VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The criteria for nominating new bishops and the role of papal nuncios were discussed during the latest meeting between Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals, said the Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said the majority of the discussions were dedicated to “additional considerations” regarding several Vatican offices, including the Congregation for Divine Worship, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Congregation for Saints’ Causes and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Council of Cardinals, often referred to as the C9, met April 11-13 with Pope Francis. The pope appointed the council to help advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia, as well as on church governance more generally.
Regarding the discussion about the process for gathering information on potential new bishops and procedures for nominating them, Father Lombardi said the council’s aim was not to change the procedures, but rather to “improve them.”
“When a person is consulted (on nominating a bishop), he receives a questionnaire to express his evaluation” of the candidate, Father Lombardi explained. “Certainly, there are ways that this can be improved and updated; they can help to develop a reflection in any specific direction: cultural aspects, pastoral experience, good character,” he said.
The discussion, he said, was followed by “a reflection on the meaning and role” of the papal nuncio, the Vatican ambassadors responsible for the Holy See’s relations with the church where he is stationed as well as its diplomatic relations with their states.
The Council of Cardinals also presented the pope with final proposals for the establishment of two new Curia departments. The new office for laity, family and life would combine the pontifical councils for the laity and for the family, while the office for justice, peace and migration would be created from joining the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.
The proposals, Father Lombardi said, were finalized and read once again before being given to the pope for his final considerations.
Pope Francis is expected to meet again with the Council of Cardinals June 7-9.