Text of statement on reform of Vatican bureaucracy

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican Secretariat of State announced April 13 that Pope Francis has named a committee of eight cardinals to assist him in reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, something that was recommended during the cardinals’ meetings that preceded the papal election last month.

The list of eight names is notable for the high representation of the Americas (three members, including Boston’s Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley) and English-speaking countries (also three, counting India). The role of coordinator has been given to Cardinal Oscar A. Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras.

Five continents are represented. Only two members come from Europe, the church’s traditional heartland, and only one shares the Italian nationality of the majority of Vatican officials.

The Vatican statement follows.

POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS GROUP OF CARDINALS TO ADVISE HIM ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT AND REVISION PLAN OF APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ON ROMAN CURIA

Vatican City, 13 April 2013 (VIS) – Following is the full text of a communique issued today by the Secretariat of State.

“The Holy Father Francis, taking up a suggestion that emerged during the General Congregations preceding the Conclave, has established a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, ‘Pastor Bonus’.

The group consists of:

Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State;

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile;

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India;

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany;

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo;

Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M., archbishop of Boston, USA;

Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia;

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the role of coordinator; and

Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, in the role of secretary.

The group’s first meeting has been scheduled for 1-3 October 2013. His Holiness is, however, currently in contact with the aforementioned cardinals.”

21 Responses

  1. May our dear Lord be with all of you !!!!!

  2. Bravo! What welcome news this is. It is good seeing a list that doesn’t just round up the usual Cardinals from the Curia.

  3. Holy Spirit be in them and with them. Amen

  4. Pell versus O’Malley–will define their success or failure. The Australian who likes to control versus the Franciscan with humility.

  5. Thank you Pope Francis!

  6. May they be open to the Spirit. There is hope for reform of our Catholic Community.

  7. BIG JOB. I think some sisters and brothers on the committee would have been a great choice

  8. Very important work! Keeping all of them in my prayers as they seek guidance from the Holy Spirit…

  9. Interesting, will have to wait and see what happens, is there balance in this group? Maybe should have included a woman.

  10. May the eight with Francis find their “Clares” to collaborate with them.

  11. MAY THE HOLY SPIRT EVANGILIZE THE SO THAT THEY BRING THE CHURCH BACK.

  12. I pray for you every day. Ellen

  13. May our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit Be With them in all that they Do for the Holy Catholic Church.+.
    GOD’S CHURCH HERE ON EARTH.+.

  14. It would be very useful to have somone on board from outside the Church at some point in time to introduce best practices of administration. Very few priests are ever trained in these and many of us who work in the world are very familiar with good time management, project goals and evaluations. All of these tools could assist curia staff in staying on track and moving the pace along. Most of all the whole Church could benefit from more efficiency.

  15. We will have to see what happens, we can only pray for a reform of the Catholic church.

    It was surprising to see only 2 names from Europe.

  16. I hope these G8 will advise the Pope to be courageous and REALLY reform, with tangible gestures, not with window dressing…
    The curia may need to be reformed… but the lack of priests needs to be adressed, as well. The role of women in the Church needs to be admitted, because they do most of the work, at all levels. The poedophilia crisis, as well as the homosexual one in the Church need to be adressed and a workable plan needs to be devised. We have not seen anything yet… Too early and time will tell? Or there will be no change ?… as in the previous 7 years… or indeed 34…?

  17. Hm..
    How quick. So, quick on the draw- Carlos.
    How long would it take you to do all what you suggest in your comment, Mr. Gabriel?
    How long could it take you to do all of these things you propose and do them right and effectively?
    It’s not like picking up a pencil and sharpening it*

    Do you have all the answers, to each of these right off the bat?
    Perhaps we should pray so that our church leaders can keep working under God’s Holy Spirit so his goals are accomplished for his house- The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Something to ponder on:
    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
    …A little prudence goes a long way.+.
    …and it’s not for a lack of courage.+.
    …Jesus didn’t “RUSH” to doing his fathers. Now did he? (YEARS)

    JJ

  18. Perhaps Cardinal Pell will have the last say, so to speak, after the Curial gang managed to keep him out of the Congregation of Bishops.

  19. The election of the Holy Father on 13 March has created an enormous hope among Catholics the world over. Many, and I count myself among them, are deeply touched by the person of Pope Francis and eager to respond to his call to re-focus the life of the Church on Gospel values.
    However, in order to achieve spiritual renewal, it will also be necessary to re-examine how the Church is administered. The nomination of a panel of eight cardinals to reflect on this question is certainly a welcome step in the right direction. Without a deep administrative reform, neither the confidence of the faithful in their pastors, greatly damaged by successive revelations in recent years, nor the moral authority of the Church in the eyes of the world can be restored. Below are some thoughts on some of the principles that should guide such a reform.
    It is urgent to put in place mechanisms that will ensure greater transparency in the affairs of the Church, a form of governance that will be more inclusive and less vulnerable to conflicts of interest. While a lot has been done in this regard at the level of parishes, it is clear that the hierarchy of the Church – bishops and in the first place the Curia of the Vatican – has not been up to the challenge. The manner in which cases of paedophilia were covered up in order to avoid scandal, thus allowing the offenses to continue, and the refusal of certain hierarchs to simply and openly ask for forgiveness (out of fear, one assumes, of opening the door to demands for reparations) are the sad proof of this failure.
    The only way to deal with lack of transparency and pervasive conflicts of interest is to establish a better system of checks and balances in the exercise of secular authority within the Church. This implies a greater implication of lay people in the management of the Church. The laity is not in any sense ‘better’ than the clergy, but it is not subject to the same conflicts of interest, and can therefore provide an effective counterweight to the otherwise unchecked influence of the clergy.
    This assertion does not call into question in any way the Magisterium of the Church or the role of the clergy in spiritual and pastoral matters. On the contrary, I believe that it is necessary to re-focus the successors of the Apostles on these matters, and entrust worldly matters in a far greater measure to the laity. This principle is, in a sense, already present in the New Testament: “So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food” (Acts 6v2).
    Given the grave problems that have come to light, an administrative reform of the Church should:
    • Put in place independent structures to ensure the transparency of Church finances. This is mainly needed at the level of the Vatican, since, whatever the actual scale of the abuses, the perception of the faithful is that the Curia is rotten to the core in this area. The establishment of something like a Vatican Court of Auditors, led and staffed by professional lay persons, is urgent. Financial management is probably healthier at the level of dioceses, since national legislations often impose adequate reporting and control mechanisms.
    • Give a voice to the clergy in the management of the clergy. In former times, the people of Rome chose their bishop, and, thereby the successor of St. Peter. In many countries, the Church to this day accepts to submit its Episcopal nominations to the approval of the government. There can therefore be no theological objection to the clergy not having a monopoly in the management of its human resources. There are sufficient historical precedents.
    As concerns the nomination of clergy to particular functions, here too we should start by considering the higher ranks of the hierarchy. If it is true that the former Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony, knowingly covered up cases of paedophilia in his diocese, how can it be that he has not been consigned to a monastery for the rest of his days to do penance for his sins? How is it that he kept his Cardinal’s hat and took part in the conclave to elect the current Pope? Of course, the successor of St. Peter is the guarantor of the Church’s unity and, in the final instance, the decisions on the appointment of bishops and on the composition of the College of Cardinals belong to him. But the Holy Father receives advice on the decisions he is called to make, and there is absolutely no reason why he should not be counselled by independent commissions, staffed by lay persons, and constituted at the level of the Vatican as well as individual dioceses. Such bodies should examine the suitability of candidates proposed for Episcopal ordination or put forward for particular Episcopal appointments, as well as those of persons (lay or clergy) proposed for elevation to the College of Cardinals.
    Bodies constituted of lay persons should also be authorised to examine in a transparent and independent manner allegations of non-ethical behaviour made against the clergy and propose, if necessary, the suspension of the persons concerned or other disciplinary measures. It is clear that a number of bishops, informed of grave transgressions within the clergy, have faced conflicts of interest (face scandal? Or allow transgressions to continue?) and some have made wrong choices. To use the expression of Pope Francis, they have shown themselves to be worldly (‘mondani’). Had there been such independent bodies in place, no doubt a number of faltering bishops would have been kept ‘on the straight and narrow’. Even on matters that have nothing to do with transgressions and disciplinary issues, benefiting from the views of the laity, in a more systematic and structured way than is presently the case, could only be useful for bishops in the management of their dioceses.
    Bringing the message of the Gospel to the world is already a challenging task, for the Church – clergy and laity alike. It becomes even more so when the Church is perceived by some as an institution whose spiritual message is used as a screen for cynical and corrupt leaders engaged in corrupt and immoral activities. I am sure that all the readers of this blog share my sense of sadness and shame that image of the Mystical Body of Christ should be sullied in this fashion. This is why the reform of the administration of the Church, with a healthier balance of (secular) power between the clergy and the laity is so urgent and so important.

    John O’Rourke

  20. PS: I noticed a typo in the 2nd bullet point above, which reads ‘Give a voice to the clergy in the management of the clergy’ and should read ‘Give a voice to the laity in the management of the clergy’

  21. Yes. Mr. J. O’ Rourke alot to take note of and point out for our 8 Cardinals and others involved for a renewal and thus revival/surge withing all levels of the Catholic Church. But, I for one, as I assume that you do to, TRUST and Have Faith that they’ll come to a conculsion and resolve that will lead us all to victory in the world. A worldly unified body of Christ. Blessings My Brother.+.
    JJ

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