A new Vatican department focused on evangelisation will succeed if it can channel the vision Pope Francis mapped out at the start of his papacy, Raphoe’s Bishop Alan McGuckian has said.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic about plans for a Vatican ‘super-dicastery’ Bishop McGuckian said he hoped that the plan will point to real leadership from Rome as the Church seeks to focus more on mission than on maintenance in line with the Pope’s 2013 document Evangelii Gaudium (‘The Joy of the Gospel’).
“My sense is that the power of Pope Francis is contained in his vision in the Joy of the Gospel where he really gave us his plan of action for the Church,” Dr McGuckian said. “I would certainly hope that a ‘super-dicastery’ named for evangelisation will signal that everything Pope Francis wants for the Church is going to be led from Rome.”
Acknowledging that structures do not guarantee success, Dr McGuckian said: “I will always be amazed by the Joy of the Gospel and the vision that’s there, and I hope that the structures serve that vision.”
It is understood that a new draft constitution for the Roman Curia proposes merging the long-established Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, focused on ‘missionary territories’, with the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, established by Pope Benedict in 2010 to respond to the secularisation of traditionally Christian countries. Evangelium Praedicate (‘Preach the Gospel’) as the constitution is believed to be called, could be signed as early as June 29, and is the fruit of six years of work by the Pontiff and his Council of Cardinal Advisers.
Asked whether he believes a clear Vatican focus on mission through the new constitution can serve as an example to the Church as a whole, Dr McGuckian agreed, calling for a constant focus on the vision outlined in Evangelii Gaudium.
“Absolutely, and yet I want always to go back to how for me the Joy of the Gospel has to be taken on at every level,” he said. “The Joy of the Gospel has to flow through these new institutions at Vatican level, diocesan level, and parish level, and when it does, it will be well.”