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Assignment: Reorganize the Curia — Pope and Council of Cardinals are working to reform an ancient bureaucracy

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals continue to study the most effective and efficient way to organize the Roman Curia, a large bureaucracy with a long history of expansions and a few, short-term, attempts at consolidation.

For centuries, popes were assisted in their ministry by the cardinals meeting in consistories; the practical matters were handled by what was called the Apostolic Chancery. But as the church grew and matters became more complicated and more time-sensitive, offices were added. The first was the Sacred Congregation for the Inquisition, a tribunal established in 1542 by Pope Paul III to judge heresy and orthodoxy.

Over the next four decades, a few other offices were added, but an organized Roman Curia came into existence only with Pope Sixtus V in 1588. Read more »

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