The Apostolic Constitution ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ on the Roman Curia


Evangelization and the Missionary Character of the Church

On March 19, 2022, Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Pope Francis promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Evangelium Predicate (PE) on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church in today’s world.[1] It comes into force on June 5, 2022, solemnity of Pentecost, abrogating the apostolic constitution of John Paul II. Pastor bonus (PB) of June 28, 1988.[2]

The first words (incipit), Evangelium Predicate indicate the perspective in which the constitution should be read and the Roman curia understood.

The Preamble reveals the intention of Pope Francis, “to better harmonize the current exercise of the service of the curia with the path of evangelization that the Church is living at this time” (n° 3).

Pope Francis, using an expression contained in No. 30 of his apostolic exhortation of November 24, 2013 Evangelii Gaudium (FOR EXAMPLE),[3] sees the Church in a “missionary conversion” which commits her to a renewal “according to the image of Christ’s own mission of love” and exhorts her to bring to men “the supernatural gift of faith” as the light that directs their way to a time when they are particularly in need (Preamble, n° 2).

Thus, Pope Francis conceives the reform of the Roman Curia in the broader context of the reform of the Church, that is to say, its conversion to the mission (Preamble, n° 3). In his address to the Roman Curia on December 21, 2019,[4] he spoke of the heart of the reform being “the first and most important task of the Church: evangelization”. Then he reiterated what had already been affirmed in Evangelii Gaudium, that is, the whole life and structure of the Church can “be properly channeled for the evangelization of the world today” and not a means of “self-preservation” (EG 27). The reform of the structures, he continues, consists in “making sure that they all become more missionary”, hence the requirement of a “pastoral conversion”.

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