From ALAN McELWAIN in ROME
POPE PAUL'S regulations for the reform-of the Roman Curia, first announced last August, will be officially introduced today. There are to be sweeping changes affecting both personnel and procedure in this unprecedented move to bring the Central Government of the Church into line with
The reforms are set out in an Apostolic Constitution. Regimini Ecciesiae Universve. It stresses in a preamble the "unquestionable necessity" for the Curia's existence as an organic instrument assisting the Pope in the exercise of his supreme authority over the entire Church.
It also emphasises the timeliness of the Curia's adaptation to today's changed conditions. The general aim is to introduce changes in keeping with the Vatican Council's plans for the reform of the Church as a whole. The major reforms include: 1 THE inclusion of resident 'A' bishops from all over the world as members of the Curia's sacred congregations. This also stems from a Vatican Council desire that bishops be on hand to "inform the Pope most exhaustively about the mentality, wishes and needs of all the churches."
The Pope, "profoundly convinced that Catholic life will substantially benefit" from the move. ordered that the bishops be fully-fledged members of the congregations. along with the cardinals already running them.
To obviate the inconvenience frequent and prolonged absence of bishops from their dioceses would cause, Pope Paul ordered that the congregations' plenary sessions be limited to one a year.
• OUTSTANDING qualities, such as genuine piety. integrity and absolute unselfishness, besides, of course, brains, will be demanded henceforth from Curia members and officials. "Careerism" as such in the Holy See's service is to be ousted.
2 MORE internationalisation
of the Curia, until recently top-heavy with Italians. The Pope has already introduced several foreigners into Curial offices.
A. LIMITATION of the -1" periods of office of the congregations' members and secretaries. Resignations are expected at the end of five years, but the Pope has the right to reappoint. Heads of congregations and Curial departments are to resign at 75. All must resign on the death of a Pope, leaving the way clear for his successor to make his own new appointments if
he so desires.
• CLOSER contacts are to be
established between the Curia and diocesan bishops, and vice versa, mainly through national episcopal conferences.
" • BETTER co-ordination of the Curia's work, through joint meetings on different levels, such as congregations of cardinals, prefects and secretaries for discussion of common problems.
7PERIODICAL conferences of the cardinal prefects of the various departments with the Cardinal Secretary of State.