Catholic World News

Council of Cardinals meets, plans major overhaul of Roman Curia

December 03, 2013

The Council of Cardinals opened its 2nd full working session on December 3, meeting with Pope Francis to advance plans for a thorough reform of the Roman Curia.

Briefing reporters on the meeting, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, confirmed that the Pope and his group of 8 advisers are undertaking “a thorough examination of the Roman Curia,” with an eye toward a thorough overhaul. The changes being discussed, Father Lombardi said, are “not limited to retouches or minor improvements.”

Following their first series of meetings in October, the Pope and the Council of Cardinals have settled into a close examination of Pastor Bonus, the apostolic constitution released in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, setting forth the Vatican’s current administrative structure. Father Lombardi indicated that the changes under discussion are “substantial, to the extent that it may be considered as a new constitution for the Curia.”

The 8 cardinals advising the Pope have “collected extensive documentation and gathered other points of view” since their October meeting, the Vatican said; they have also reportedly conferred with each other frequently by phone and email. They are scheduled to hold another face-to-face meeting in February, prior to the February 22 consistory at which Pope Francis will create new cardinals.

The Vatican has not yet disclosed what form the changes in the Roman Curia will take. Journalists in Rome have speculated, however, that some pontifical councils will be merged, and responsibilities will be shifted between Vatican congregations. Vatican-watchers also expect an overall streamlining of the Vatican bureaucracy, in line with the Pope’s expressed desire for a more decentralized administrative structure.

At the December 3 meeting, the cardinals began their in-depth analysis of the Curia with an examination of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Father Lombardi said. The Vatican spokesman disclosed that the Council of Cardinals had invited Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State, to a meeting, but no other Vatican officials have been included in the working sessions, aside from the Pope, the 8 cardinals, and the Council’s secretary, Bishop Marcello Semeraro.


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  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 04, 2013 2:51 AM ET USA

    The problem with a decentralized structure is that it might become regional. If so, many functions might be related to existing structures, such as the USCCB. Between CRS, Canon 915, CINO schools, gay clergy and a general reticence to lead their flocks, such a change will only lead to more confusion, inaction and scandal. In this age of rapid information, a change towards speed in action and decision-making would be most welcome.