Pope Francis selects cardinals to advise on church reform
Vatican City, 13 April 2013 (VIS) – Following is the full text of a communique issued on Saturday 13 April 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;
- 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.”
John J Allen Jr of the NCR comments on the announcement:
In a signal that major reform may be on the horizon, the Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has formed a group of eight cardinals from around the world to “advise him on the government of the universal church” and “to study a project of revision” of a document from John Paul II on the Roman Curia.
At first blush, all these cardinals seem like strong personalities. Several have voiced criticisms over the years about various aspects of Vatican operations, while two, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, Germany, have played key roles in the church’s response to the child sexual abuse crisis.
The group’s first meeting is set for Oct. 1-3, and meanwhile, according to the Vatican statement, the pope will be in regular contact with the cardinals individually.
The brief item in the Vatican’s daily press bulletin did not explain how these cardinals were chosen, or how long they will serve in these roles.
Strikingly, there was only one member of the Roman Curia among the eight cardinals tapped to assist the pope. The rest come from various parts of the world, with at least one representing each continent.
The note said Pope Francis had assembled the group in keeping with a suggestion that emerged during the “General Congregation” meetings of cardinals in the run-up to the conclave that elected him to the papacy.
As it happens, today marks the one-month anniversary of Francis’ election. The document from John Paul II on the Roman Curia to be studied by this group is entitled Pastor Bonus, and was issued in 1988.