Yesterday was the presentation of the new Constitution of the Roman Curia, which had already been published last Saturday, much to the annoyance of accredited journalists.
The association complained that the new constitution was promulgated "without prior notice".
The new constitution regulates the work of the Roman Curia. It will come into force next June 5th, Whit Sunday. Up until now, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus from 1988 has been in force. The new constitution Praedicate Evangelium will replace the previous one in June. The new constitution incorporates a number of changes made by Pope Francis over the past nine years.
Traditional Rite Anchored in the New Constitution
For the first time, the traditional form of the Roman Rite, and thus indirectly tradition, was codified in a constitution of the Roman Curia. Specifically, this happened in Article 93, which regulates the tasks of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:
"Art. 93 The Dicastery is concerned with the regulation and discipline of the sacred liturgy as regards the use, according to the norms in force, of the liturgical books of the period before the reform of the Second Vatican Council.”
The previous Constitution, Pastor Bonus contained no such codification. It was promulgated by John Paul on June 28, 1988, while the establishment of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei by the motu proprio of the same name did not take place until four days later, on July 2, 1988. It showed that the granting of Ecclesia Dei was improvised on the one hand due to the events (consecration of bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on June 30th, which the Pope did not allow) and that the Holy See at the same time had not yet wanted to commit to anchoring the traditional Rite in the Constitution for the Roman Curia.
This is what Pope Francis did now, almost 34 years later, at a moment when he was severely affecting tradition, the traditional Rite and the communities connected to it with the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes. In Traditionis Custodes he determined the transfer of responsibilities to the Congregation of Worship, which are enshrined in the new constitution. The English Archbishop Arthur Roche, who is openly hostile to the traditional Rite, leads the congregation as Prefect.
In the original version, which had already been published on Saturday, the "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite" was expressly mentioned, as Pope Benedict XVI. in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 2007.
"Art. 93 The Dicastery deals with the regulation and discipline of the sacred liturgy in relation to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”
The existence of such an extraordinary form is denied by Pope Francis with the motu poprio Traditionis Custodes. The new constitution was thus in open contradiction to Traditionis Custodes. On Monday, therefore, Article 93 was amended by Msgr. Marco Mellino, the secretary of the Council of Cardinals, who advises Francis on curial reform. The unofficial reason given was that a typographical error had to be corrected. An official notification that a change has been made has not yet been made. In Monday's press conference, Monsignor Mellino stated:
"In the Editio Typica, which will be the original and fundamental text, you will find the wording as it is. Also because of the whole question of the Society of Peter. We have to find the best formulation so that everything is well taken into account".
Excitement among the Vaticanists
The excitement among the Vaticanists is understandable: Yesterday (March 22nd) the press conference to present the new Apostolic Constitution took place. Loup Besmond, a correspondent for La Croix, was the first journalist to address it, and expressed the "surprise" of the Association of Journalists Accredited by the Holy See at the communication policy of the Holy See. The press conference on a document that had already been published on Saturday and took place on Monday. The publication took place without prior notice and only in Italian. Normally, the Vatican documents are made available to journalists in advance but are subject to a blocking period. This gives journalists the opportunity to prepare themselves, read the document and possibly translate parts before they are supposed to report on it at the time of publication.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, justified the unusual procedure with reference to the "reason of state" and the feast of St. Joseph, which the Church celebrated last Saturday. This is an important date for Pope Francis, Bruni said, as it marks the anniversary of his pontificate.
Of course, this is not an explanation for the actions of the Vatican press office.
A number of journalists took to Twitter to echo Besmond's expression of astonishment to send a signal of disapproval.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Image : MiL/vatican.va (Screenshot)