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Pope Francis is preparing a sweeping overhaul of the Holy See.
In what's being described as "one of the most radical shake-ups of the Church's central administration in a generation," Francis and his advisors are set to introduce a new apostolic constitution for the Roman Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy that assists the pontiff in the day-to-day operation and governance of the Church.
Titled Praedicate Evangelium ("Preach the Gospel"), the new constitution proposes that all curial activity be re-ordered around evangelization.
To that end, it outlines the creation of a Dicastery for Evangelization, a new "super dicastery" created from a merger of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which orchestrates the missionary endeavors of the Church, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which is tasked with reigniting the Faith in the West.
Many observers are expressing concern that Praedicate Evangelium is not just a blueprint for bureaucratic reform, but a scheme for doctrinal revolution. They note that the new Dicastery for Evangelization, as currently designed, will supersede other Vatican dicasteries congregations — including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
If ungoverned by doctrine, they say, evangelization could easily lapse into error.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, one of Francis' closest advisors, confirms that Praedicate Evangelium "won't only be a cosmetic change," but "the impetus for a change of mentality that is already underway."
"Pope Francis always emphasizes that the Church is missionary. That is why it is logical that in first place we have put the Dicastery for Evangelization and not the Doctrine of the Faith," Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, told Spanish media last week. "In this way the Holy Father has sent a significant message of reform to the people of God."
"The Roman Curia will never be the same," he added.
Watch the panel discuss Pope Francis' new evangelization office in The Download—Vatican Revamp.