Catholic World News

Cardinals continue discussion of Vatican reforms

February 13, 2015

The College of Cardinals continued an in-depth discussion of Vatican reforms during the 2nd day of an extraordinary consistory on February 13.

Briefing reporters about the discussions, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the cardinals had explored how proposed reforms would contribute to the health of the local churches. Many cardinals spoke in favor of decentralizing authority, with some suggesting a more prominent role for episcopal conferences. However Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, observed that episcopal conferences do not have authority to settle doctrinal issues.

The cardinals discussed the merits of a plan to create two new Vatican congregations: one for the laity and family life, the other for social concerns. There was a suggestion that the latter congregation, in addition to handling justice and peace, migration, health care, and charitable work, should also deal with environmental concerns.

The Council of Cardinals, which is advising Pope Francis on Vatican reforms, had suggested the creation of these two new congregations. The Council did not endorse a recommendation that had been suggested by some prelates: the appointment of a “moderator of the Curia” to coordinate the different offices of the Holy See. However, that suggestion was raised again during the cardinals’ discussions, by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Several cardinals observed that in practice, the Secretariat of State fulfills that role today.

On Friday morning, February 13, Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, gave a presentation on the financial and administrative affairs, saying that the reform of Vatican finances should boost the credibility of the Holy See. Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, the president of the Institute for Religious Works, spoke about the latest steps in the reform of the Vatican bank.

During their Friday afternoon session, the cardinals heard a report from Cardinal Sean O’Malley about the work of new papal commission on sexual abuse, which he chairs.


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