On the 19th March, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Pope Francis announced a new document in relation to the reform of the Roman Curia. It comes into full effect on Pentecost Sunday. This document (entitled ‘Praedicate Evangelium’) is the fruit of his work in relation to one of the areas he referred to at the time he was elected Pope. In ‘The Preamble’ to the document, in paragraph 3, he refers to the fact that in the history of the Church there were other reforms of this particular branch of the Church. in that section he highlights the reforms of the last sixty years – “Having celebrated the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI, referring explicitly to the wishes expressed by the Council Fathers, with the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae (1967), ordered and implemented a reform of the Curia. Subsequently, John Paul II promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus (1988), in order to always promote communion in the entire organism of the Church. In continuity with these two recent reforms and with gratitude for the generous and competent service that so many members of the Curia have offered to the Roman Pontiff and to the universal Church over time, this new Apostolic Constitution aims to better harmonize today’s exercise of the service of the Curia with the path of evangelization that the Church, especially in this time, is living.”
Reading this paragraph reminded me of the connection that exists between the popes through the years and how our way of expressing the faith develops in the light of the times we live in. From Pope St. John XXIII who called the second Vatican Council unexpectedly, through Pope St. Paul VI, Pope John Paul I (to be canonised in September), Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis we see the development and understanding of the importance of Vatican II in the Church’s mission.