Legal Advisors

The reforms of Pope Francis and the effects in the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe

Meeting of the National Experts in Malta

The impact had of both the reforms of the Curia and the process for reserved crimes on the organisation of the particular Churches was the focus of the meeting of the Legal Advisors of the European Bishops’ Conferences, held in Malta from 30 November to 1 December.

The meeting, organised to take place immediately after the work of the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, takes place every two years and provides both an overview of the legislative situation within the various countries and the opportunity to understand how the Bishops’ Conferences are pursuing the path of reform.
In particular, this meeting focused on two reforms by Pope Francis: the reform of the Curia, promulgated on 19 March 2022, which rethought the organisational chart of the Roman Curia and its relationship with the Bishops’ Conferences, as well as the reform of the trial for reserved crimes, which also includes cases of abuse.

To open the proceedings were the greetings from Archbishop Gintaras GRUŠAS, CCEE President. The first session was introduced by a report on the “Principles and Criteria for the Service of the Roman Curia” from Professor Pablo GEFAELL, Lecturer of Eastern Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
Bishop Francisco César GARCÍA MAGÁN, General Secretary of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, presented the reform process of the Bishops’ Conference carried out by the Spanish bishops.
Regarding “The Processes for Reserved Crimes: Current State and Perspectives” spoke the Archbishop of Malta, Charles J. SCICLUNA, who is also the Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. The prelate dwelt at length on the reform process, desired by Pope Francis, for reserved crime cases whilst also explaining how the Bishops’ Conferences are called upon to implement these reforms.

The two working sessions were interspersed with extensive discussions. The Legal Advisors explained whether, and how, the respective Bishops’ Conferences have made changes to their organisation in light of Praedicate Evangelium, the Apostolic Constitution on the Reform of the Roman Curia. All participants were then asked to present the most relevant legal issues in their various countries.

Photo: Archdiocese of Malta – Ian Noel Pace