Council of Cardinals – WOW!

Earlier today Pope Francis announced that he has formed a Council of Cardinals to assist him in the governance of the Church and to look at the ovehaul of the giant beaurocarcy know as the Roman Curia.

He has named eight cadinals from around the world. The only one who is actually serving in Rome is Cardinal Guiseppe Bertello, who is president of the Governorate of the Vatican City State. Notably absent is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Cardinal Secretary of State.

From the United States, Francis has tapped Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap, the archbishop of Boston.

This is big stuff, folks!

After his election, Francis said he was reappointing the heads of the various curial offices on a temporary basis, while he would pray, discern, dialogue and discuss the appointments, reserving for himself the right to change things.

Apparently the new Pontiff was affected by the talks given in the General Congregations of the Cardinals, prior to the start of the Conclave that elected him. It is well know that curial reform was a topic brought forward by more than just a few of the Cardinals in the General Congregaitons.

Today’s move would appear to be Pope Francis agreeing with them, since he says that he was following up on the suggestions made by cardinals in the General Congregations.

Although not scheduled to meet as a group until October, the Vatican communique stated emphatically that Pope Francis is already in dialogue with the eight.

One would suspect that work is already going on among the members of the Council at the behest of the Pontiff. If I were a betting man, it would not surprise me to see some major developments coming out of that short meeting in October.

The last time the Roman Curia was overhauled was twenty-five years ago during the reign of Blessed John Paul II.

In recent years, however, Cardinals and others have been voicing the need for a complete overhaul of the system, urging that things be organized in a more businesslike and transparent manner. They feel the Curia needs to be more responsive to the needs of the Church around the world at the diocesan and national levels.

The Vati-leaks scandal of the past year, coupled with unbelievable problems at the Vatican Bank, only exacerbated the calls for renewal, reform, and reorganization.

And to add to this, it is reported tonight in the Italian media that the Cardinal who will coordinate the new Council, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has stated that the Vatican Bank, known officially as the “Institute for the Works of Religion,” is definitely be a topic for which Pope Francis is seeking counsel and guidance from the new Council.

This is a completely new concept. The College of Cardinals has generally seen itself as a group to advise the Holy Father, but a group of the whole — all the Cardinals.

Now, Pope Francis, apparently seeing the need to get special counsel from a smaller group, has commissioned the eight as his special advisors in the governance of the Church.

His selections are quite amazing, and they come from every continent.

Stay tuned, folks. We may have to wait until October, but this is apparently going to be the biggest reorganization (call that “Shake-up”) of the Church’s most important offices and departments, probably in several hundred years.

I, for one, having been there and seen it in action, say it is high time for some changes to be made!

The Concho Padre

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