Pastor Bonus
Pastor Bonus is an Apostolic Constitution
Apostolic constitution
An apostolic constitution is the highest level of decree issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the...

 promulgated by Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 is the complex of dicasteries
Dicastery is an Italicism sometimes used in English to refer to the Departments of the Roman Curia....

 and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Church
Particular Church
In Catholic canon law, a Particular Church is an ecclesial community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.There are two kinds of particular Churches:# Local particular Churches ...

es. It thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world".


Among the changes formulated in the constitution was the re-integration of the Council for Public Affairs of the Church into the Secretariat of State
Secretariat of State (Vatican)
The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the government of the Roman Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of Vatican City and the Holy See...

 as the Section for Relations with States (the Second Section). The Council for Public Affairs of the Church had previously been a section of the Secretariat of State, but was made an independent dicastery by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 in 1967.

The constitution also opened membership in dicasteries to the presbyteriate, diaconate, religious
Religious (Catholicism)
In the lexicon of certain branches of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox branches, religious as a noun usually refers to a member of a religious order of monks, nuns, friars, clerics regular, or other individuals who take the three vows of poverty, chastity, and...

, and laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

. For centuries, only cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

s were eligible for membership in the organs of the Holy See, but Pope Paul VI allowed diocesan bishops to be members following calls for collegiality
Collegiality is the relationship between colleagues.Colleagues are those explicitly united in a common purpose and respecting each other's abilities to work toward that purpose...

 at the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

. Pastor Bonus continued the opening of the central government of the church by allowing representatives of all the faithful to have a role in the Roman Curia.


Pastor Bonus sets out the roles of the Secretariat of State, Congregation
Congregation (Roman Curia)
A congregation is a type of dicastery of the Roman Curia, the central administrative organism of the Catholic Church....

s, Tribunals, Pontifical Council
Pontifical Council
The Pontifical Councils are a group of several mid-sized agencies, each led by a Cardinal or archbishop as president, which are part of the larger organization called the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia is charged with helping the Pope in his governance and oversight of the Roman Catholic Church...

s, Administrative Services and Pontifical Commission
Pontifical Commission
A Pontifical Commission is a committee of Catholic experts convened by the Pope for a specific purpose. Examples include:* Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State* Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei...

s of the Roman Curia. It also establishes the norms for the Ad limina visits of bishops to Rome and the relationship between the Holy See and the particular Church
Particular Church
In Catholic canon law, a Particular Church is an ecclesial community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.There are two kinds of particular Churches:# Local particular Churches ...

es and episcopal conference
Episcopal Conference
In the Roman Catholic Church, an Episcopal Conference, Conference of Bishops, or National Conference of Bishops is an official assembly of all the bishops of a given territory...


External links

  • Original text (Latin)
  • Full text, translated to English by Francis C.C.F. Kelly, James H. Provost, and Michel Thériault and revised by Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
    Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
    The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national assembly of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Canada. It was founded in 1943 and was officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948. Since the Second Vatican Council, it became part of a worldwide network of Episcopal Conferences,...

     and the Secretariat of State, and authorized by the Secretariat of State.
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