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Pastor Bonus is an Apostolic Constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches. 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 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 in 1967.[1]

The constitution also opened membership in dicasteries to the presbyteriate, diaconate, religious, and laity. For centuries, only cardinals 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 at the Second Vatican Council. 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 various secretariats, congregations, Pontifical Councils, Pontifical Commissions, tribunals, and other offices of the Holy See. It also establishes the norms for the Ad limina visits of bishops to Rome and the relationship between the Holy See and the particular Churches and episcopal conferences.


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

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