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Vatican reform could downgrade Secretariat of State, hints secretary of Pope's new commission

Catholic World News - April 16, 2013

The commission of cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to weigh Vatican reforms could trim the sweeping powers of the Secretariat of State, according to the Italian bishop who was named secretary of the commission.

Bishop Marcello Semeraro told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that some prefects of Vatican congregations “feel the need to have a more direct and frequent relationship with the Pope.” Since the last major reform of the Roman Curia, undertaken by Pope Paul VI, the work of the congregations has in effect been supervised by the Secretariat of State.

Bishop Semeraro pointed out that 50 years have passed since the Secretariat of State received that broad administrative mandate. “We must adapt these structures according to the needs of the Church today,” he said. When asked whether a reform would significantly decrease the authority of the Secretariat of State, the Italian bishop said that “the possibility should not be excluded.”

In appointing a commission of 8 cardinals to advise him on administrative reforms, Pope Francis did not include any current official of the Secretariat of State.

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