, which currently governs the Roman Curia.
In comments to the press, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the title of the new constitution is subject to change, as is the rest of the text, a first draft of which was voted on and presented to Pope Francis by his Council of Cardinals during their June 11-13 meeting at the Vatican.
Burke stressed that there is “a lot of work to do still” on the text, and that right now the cardinals “are refining” it. The Pope, he said, will make whatever changes he sees fit and “can give it to whomever he wants as an expert” for either opinions or contributions.
The bulk of this week’s round of meetings was dedicated to finalizing the draft of Predicatae Evangelium, though updates were given on the status of both the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Council for the Economy.
British Msgr. Brian Ferme, secretary for the Vatican’s Council of the Economy, gave the group an update on the reform of the financial structures of the Holy See and the Vatican Governorate, which is economically independent from the Holy See and oversees the Vatican museums, the Vatican gardens, and the gendarmerie.
Ferme outlined the goals and fundamental principles of the Vatican’s financial reform, among which are the avoidance of waste, promoting transparency, ensuring that accounting principles are properly applied, and ensuring that international standards and the principle of dual control are followed.
Ferme also highlighted several positive aspects of the reform to date, which include a gradual change in mentality on the need for transparency and accountability; a uniform procedure for preparing budgets and final balances; a greater attention to waste and a greater cooperation with and understanding of the financial reform currently in progress.
Each of the nine members of the pope’s advisory body were present for the meeting, with the exception of Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, who is currently in Australia preparing to face trial for charges of historical sexual abuse, to which he has pled “not guilty.”
Established by Pope Francis shortly after his election in 2013, the Council of Cardinals — colloquially known as the “C9” — is an advisory body on Church governance and reform.
Their next round of meetings will take place Sept. 10-12 at the Vatican, shortly before Pope Francis leaves for a Sept. 22-25 trip to the Baltic states.