Curia reform: Pope Francis is bowled over by an avalanche of unrequested advice

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The Substitute Secretary of State, Angelo Becciu says it is “way too early to be making assumptions about the future structure of the Curia”

ANDREA TORNIELLI Taken from Vatican Insider

“The Pope hasn’t even met with the group of advisors he put together and he’s already being bombarded with advice…,” the Substitute Secretary of State, Angelo Becciu, said in an interview with Vatican newspaperL’Osservatore Romano. The interview clears up speculations made over the past weeks about reforms in the Roman Curia and the Vatican bank (IOR), after the Pope put together a commission of eight cardinals to advise him in matters of leadership of the universal Church and to look into a reform plan for the Curia.

As far as the balance of power is concerned, as well as the idea of appointing moderators, coordinators and “economy super ministries”, Becciu said: “It is indeed quite strange: the Pope hasn’t even met his chosen group of advisors yet and advice is already pouring in. I have spoken to the Holy Father and I can say that it is far too early to be making any assumptions about the future structure of the Curia. Pope Francis is listening to what everyone has to say, but above all he will want to hear what his chosen group of advisors has to say. Then a reform plan will be drawn up…”

Speaking about the IOR, the Vatican Secretary of State said: “The Pope was surprised to hear that phrases he had never pronounced being attributed to him. Phrases that misinterpret his message. The only time he referred [to the IOR] was during a brief homily which he gave off-the-cuff in Saint Martha’s House, stressing in a passionate way that the Church is essentially a love story between man and God and that man-made structures like the IOR are less important. The Pope mentioned the IOR – in the presence of the bank’s staff who were attending the mass – purely because he wanted to stress the importance of not losing sight of the real essence of the Church.”

In terms of the potential reorganisation of the dicasteries, Becciu explained: “I can’t predict the time frame. The Pope has asked all heads of dicasteries to continue their service but has not confirmed any positions for the time being. The same goes for the members of Congregations and Pontifical Councils: the round of appointments and confirmed positions that usually comes when dicastery leaders’ five year mandates are up, has been suspended for now. Everyone is staying put for the moment donec aliter provideatur (until otherwise provided). This shows the Pope’s willingness to take the time he needs to reflect – and let us not forget, pray – in order to get a more complete picture of the situation.”

The archbishop said the Pope’s decision to set up a commission of cardinals does not call the Pope’s primacy into question (or bruise the papacy), as has been suggested by certain traditionalist circles: “This is a consultational, not a decision-making body and I really don’t see how Pope Francis’ choice could cause people to doubt his primacy. This is, nevertheless, a very important choice, which sends out a very clear message about the way in which the Pope intends to carry out his ministry. Let’s not forget that the number one task the eight cardinals have been assigned with is to assist the Pope in governing the universal Church. I wouldn’t want people’s curiosity about the Roman Curia’s rules and structures to overshadow the immense significance of Pope Francis’ gesture.”

Becciu added that the expression “to advise” is not a vague one: “On the contrary, advising is an important action which takes on a theological dimension within the Church and is expressed in many different ways. For example, think of the various bodies that foster participation in dioceses and parishes, or the councils of provincial and general superiors, in the institutes of consecrated life. The purpose of advising needs to be seen in a theological context: looking at it from a worldly point of view, one would say that a council with no power of deliberation is useless, but that would make the Church equivalent to a company. Theologically, the act of advising is of key importance: it involves assisting one’s superior in identifying and understanding what it is the Holy Spirit is asking of the Church at a given moment in time. Without it, it would be impossible to grasp the real meaning of Church government.”

The Substitute’s statement comes after weeks of talk about reforms, mergers, streamlining, restructuring and even the creation of new positions such as the so-called “moderator curiae” proposed by Cardinal Coccopalmerio. But all these are, are suggestions, not actual plans that are being studied. The real work is only just about to begin. The Pope himself has been consulting and meeting with a number of people to get a clearer idea of the problems within the Curia machine. For the moment the Pope is listening rather than talking. He is looking for information rather than giving orders. So much of what is being said about real or presumed decisions taken and about documents currently under study that describe discussions which have taken place during audiences, is based on hopeful thinking rather than on anything Pope Francis


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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One Response to Curia reform: Pope Francis is bowled over by an avalanche of unrequested advice

  1. Jimmie Ferriera says:

    One misfit amongst the eight – Oswald Gracias.

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