Anthony Ekpo: The Roman Curia

The Roman Curia: History, Theology, and Organization by Anthony Ekpo seeks to demystify the Roman Curia, providing a history as well as an overview of its current configuration. Read on for a Q&A with the author on why it is important for the laity to understand the Roman Curia and what the future of the Roman Curia holds.

In the introduction to your book, you mention a close friend who is a devout Catholic and still struggles to grasp what the function of the Roman Curia is. Could you briefly explain the Roman Curia and what it does?

The Roman Curia is the complex of institutions that assist the pope in his work as the supreme pastor of the Catholic Church. The various curial institutions help the pope in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the benefit and service of the Catholic Church to spread throughout the world. The Roman Curia supports the pope in fostering and strengthening the unity of faith and the communion of the people of God and in advancing the mission of the Church in the world.

Why is it important for the Catholic laity to understand the Roman Curia?

Understanding the Roman Curia and how it works enables the laity to deepen their knowledge of how things work in the Catholic Church, especially at the universal level. As well, a good understanding of the Roman Curia and its operations helps laypeople to know where to go when they have a pastoral challenge or question which they want to present to the Holy Father. There is also the temptation (especially on the part of journalists) to pit the Roman Curia against the Pope. This book seeks to clarify that the Roman Curia exists only in service to the Pope.

How does this book seek to demystify the Roman Curia in an accessible way for readers?

It is written in a simple and accessible language so that both Catholics and non-Catholics, young and old, can read and understand what the Roman Curia is all about. It avoids the use of high register juridical terms and offers an explanation when the use of these terms is unavoidable.

How has Pope Francis sought to reform the Roman Curia? Have his actions influenced your choice to write this book?

Pope Francis’s emphasis on evangelization as the chief mission of the Roman Curia has been a revolutionary idea. This evangelization involves individual and communal conversion of all the curial officials. So too, it involves developing and welcoming of a new way of thinking, that of synodality and subsidiarity: the understanding that we are all companions on the journey to heaven, our true homeland. In his actions, Pope Francis has demonstrated this, he has continuously shown that the goal of power and its exercise in the Church is service. His personality and style show that he lives the reform, he leads by example, and this inspired some of the thoughts expressed in this book.

Should Catholics be generally optimistic about the future of the Roman Curia?

Absolutely! Because without the Roman Curia the pope cannot function as the Supreme Pastor of the universal Church. This is why each pope tries to reform and adapt the Roman Curia to respond efficiently to the signs of the times; that is, to the facts on the ground, using the Gospel as a benchmark.