More collegiality and less centralization in Rome – New Motu Proprio of Pope Francis

Feb 20, 2022 | Ecclesiastical News, Juridicum

Rome, Italy. Last February 11, newspapers around the world echoed Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio, entitled Fidem servare which reorganizes internally the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). This reorganization involves the creation of a secretariat for each section (one doctrinal and one disciplinary), in order to respond more efficiently to the mission entrusted to it.

However, little has been said about the Motu Proprio approved on the same day entitled Competentias quasdam decernere which modified certain competencies that affect some provisions of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of the Oriental Churches.

We consulted Fr. José-Félix Valderrábano CMF to find out more.

What is the major innovation of this Motu Proprio?

The first novelty is the recognition of the universality and plurality of the Church, of the differences that exist in it without homologizing them. The ministry of the Bishop of Rome guarantees unity among all the Churches.

The second is the decentralization that it implies and the responsibility that bishops and Superiors General must assume.

And the third is the pastoral and governmental effectiveness due to the closeness to the people and knowledge of concrete situations.

How does it affect us as a Congregation?

The Motu Proprio includes ten points. Some of them do not affect us. For example, the creation of interdiocesan seminaries, the study plans in them based on the Ratios Institutionis of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the association of virgins, the admission of clerics in the public clerical Associates, the publication of catechisms and the reduction of Masses of the pious foundations due to the decrease of economic revenues. In general, where it is said that the CIVCSVA must “approve”, it is changed to “confirm”.

There are three other points that have a more direct impact on our reality:

Article 5 extends the time for which the General Government can grant permission for exclaustration. It goes from 3 to 5 years. Only when one wants to extend this time must one have recourse to the Holy See.

The faculty of Institutes of pontifical right to dispense a temporary professed from vows is extended in article 6 to Institutes of diocesan right.

In article 7, the decree of expulsion of a perpetually professed member issued by the Superior General of a religious institute of pontifical right, with the approval of his Council, comes into effect from the moment it is made known to the person concerned. The prerequisites, that is, the canonical monitions and the lapse of time between them, are maintained. In the same text it should be indicated that the person concerned has a period of 10 days to appeal against the decree.

Fr. José-Félix Valderrábano, CMF, since 2004 has served the Congregation as Procurator General and since 2016 has been the Local Superior of the General House of the Juridical Institute in Rome, known as Giuridicum.


(Article published by José Enrique García CMF)

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