Vatican City, May 10, 2022 / 9:05 a.m. (CNA).
In an address to dicastery leaders on Monday, a bishop said the Vatican’s new constitution values Catholic bishops’ conferences and their potential to foster communion between bishops and the pope.
The preamble of predicate evangeliumsaid Bishop Marco Mellino, affirms that the Episcopal Conferences “are currently one of the most significant means of expressing and serving ecclesial communion in the different regions with the Roman Pontiff.”
Mellino, who is the secretary of Pope Francis Council of Cardinalsstated that the intention of the constitution is “that of valuing episcopal conferences…in their potential for implementing the communion of bishops among themselves and with the Roman Pontiff.”
He went on to say that it works insofar as each of the episcopal conferences “is a valid instrument which contributes, in multiple and fruitful ways, to the realization of collegial affection between the members of the same episcopate and provides for the good common to the particular Churches.
Mellino’s speech was published May 9 in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. It included reflections on the role of the laity, synodality and the orientation of the Roman Curia towards service, as indicated in the apostolic constitution predicate evangelium.
The Vatican’s new constitution, whose title means “Preach the Gospel”, was published on March 19 after nine years of production by the Pope’s Council of Cardinals.
He replaces Minister’s bonusthe apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1988, then modified by Popes Benedict and Francis.
predicate evangelium will take effect on June 5, Solemnity of Pentecost.
In the constitution, Mellino said, episcopal conferences “are not considered as intermediate hierarchical structures, but rather as organs of subsidiarity, which do not interfere with the Petrine office or the governance of particular Churches.”
“They express and promote the exercise of ‘co-responsibility in the communion‘for the pastoral benefit and common good of the particular Churches through the joint exercise of certain functions proper to them,” he said.
The bishop also drew attention to the use of the word “jointly” in Church law regarding episcopal conferences.
In canon law, cannon 447 says “a bishops’ conference, a permanent institution, is a group of bishops of a nation or territory who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions for the Christian faithful in their territory in order to promote the greater good of the Church offer to humanity”.
The word “jointly” is used “in order to avoid the idea that in episcopal conferences the collegial power of bishops is exercised, which can only be exercised by them when the whole College is convened,” he said. said.
“Furthermore, by referring to the joint exercise of only ‘certain pastoral functions’ and not all, the canon seeks to protect the responsibility that bishops have by divine right towards the Church entrusted to their care and not to affect the proper power which they have in the exercise of their pastoral ministry.
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