VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals has begun creating the first draft of a new apostolic constitution that would implement a major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy.
The so-called C9, a papally appointed group of nine cardinal members, held its sixth meeting Sept 15-17 with Pope Francis at the Vatican to help advise him on the reform of the Vatican’s organization and church governance.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Sept. 17 that the series of discussions have now begun a more “concrete” phase with “putting ink on paper” in the form of a draft for the introduction to a new constitution.
“It may be assumed that, with the next two meetings of the council — Dec. 9-11, 2014, and Feb. 9-11, 2015 — the draft constitution will reach an advanced stage of preparation, making it possible for the pope to proceed with further consultations,” the priest said in a written statement.
In a first step toward reorganizing the Roman Curia, Pope Francis created the Secretariat for the Economy in February as a way to begin universal oversight and standards for all of the Vatican’s financial assets and activities.
Father Lombardi told reporters that the cardinals’ discussions concerning financial issues have concluded, and that they now resumed looking at the different pontifical councils of the curia, as part of a bigger strategy of finding the most effective and efficient way to reorganize the large bureaucracy.
In their three days of talks and study, the nine cardinals “focused on two principal hotspots,” the Vatican spokesman said in his written statement.
The first topic included the laity, the family, “the role of women in society and the church, youth, childhood, or matters related to lay associations and movements and so on,” he wrote.
The second topic combined the issues of “justice and peace, charity, migrants and refugees, health, and the protection of life and ecology, especially human ecology,” the written statement said.
The way the different issues were divided into two major areas seemed to lend credence to some news reports predicting the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family would be merged into one new congregation, and that the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum and Migrants and Travelers could be combined, since their areas of focus are closely related and often overlap.
Pope Francis would make the final decisions, Father Lombardi said, based on input from the Council of Cardinals and regular talks with the heads of the curia, other cardinals and bishops.
The Vatican spokesman said the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors will meet Oct. 4-5, and any announcements or clarifications concerning new members and the group’s statutes would be made around that time.
Since its inception in July, the Commission on Vatican media was set to hold its first meeting Sept. 22-24 in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the pope lives.
The 11-member body has been asked to review and recommend ways Vatican communications structures could be streamlined and modernized.
The commission president is British Lord (Chris) Patten, former governor of Hong Kong, former chairman of the BBC Trust and former chancellor of the University of Oxford. The commission secretary is Irish Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Greg Erlandson, president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and a former correspondent in the Rome bureau of Catholic News Service, is a commission member.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: