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Vatican reform will decentralize Church decision-making, predicts Indian cardinal

August 19, 2013

Reforms at the Vatican should give the Roman Curia a more international face, but should not concentrate on meeting geographical quotas, according to one of the eight cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to advise the Pontiff on reforms.

During a visit to Toronto, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay told the Catholic Register that the eight cardinals have been conferring with each other, and each member of the committee has met with Pope Francis. The group’s formal deliberations will begin in October, but the Indian cardinal said that he expects a meeting with the other cardinals before that time.

“We were speaking of Italian predominance,” Cardinal Gracias said. He explained that prelates want the Vatican to reflect the universal Church. However, he added, “I’m not overly sensitive or overly concerned about national representation.” The key, he said, would be to avoid any provincial outlook.

Cardinal Gracias predicted that the Church would move toward a greater decentralization of decision-making, giving more responsibility to national bishops’ conferences. He added that the episcipal conferences would need to “be more responsible, more accountable,” to shoulder additional tasks. Today, he observed, most episcopal conferences look to Rome for guidance rather than making their own decisions.

The Indian cardinal told the Catholic Register that Pope Francis sees all reform proposals in terms of their value for evangelization. He disclosed that the Pope has asked all members of the 8-cardinal committee to reread Evangelii Nuntiandi, the encyclical by Pope Paul VI on evangelization.


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  • Posted by: Ken - Aug. 19, 2013 7:22 PM ET USA

    "giving more responsibility to national bishops’ conferences."?? Giving more responsibility to the USCCB? Mother Mary help us!