Pope Paul VI's reform of the Roman Curia

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Pope Paul VI's reform of the Roman Curia was accomplished through a series of decrees beginning in 1964, principally through the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae issued on 15 August 1967.[1]

On 28 October 1965, the bishops attending Second Vatican Council had asked Pope Paul to consider how the departments of the Roman Curia could "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."[2]

Early changes

On 2 April 1964, Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications.[3][a]

As part of the preparations for the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII has created the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity on 5 June 1960. Paul VI added two more secretariats to extend the Vacation's attempt to establish relationships with the non-Catholic world, with other religious groups and with the non-religious. On 19 May 1964, Paul VI established the Secretariate for non-Christians and named Cardinal Paolo Marella, a Vatican diplomat for forty years, fifteen of then stationed in Japan, to head it. The title of his decree, Progrediente concilio ("While the Council is proceeding"), hinted that this was a harbinger of a larger reform that would await the conclusion of the Council.[4][5] On 6 April 1965, Paul VI established the Secretariat for Dialogue with Non-Believers.[6][b] He named Franz König, Archbishop of Vienna, its president.[c]

Paul VI issued Integrae servandae on 7 December 1965, the eve of the ceremony marking the end of the Second Vatican Council. It accomplished one significant modification to that part of the Roman Curia that had proved most controversial during the Council for its management–its critics would say manipulation–of the proceedings. With this letter, the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office temporarily lost its designation as "Sacred" and received a new title that specified its area of competence: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It restricted the department's right to act secretly and provided rights to those accused of heresy. Authors of books acquired rights to notification and a hearing before the department could ban their work. It was instructed to coordinate its work with the Pontifical Biblical Commission, which meant that it would have to take account of new scholarly approaches to biblical texts, a movement it had long resisted. Its traditional autonomy and insularity were challenged by requirements to use consultors named by the pope and to consider the views of "congresses of the learned" and regional associations of bishops.[8][9]

Paul VI created the Council of the Laity and the Pontifical Commission Iustitia et Pax on 6 January 1967.[10] To the latter, on 15 July 1971, he added the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Promoting Human and Christian Development. He named Cardinal Jean Villot, his Secretary of State, as its president.[11]