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G-9 meeting: Decentralization and the new dicasteries

File picture of Pope Francis greeting cardinals - AFP

File picture of Pope Francis greeting cardinals - AFP

09/02/2016 15:36

(Vatican Radio) The latest meeting of the Council of Cardinals, Pope Francis’ closest advisers, ended on Tuesday. During their meetings, the cardinals discussed the theme of ‘synodality’ and Pope Francis’ call at last year’s Synod of Bishops for the Church to move towards “a healthy decentralization.”  The other main item on the agenda was a discussion and approval of the cardinals’ final proposals concerning the two new dicasteries that are being set up within the Roman Curia. 

Pope Francis attended all three sessions, held on Monday morning and afternoon and on Tuesday morning. Often called the G-9, the Council of Cardinals is a group of cardinals chosen by the Pope to advise him on governing the Church and reforming the Roman Curia. It meets at regular intervals. 

At a briefing following the end of this meeting, Father Federico Lombardi, the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, summarized the main issues discussed. 

Father Lombardi said the first session of the G-9 discussed the issues raised during the Pope’s keynote speech at the Synod of Bishops on October 17th 2015. This speech reflected on the theme of synodality within the Church and spoke of the need “to proceed towards a healthy decentralization” and Father Lombardi said this call by the Pope remains an importance reference point for the ongoing work of reforming the Curia. 

The next item on the G-9’s agenda was the reading and the approval of the cardinals’ final proposals concerning the two new dicasteries that are being set up as part of the reforms of the Curia. The two new dicasteries are “Laity, Family and Life” and “Justice, Peace and Migration” and the cardinals’ proposals were approved and then handed over to the Pope who will take the final decision.

Father Lombardi said the G-9 cardinals are still in the throes of discussing planned reforms for two other dicasteries: the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for Divine Worship. He defined this as still “a work in progress.”

Turning next to the work of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, Father Lombardi said the Commission’s head, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, gave an update on the commission’s activities and the proposals he has put forward for the safeguarding of children. Cardinal O’Malley said questions of a juridical and disciplinary nature will be the object of further studies by experts in this field.

As is normal at the G-9 meetings, Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the new Secretariat for the Economy updated the cardinals on the reforms being carried out concerning the economic affairs of the Holy See and the Roman Curia. 

In conclusion, the G-9 cardinals received documentation on the so-called vade mecum or reference manual drawn up by the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for putting into practice the reforms of the canonical process concerning the validity of marriages. The vade mecum will be sent to dioceses around the world. 

Listen to this report on the above by Susy Hodges:  

09/02/2016 15:36