From the pontificate of Benedict XVI, through the conclave, and well into the papacy of Francis, Curial reform and Church governance were the subjects of much discussion. Then 2015 passed without a hoped-for new document to replace John Paul’s apostolic constitution of 1988, Pastor Bonus. But that doesn’t mean the conversation is done: Pope Francis continues to meet with the Council of Cardinal Advisors (C9) every two months—itself a substantial change in the modus operandi of the papacy—even as he also solicits advice from experts on the Curia while using the Bishops’ Synod and national bishops’ conferences to govern the Church in a manner different from his predecessors.
There are signs now that things are moving in an even more interesting direction, beyond the scaling back in activity of existing Curial dicasteries (such as the CDF) and the creation of new ones (such as those for integral human development and for the laity, family, and life, both announced in August). A first signal of comprehensive overhaul came with the publication on September 15 of a 600-plus page volume in Italian titled La riforma e le riforme nella chiesa (roughly translated as “reform of the Church and reforms in the Church”). Published by Queriniana, one of the most important publishers of theological studies in Europe, the volume is edited by two of Francis’s closest advisers: Argentine theologian Carlo Maria Galli and the editor of Civiltà Cattolica, Antonio Spadaro, SJ.