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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Report: Pope Francis looks at ‘synodal reforms’ to papal election process

November 06, 2023

» Continue to this story on Pillar

CWN Editor's Note: At Pope Francis’s request, Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, 81, is drafting changes to papal election procedures, “sources close to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State” have told The Pillar.

Under the proposed changes, cardinals who are 80 years of age or older, and thus ineligible to vote in the papal election, would be barred from the general congregations that take place before the vote. In addition, cardinals would no longer address all of their confrères: instead, they would speak with one another in small groups, with their remarks being summarized for their brother cardinals.

Diane Montagna, a journalist accredited to the Holy See Press Office, reported that in addition, “Cardinal Ghirlanda is seeking to convince Pope Francis to undertake a truly revolutionary act, by revolutionizing who elects the Pope.”

“Professing to ‘return to the early Church,’ the idea would be to have cardinal-electors, the majority of whom Pope Francis has chosen, comprise 75% of the vote, while the remaining 25% percent would be made up of laymen and women and religious sisters, papally appointed by Pope Francis in advance of the Apostolic See becoming vacant,” wrote Montagna, who cited “well-informed Vatican sources.”

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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  • Posted by: td4207 - Nov. 07, 2023 5:28 PM ET USA

    Responding with the same relativism that has characterized this papacy: Who am I to judge?

  • Posted by: feedback - Nov. 06, 2023 10:00 AM ET USA

    Barring older cardinals from the general congregation before the vote and having individual cardinals speak in random "small groups" instead of addressing the entire conclave sounds like a recipe for papal election fraud. The cardinal who proposes 1/4 of the vote by lay persons, has lost his sense of duty and purpose as a successor of the Apostles, and lost his sense of responsibility before God. Many Catholics would reject that kind of conclave as invalid.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Nov. 06, 2023 8:36 AM ET USA

    The ones who have been commanding a "return to the early Church" are the same ones who constantly push "development of doctrine". By "returning to the early Church", these progressives are proclaiming that we should "go backwards", while out of the other side of their mouth they accuse "traditionalists" of doing the same; yet they clamor for "development, "innovation", "contextualization", and every kind of conformity with the world possible. Note as well the handpicked electors of the next pope