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Pope, cardinals discuss 'substantial' overhaul of Roman Curia

October 03, 2013

The Council of Cardinals is discussing a thorough revision of Pastor Bonus, the apostolic constitution that defines the duties of the Roman Curia, the Vatican has disclosed.

In their 2nd day of discussions, the 8 cardinals on the Council spoke about the content of “a new constitution with significant new aspects,” Father Federico Lombardi told reporters at a Vatican briefing on October 3. “The cardinals made it clear that they do not intend to make cosmetic retouches or minor modifications to Pastor Bonus,” he said.

The reformed structure of the Roman Curia would reflect a goal of “subsidiarity, rather than the exercise of centralized power,” the director of the Vatican press office disclosed. The offices of the Roman Curia would be defined in terms of service to the universal Church.

The Secretariat of State could undergo the most significant transformation, Father Lombardi reported. He remarked that the timing of the Pope’s discussions with the Council of Cardinals is fortuitous, because the Pope will be able to give appropriate directions to Archbishop Pietro Parolin as he assumes his new responsibilities as Secretary of State later this month.

The Council discussed the possibility of creating a new post, a “Moderator of the Curia,” the Vatican spokesman said, but did not reach a decision on that question. The possibility of such a position, to coordinate dealings between the Pope and the offices of the Curia, had been discussed before the conclave that chose Pope Francis.

During their 2nd day of meetings the cardinals returned to the role of the Synod of Bishops, a topic they had discussed the 1st day, Father Lombardi said. Changes in the role of the Synod could be implemented quickly, as the new Pope chooses a theme for the next Synod meeting.

Father Lombardi said that the Council of Cardinals spoke only briefly about financial issues, since Pope Francis has already commissioned two groups of advisers to make recommendations about the future of the Vatican bank and about the financial affairs of the Vatican as a whole.

No date has been set for the next full meeting of the Council of Cardinals, Father Lombardi said, although there is a general sense that the group will convene again early in 2014. “Also,” the papal spokesman added, “it would be incorrect to assume that nothing happens between one meeting and another.” The cardinals are in regular contact with the Pope and with each other, he explained.

Pope Francis has been participating fully in the meetings of the Council of Cardinals, although he was absent from the Wednesday-morning session because of his regular weekly public audience, and missed the Thursday-morning meeting to attend an audience organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace marking the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Pacem in Terris.


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  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 03, 2013 10:18 PM ET USA

    As long as Cardinal O'Malley is advising the pope, how about advising him advise him that bishops start throwing Catholic politicians out, such as Kerry? Oops, never mind he had his chance with Kennedy!