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Vatican-reform planning likely to continue into 2016

April 15, 2015

The Council of Cardinals—the 9-member group advising Pope Francis on Vatican reforms—concluded its 9th meeting on April 15.

A Vatican statement released at the close of the meeting indicated that planning for a restructuring of the Roman Curia is likely to continue through this year and into 2016 before a final plan is set.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the Council’s latest three-day session had been devoted primarily to planning for the preparation of a new apostolic constitution defining the new roles of the Roman Curia. The members also spent a good deal of time reading and discussing suggestions that had been submitted by other members of the College of Cardinals during a February consistory.

The widespread expectations that the Council will recommend the creation of two new Vatican congregations—one covering justice-and-peace issues and charitable affairs; the other responsible for the laity, marriage, and family—“would appear to be confirmed,” Father Lombardi said.

The Council also reflected on two other major projects, the papal spokesman said:

  • Plans for reorganization of the Vatican’s media operations. A special commission, chaired by Lord Chris Patten, has submitted its recommendations; a new panel, including some of the same members, will probably be created to implement the new plan.
  • Abuse and protection of minors. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who chairs the papal commission on that topic, called for standards to promote “accountability” and to respond to “abuse of office” by prelates who fail in their pastoral responsibilities.

The Council of Cardinals is scheduled to meet again in June, with future meetings set for September and December of this year.


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