VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals studied ways in which the responsibilities of Vatican offices can be simplified and harmonized.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, briefed reporters on the council’s work on the final day of its meeting June 6-8.

Their reflections, he said, also delved into “possible forms of decentralization in relation to episcopal conferences” around the world.


The nine-member council, which assists the pope in matters of church governance and the reform of the Roman Curia, also discussed the work of several Vatican offices, including: the Congregation for Bishops, the Secretariat of State, as well as the congregations for Catholic Education, Eastern Churches and Clergy and the pontifical councils for Culture, Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue.

Following the announcement June 4 of the establishment of a new Vatican office for laity, family and life, Father Lombardi told reporters that the council also discussed the possible responsibilities of a new office dedicated to charity, justice and peace.

The office would bring together four existing pontifical councils responsible for promoting Catholic charity, justice and peace, providing pastoral assistance to healthcare workers and for migrants, refugees and other itinerant peoples.

Several recommendations for the new office “were given to the pope for further study and the consultations he deems appropriate,” he said.

The council will meet again Sept. 12-14, he said.

The members of the council are: Cardinals Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Francisco Errazuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; George Pell, head of the Secretariat of the Economy; and Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.