Among the changes of the new Constitution are the promotion of lay people and the general use of 5-year contracts for priests and religious.
In a letter signed on April 12, 2022, but made public on May 5, Pope Francis established an interdicasterial commission for the revision of the General Regulations of the Roman Curia. This body will have a limited existence. Its goal is to prepare the implementation of the norms related to the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate evangelium, which was made public on March 19 and will enter into effect on June 5, the day of Pentecost.
The president of the commission will be Archbishop Filippo Iannone, who also presides over the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which will become a “dicastery” on June 5. The other members are: Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, substitute for the Secretariat of State; Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See; Archbishop Marco Mellino, secretary of the Council of Cardinals; Father Juan Guerrero Alves, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; and Vincenzo Buonomo, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, who will be the only lay person to participate in the commission.
Changes of the new regulations
The revision of the General Regulations of the Roman Curia should bring them in line with “not only the norms but also the principles that inspire the constitutional text” made public on March 19 “on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church in the world,” the Pope said in the chirograph. “The new regulations should also make working relationships within the Roman Curia and their management more sustainable and effective,” he said.
Among the main lines of action introduced by the new Constitution are the promotion of lay people — including to head certain dicasteries — and the general use of 5-year contracts for priests and religious, in order to promote a turnover that is supposed to rejuvenate and energize the structures. However, this principle is difficult to implement. The sensitive and complex nature of some of the issues dealt with by the organs of the Curia requires a great deal of experience and expertise, and the Vatican could face recruitment difficulties if all the staff left after five or 10 years.
Extensions and renewals of these theoretically time-limited contracts therefore seem likely. The new Regulations will have to clarify this articulation between theoretical principles and the necessary practical adaptations intended to guarantee a certain continuity in the conduct of the Vatican administration.