(Vatican Radio) “It is very important to preserve the prerogatives of the Successor
of St Peter, the Pope and Bishop of Rome. He decides. We are there to help and be
useful if we can, but we are nothing more than that”: these are the words of Cardinal
George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney Australia who is also a member of the select advisory
group of prelates recently created by the Holy Father.
On Monday, following a private meeting with Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell visited Vatican Radio to talk about this appointment and about his new book entitled ‘Contemplating Christ with Luke’, a series of homilies on the figure of Christ according to the Gospel of St. Luke. Emer McCarthy asked Cardinal Pell to tell us more about the group of 8 Cardinals called to advise the Pope on questions of Church governance and reform of the Roman Curia:
“I can tell you what we are not. We are not a cabinet, the Pope does not answer to us. We are not a policy making group we are not an executive group. We are there as advisors to the Holy Father. Now, how that will work I am not quite sure. It might be that he will say ‘at these meetings we will be talking about these themes, in the interim you can get yourselves organized’. Or he just my say, ‘we’ll have half a day out of the three days where you can suggest what we can talk about’.
As one of three representatives of the English speaking Church in the group, Emer McCarthy asked Cardinal Pell about the gifts and challenges facing the Universal Church in the 21st Century.
“I think the English speaking peoples we often can be quite practical, we can get things organized, we can get things done. I think we have certain gifts which we can offer to the Universal Church which might not be equaled in other places”.
“In the English speaking world we are not full of mystics. The spirit of Francis of Assisi is not nearly as strong in ex-protestantized, secularized Australia or the United States. There are a host of challenges but the central challenge I think is to the faith. How do we present the faith to young people. Hence my […] writings on the figure of Christ, because that is who we are representing. In Our Lord’s time he was able to use miracles to provoke interest. What do we do? What can we offer. Basically, the Church. Our good works, trying to show that our good works follow from our faith in Christ”.
The complete interview with the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, on the role of the eight Cardinals called by Pope Francis as a group of advisors, the secrets of his own vocation, and his new book is available as a video podcast . Listen: