The Roman Curia is essentially the Pope’s international secretariate. It should also help to implement the decisions taken by the Central Synod of Bishops. As such it has an important function. See note 1 below. However, like any other civil service, its role should not be legislative but purely executive.
Members of the Curia are administrators and secretaries. Bishops who have proved pastoral failures in their dioceses should not be appointed to key posts in the Vatican. Also, ordaining Vatican officials as bishops or archbishops to give them status and rank dishonours the sacrament of Holy Orders. And do such practices not go against the spirit of the Gospel? see note 2 below
The college of cardinals fulfils the crucial task of choosing a successor to the papacy. Cardinals should be chosen internationally and independently, on a representative basis, from among competent and worthy bishops, priests, religious and lay people.
The approach taken by the majority of Catholic moral theologians and that of the hierarchical magisterium of the church differ. James Keenan in his acclaimed history of Catholic moral theology in the 20th century describes the methodology of Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ as neo-manualist. Keenan goes on to say, “Few moral theologians found in the encyclical a hospitable acceptance of their work during the 25 years since Humanae Vitae.” Enda McDonagh has titled his latest book ‘Theology in Winter Light’. This is not only a theoretical issue; it has practical ramifications since it deals with such concrete issues as contraception, sterilization, divorce, homosexuality, abortion in its legal and moral aspects, and especially the role of women in the church.
Professor Charles Curran — read his words
FEAR, MONEY, POWER
“Many lay people, members of orders, and even bishops discretely confide how discouraged they are and are losing faith in the authoritative congregations and pontifical councils of the Roman Curia … Why are leading officials in the Vatican ruled by a paralysing fear rather than a collaboration with well-educated, competent and open-minded Christians, of both sexes, and in every department, in order to honestly address the truly urgent questions of today and try to resolve them? Why, instead, the fear? Why does money play such a central role for so many bishops in the Roman Curia . . . Where in the Curia is the courage to fight temptations to power? Where is the humility and freedom of the Spirit?”
NOTE 1. “In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors. The fathers of this sacred council, however, desire that these departments – which have furnished distinguished assistance to the Roman pontiff and the pastors of the Church – be reorganized and better adapted to the needs of the times, regions, and rites especially as regards their number, name, competence and peculiar method of procedure, as well as the coordination of work among them. The fathers also desire that, in view of the very nature of the pastoral office proper to the bishops, the office of legates of the Roman pontiff be more precisely determined. ”
Vatican Council II, Christus Dominus § 9.
NOTE 2. “Jesus said: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do . . . They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi’. . . .” Matthew 23,1-7.