March 22, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch, 216.228.0869, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Director of FutureChurch, 513.673.1401 (mobile), email@example.com
CLEVELAND – On March 19, 2022 the Vatican published Praedicate evangelium (Preach the Gospel), Pope Francis’ long-anticipated apostolic constitution reforming the organization and structure of the Roman Curia.
FutureChurch welcomes these reforms, the possibilities they open, and urges all Church leaders – at the national, diocesan, and parish level – to study the document and discern ways they can incorporate the directives into their own structures.
“More than reforming the Curia, Pope Francis has put forth a Vatican-II model of being Church, which is transparent, collaborative, and marked by missionary and servant discipleship,” said Russ Petrus, co-director of FutureChurch. “Even the title – Preach the Gospel – calls for a Church that is engaged, active, and dialogical with the world around it,” he added. Praedicate evangelium goes into effect on June 5 and fully replaces Pastor bonus (The Good Shepherd) which was issued by Pope John Paul II in June 1988.
One of the most notable changes is the opening to “any member of the faithful” to lead one of the 16 dicasteries – or departments. FutureChurch has long advocated for the decoupling of ordination and Church leadership. “Pope Francis has slowly placed women into leadership roles in the Vatican over the last few years. But with this new constitution, he codifies that practice, opening significant potential for women and all lay people to have greater authority in leading, influencing, and making decisions at the highest levels of our Church,” said Deborah Rose, co-director of FutureChurch. “The Roman Catholic Church has always had a credibility problem went it comes to preaching the Gospel in the world because they’ve excluded half the Church from leadership and ministry. This change could offer significant strides for women – not only in the Vatican – but in every corner of the world,” Rose continued.
While the constitution maintains that dicasteries and other bodies within the Curia are “all juridically equal to each other,” it gives top billing to the Dicastery for Evangelization, signaling its centrality within the Vatican. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had previously occupied this place of privilege. “This renewed emphasis on evangelization is a breath of fresh air. Too many good Catholics working in theology and in pastoral and mission roles have been traumatized by investigations, censures, and silencings spearheaded by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the name of ‘orthodoxy’,” said FutureChurch Board Vice-Chair, Sean Gargamelli-McCreight, who is also co-founder of Benincasa Community which is modeled – in part – after the Catholic Worker
“These are substantial changes,” added FutureChurch Board Chair, Todd Ray. “Much of the work of the People of God and our co-workers at FutureChurch is coming to fruition. But these kinds of changes can’t stop at the Vatican. National episcopal conferences, dioceses, and parishes must also create equal space for women and the laity and lead with mission and evangelization. We don’t anticipate the changes will be easy or come overnight, but they are necessary if we are to engage the world with the message of the Gospel. And FutureChurch will continue to press Church leaders when they fall short,” Ray concluded.
About FutureChurch: Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.