Reform of economic and organizational structures of the Holy See was the first order of business for the College of Cardinals today in Rome.
This is the third such meeting of the eight-member council, established by Pope Francis to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and in governing the universal Church. The council first met on Sept. 28th last year.
This session, which will also include further discussion on plans to revise the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia, concludes on Feb. 19th.
The council members concelebrated the Holy Father’s daily Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said the council was presented with a report by the commission studying the various economic-administrative organizational structures of the Holy See, but no decisions were made.
“Three representatives of the this Commission were present […]: the President, Professor Zahra; the secretary, Msgr. Vallejo Balda; and Jochen Messemer, who is also the international reviser of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs,” Fr. Lombardi told journalists today. The commission, he said, will most likely produce several drafts, ideas, or possible proposals.
Tomorrow, the cardinals will review another report, this time by the commission set up by Pope Francis to oversee the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), colloquially known in the media as the “Vatican Bank”.
On Wednesday, the eight council members will meet a 15-member Council of Cardinals who are studying “Organizational and Economic Questions of the Holy See”.
No Surprises to Come
“Don’t expect any surprises […] from our meeting with the Pope,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said last night in an interview on the Italian television news channel TG24. “Reform requires patience, this accelerated society needs patience.”
Cardinal Maradiaga, who is the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, serves as coordinator of the Council of Cardinals.
Commenting on the tomorrow’s meeting with the Commission that oversees the IOR, he said the Council does not want it to function like a bank. “The Institute should be different from the banks that we know,” he said.
The cardinal asked the faithful for patience while the Council continues study the reports of various commissions and studies.
“The work of our commission began in October. There is serious work being done, of research, and for this patience is needed. It is a work that will bear fruit, but this accelerated society must have patience. The things of the Lord take time,” he said.
Busy week for Francis
Fr. Lombardi acknowledged that this week will be a full week for the Holy Father and the Council as on Thursday morning the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals will begin.
The meeting in the Synod Hall in the Vatican will begin with a greeting from the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and will include a keynote address from Cardinal Walter Kasper. The work of the consistory will conclude on Friday.
Pope Francis is then scheduled to create 19 new cardinals on Saturday.