Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, briefed journalists today on the meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which is currently taking place in the Vatican.
The eight members of the Council have begun each day with morning Mass with the Holy Father in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae. The morning and afternoon meetings, which began in the private library at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, are now being held at a room at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the council members are also residing.
Fr. Lombardi told journalists that an important aspect of the council is that they are not “continental delegates”. “These are members of the episcopal college that have a perspective from around the world, and they are familiar with the real problems of the Church worldwide,” Fr. Lombardi said.
“They are all people whom the Pope holds in high regard, with whom he is in confidence and accord and whose advice he considers to be helpful in taking what he considers to be the most suitable approach to the governance of the Church”, he continued.
“This is not an insignificant task, since confidence and esteem foster the climate of serenity necessary for an open and constructive dialogue”.
The Holy Father opened yesterday’s meeting with an introduction and a reflection on “the ecclesiology of Vatican Council II.” The reflection, Fr. Lombardi said, gives “a broader theological and spiritual vision of the Church, inspired by the ecclesiology of Vatican Council II and the implementation of its themes”.
Some of the issues discussed by the council range from the relationship between the universal and local Church to the role of the laity. The discussions ”form a backdrop to the work of the Council of Cardinals.” In light of this,” Fr. Lombardi explained, “they will later consider structures of governance”.
Yesterday’s afternoon session discussed at length the Synod of Bishops and was attended by the secretary of the Synod, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri. Fr. Lombardi stated that the Holy Father touched upon a possible theme that is anthropological in nature for the next Synod: “the family according to the Gospel.”
“The Holy Father also said that prominent themes such as family and matrimonial pastoral will be the order of the day in the activity of the Church in the near future,” Fr. Lombardi stated.
Concluding his briefing, the director of the Holy See Press Office, stated that today’s meetings focused on Curia reform and the work of the various dicasteries in the Holy See.
“There have been many suggestions and contributions. It is is long term task, and therefore one should not expect conclusions in the short term or within these days,” Fr. Lombardi said.