Presidential Attacks on Special Counsels: Two Reforms
53 minutes ago
In 1967-68, under the authority of Pope Paul’s apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, the Curia underwent a dramatic restructuring designed and implemented by then Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot, another suspected Mason. The aim was to eliminate, as much possible, what we are now told is the old “monarchical model” of the Church in favor of the new “model” of collegiality. Before the Council, the Curia was indeed structured along monarchical lines. The Pope was Prefect of the Holy Office, to which all other Vatican dicasteries were subordinated, while the Cardinal in charge of the day-to-day business of the Holy Office was the Pro-Prefect, reporting directly and only to the Pope. The Pope, as Vicar Christ on earth, was thus at the head of a chain of command over which he wielded his authority directly or through the Holy Office.
Under the “reform” engineered and carried out by Villot, however, the Holy Office was renamed, becoming the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)—the name “Holy Office” being far too old-fashioned for the Church’s “new orientation” after the Council. The Cardinal Secretary of State was placed above all the Vatican dicasteries, including the CDF. Worse, the Pope was no longer Prefect of the former Holy Office, which (as the CDF) would now be under a Cardinal Prefect organizationally subordinated to the Secretary of State. In short, Paul VI “enhanced the powers of the Secretary [of State], placing him over all the other departments of the Roman Curia.” (Cf. “Cardinal Secretary of State,” http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Cardinal_Secretary_of_State).
Since the Council the Vatican Secretary of State has been constituted a kind of Vicar of the Vicar of Christ, with a resulting functional detachment of the new Legislating Church from direct papal control. This decidedly unfavorable development was only exacerbated by John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus...
Today it appears that the Vicar of Christ has become a captive of the democratization of the Church according to a model of “collegiality” that purports to replace the monarchy which the papacy established by Christ the King really is. It seems that the Pope views himself as but a cog, albeit the biggest and most important cog, in the vast clockwork of a Legislating Church whose “decisions” must be allowed to operate autonomously and by consent of the governed in keeping with the collegial and democratic mechanisms of the new model. No longer seeing himself as a monarch with the prerogatives and peremptory authority of a monarch, the Pope of the Legislating Church feels constrained to rely on mere suasion and appeals to procedural due process in the hope of effectuating what he wishes to see done.But would such ecclesiastical micromanaging desirable, even if possible? (And I do not think that it is possible.) Maybe the pope could better curb the bureaucrats and exercise greater oversight. Or we could reconsider the nature of the pope's authority and the limits to his powers, relating this to the structure of the Roman curia and its necessity.
The bishops of the United States have suggested at least five key elements needed for any serious reform: (1) a path to citizenship for the undocumented; (2) the preservation and enhancement of family unity, based on the union of a husband and wife and their children; (3) the creation of legal channels for unskilled laborers to enter and work legally in this country; (4) due process rights for immigrants; and (5) constructive attention to the root causes of migration, such as economic hardship, political repression or religious persecution in the sending countries.In their desire to be "humane," the bishops have become democrats.