Pope issues Vatican reform aimed at combating abuse
Pope Francis on Saturday unveiled a new constitution for the Holy See that will place term limits on clerics, better protect minors and allow women to head Vatican departments for the first time.
The Praedicate evangelium, or “Preach the Gospel,” will be enacted on June 5 as the new constitution for the Catholic church’s governing body. It replaces the 1988 constitution passed by Pope St. John Paul II.
According to a release from the Vatican, the new constitution allows any baptized lay Catholic, or an ordinary member of the church, to be appointed to governmental roles.
That opens the door for women to head a Vatican department for the first time.
“One cannot fail to take this into account in the updating of the Curia, whose reform, therefore, must provide for the involvement of laymen and women, even in roles of government and responsibility,” the constitution reads.
The Praedicate evangelium also unifies the Commission for the Protection of Minors into the Doctrine of Faith, a department known as a dicastery.
The commission’s task is to protect minors and vulnerable persons which has repeatedly mired the Catholic church in scandal, and moving it into a larger department could potentially help combat sexual abuse among clergymen.
Those serving in the government of the Holy See will also be restricted to two terms of five years.