The Congregation for the Clergy is the new title given by Paul VI to the “Sacred Congregation of the Council”, in the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae dated August 15, 1967. The history of this Congregation goes back to the Sacra Congregatio Cardinalium Concilii Tridentini interpretum, instituted by Pius IV in the Apostolic Constitution Alias Nos dated Aug. 2, 1564, to ensure a correct interpretation and the practical observance of the norms issued by the Council of Trent. Gregory XIII increased its functions and Sixtus V entrusted to it the revision of the acts of provincial councils and, in general, the task of promoting the implementation of the reforms established by the Council of Trent. With the passage of time, the task of interpreting the canons of the Council of Trent ceased and the vast competence of this Dicastery was gradually transferred to other Congregations which had been created in the meantime.
However, the Dicastery has kept its historical name of “Sacred Congregation of the Council” until December 31, 1967. Before being given its new title and role, which were established by Paul VI in the above-mentioned Apostolic Constitution, the tasks of the Congregation were enumerated in can. 250 of the Code of Canon Law.
The competence of the Congregation for the Clergy is now indicated in ns. 93-98 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus and is these are divided among three Offices:
1) The Office for the Clergy
collects, suggests and promotes initiatives with regard to the sanctity and the intellectual and pastoral updating of the Clergy (Diocesan Priests and Deacons), as well as their ongoing formation; it oversees Cathedral Chapters, Pastoral Councils, Presbyteral Councils, Parishes, Parish Priests and all clerics with regard to whatever pertains to their pastoral ministry etc.; the matters of Mass offerings, Pious Foundations, Legacies, Oratories, Churches, Shrines, ecclesiastical archives and libraries; it also seeks to promote a more adequate distribution of the Clergy all over the world.
2) The Catechetical Office
provides for the religious formation of the faithful of all ages and states of life; it issues appropriate norms so that catechetical teaching is imparted in a suitable fashion; it ensures that catechetical formation is properly executed; it grants the prescribed approvals for national Catechisms and Directories; it assists catechetical offices and follows initiatives regarding religious formation and international events dealing with such issues; it coordinates activities and offers their help if necessary.