The Council of Cardinals, often referred to as the C9, has taken Pope Francis’ words about a ‘health decentralization’ within the Church seriously, and is moving ahead with reforming the Roman Curia.
During a briefing held this Saturday on the twelfth meeting of the C9, Dec. 10-12, Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, expressed this.
The Council had begun its work on Thursday morning, after concelebrating Mass with the Holy Father at Santa Marta, and finished Saturday morning. Pope Francis and all Council members attended all the meetings.
In its reflections, Fr. Lombardi recalled, the Council members emphasized the importance of the Holy Father’s Oct. 17 discourse, on the occasion of the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops, where he extensively developed the theme of ‘synodality,’ but also recalled the importance of proceeding with a healthy decentralization.
At this week’s meeting, the Vatican spokesman noted, the Council remarked on “the need to further explore the meaning of this discourse and its importance in the work of reforming the Curia, and agreed to dedicate a specific session to this during the next meeting in February 2016.”
The Council, he added, resumed its work on the two new dicasteries, mentioned several times previously. “The dicastery dedicated to the ‘Laity, Family and Life’, whose institution was announced by the Pope during the Synod on Oct. 22, was the subject of a proposal formulated by the Council and presented to the Pope, which will now provide the apposite path for reaching the final decisions of the Holy Father.”
He also noted that the dicastery concerned with “Justice, peace and migrations” was the subject of further consideration, with a view to arriving at conclusive proposals to be presented to the Holy Father.”
On Thursday, during the first meeting, the Council heard Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and reflected on the congregation, its activities, its competencies and its role also in the field of ecumenical relations.
On Friday, the C9 heard two reports regarding reform of the economy from Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Council for the Economy, and from Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, who referred to the activity of and results achieved by the two institutions.
“Cardinal Marx also reported on the choice of the external auditor for the consolidated financial statements – the company PricewaterhouseCooper “PwC”, recently made public. Cardinal Pell spoke about the constitution of a working group to consider the future of the economy of the Holy City and Vatican City State, on the progress and overall control of income and spending. The group, composed of representatives from the Secretariat for the Economy, the Secretariat of State, the Governorate, APSA, Propaganda Fide, the Secretariat for Communication and the IOR, has already commenced work with a first meeting.”
The Council of Cardinals acknowledged the positive nature and importance of the work carried out by the Council for the Economy and the Secretariat, and encouraged its further progress. “Cardinal Sean O’Malley,” Fr. Lombardi explained, “reported on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and its specific working groups, for instance on the development of education and formation programs, assistance to episcopal conferences for the drafting of guidelines at local level, and so on.”
On Saturday morning, the council established the calendar for forthcoming meetings and a provisional agenda for the meeting to take place in February next year. The meetings in 2016 will take place on: February 8-9, April 11-13, June 6-8, Sept. 12-14, and Dec. 12-14.