23rd Meeting of Council of Cardinals Concludes

‘C9’ Continued Discussions on Curia Reform


Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, has reiterated that Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals are continuing to discuss curial reform.

During a briefing held this afternoon in the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican spokesman informed journalists about the 23rd Session of the “Council of Cardinals,” often called the “C9,” which began Monday and ends this afternoon in the Vatican.

The Council of Cardinals consists of the following nine prelates: Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago, Chile; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston; Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy (not present, in Australia); Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.

Director Burke noted that the Pope participated in all, but this morning’s meeting, due to his weekly General Audience.

All the members of the Council were present except Cardinal Pell, whereas Cardinal Monsengwo arrived a day late due to flight cancellations because of the bad weather.

The working sessions were held in the morning from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and in the afternoon, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and were dedicated to further considerations on several dicasteries of the Curia. 

According to the statement released by the Holy See Press Office, they discussed, in particular the theological status of the episcopal conferences, human resources and the containment of costs in the Holy See, and finally, protection of minors.

Continuing to reflect on the Roman Curia, the cardinals present–Greg Burke explained–examined the Dicasteries for Promoting Integral Human Development, for the Oriental Churches and for the Evangelization of Peoples.

“The reflection on the theological status of the Episcopal Conferences,” the Vatican statement on the C9 noted, “proceeded from paragraph no. 32 of Evangelii Gaudium: “… a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach. It is a re-reading of the Motu proprio “Apostolos suos”, in the spirit of healthy decentralization that the Pope often speaks of, reaffirming that it is always he who safeguards unity in the Church.”

Msgr. Jan Romeo Pawłowski, Greg Burke said, shared with the cardinals the progress of the Third Section of the Secretariat of State recently established for the selection and training of the diplomatic staff and chaired by him.

In addition, the Vatican spokesman told the journalists, Cardinal Reinhard Marx presented to the Council of Cardinals the theme of human resources in presenting the work of the Council for the Economy, which is studying proposals to outline the competences of a “control room” for human resources. The German cardinal also reported on the positive progress in the areas of the presentation of financial statements, the containment of costs and the reduction of the deficit of the Holy See. In this context, he noted, the Council for the Economy has decided to draw up guidelines for the institutions of the Holy See with the aim of reducing costs.

Greg Burke also highlighted that the cardinals also discussed various options for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith @to process cases of child abuse within a short time.”

The Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, spoke to the cardinals regarding the progress of the dicastery, and made further reflections on the Congregations for the Oriental Churches and for the Evangelization of Peoples.

This 23rd Session of the Council of Cardinals marks their first council of 2018, and their next meeting is scheduled for April 23-25, 2018.

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