(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the Council of Cardinals from 10-12 December for their twelfth meeting. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said the Holy Father was present for every session.
The Statement said during the first morning, the Council heard from Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, who gave them an in-depth look at this “important Congregation”, its activities, responsibilities, and its role in ecumenism.
During this encounter, the Council noted the importance of the Address of the Holy Father on 17 October, during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops.
In this address, the Pope developed extensively the theme of "collegiality", but also pointed out "the need to proceed with a healthy 'decentralization'." The Council underlined the need to reflect on the significance of this speech and its importance for the work of the reform of the Curia, and decided to dedicate a specific session to this subject during the next meeting in February 2016.
The Council then returned to work on two new departments, which had previously been discussed on numerous occasions.
The Department dedicated to "Laity and family life" – the establishment of which Pope Francis announced during the Synod (October 22) - was the subject of a detailed proposal by the Council to the Holy Father. The proposal is now awaiting the final decision of the Holy Father.
The Department dedicated to "Justice, Peace and Migration" was subject to further considerations, in anticipation of creating the final proposal, which will then be given to the Pope.
On Friday, the Council heard two reports on the reform of the economic structures of the Vatican, which were given by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the Council of Economy, and Cardinal George Pell, Prefect for the Secretariat of Economy. The two Cardinals reported on the activities and achievements of the two institutions.
In the course of his presentation, Cardinal Marx discussed the choice of an external auditor for the consolidated financial statements of the Vatican, PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”). Cardinal Pell gave information about the establishment of a working group to reflect on the future of the economic issues of the Holy See and the Vatican City State, including its present state, and the control of expenditure and revenue.
The working group, which has just begun work and had its first meeting, includes representatives of the Secretariat of Economy, Secretariat of State, the Governorate of the Vatican City State, APSA, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Secretariat for Communications and the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).
The Council of Cardinals recognized the importance of the work done by the Council for the Economy and the and Secretariat for the Economy, and encouraged the continuation of their efforts.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley also reported on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and its different working groups, such as the development of programs for education and training; assistance to Episcopal Conferences for the drafting of guidelines at the local level; and other areas.
On Saturday, the Council established the calendar of future meetings, as well as the agenda for the first meeting in February.
The meetings in 2016 will take place on the following dates:
8 - 9 February