Thursday, March 7, 2013

Curia is in the firing line. Bertone stresses importance of cardinal secrecy during pre-Conclave Meetings

Vatican City, - Cardinals are calling for stronger communication between the Pope and his “ministers” and between the Church headquarters in Rome and the local Churches
After asking for more information on the Vatileaks affair, cardinals are calling for reforms in the Curia. There needs to be better communication between the Pope and his “ministers”, improved coordination between dicasteries and stronger links between the central Church in Rome and the local Churches. These were some of the issues discussed during the third General Congregation session yesterday morning. The Conclave start date is still to be decided and a number of cardinals have asked for the discussion phase to be extended to the beginning of next week. They are eager to get to know each other, to examine the state of the Church across the world and to find out what the state of affairs within the Roman Curia is, given the various scandals it has recently been at the centre of.

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts gave a speech on the last of these issues. The Milanese cardinal spoke of the need for better communication between the Pope and dicastery leaders: there needs to be constant contact and exchanges with the Pope. Once upon a time, the Pope used to hold pre-scheduled audiences throughout the year, not just with prefects of Congregations, but also with secretaries; so even deputies had contact with the Pope and could get a first hand idea of the problems the Church was facing, helping them in their decision-making.

In recent decades, the number of pre-scheduled audiences has been reduced and were only attended by some heads of dicasteries such as prefects of bishops and of the former Holy Office. The Secretariat of State has increasingly acted as a buffer: recently one dicastery leader/cardinal had to wait several months before he was able to meet with the Pope.

Cardinal Cocopalmerio therefore spoke of the need for an improved coordination and exchange of information within the Curia itself, between the various “ministries”. The cardinal also touched on the subject of relations between the Holy See in Rome and the Episcopal Conferences across the world: he emphasised that it is important for more consideration to be given to the needs of local Churches. Finally, Coccopalmerio said it was high time the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus was updated. This was the document with which John Paul II reformed the Curia in 1988.The cardinal did not go into the details but many now agree that streamlining and rationalisation are crucial.


Vatican Insider

Andrea Tornielli