The Council of Cardinals at Work

May 03, 2017

The 19th session of the Council of  Cardinals, or “C9”, charged with helping Pope Francis with the government of the Church and the reform of the Roman Curia, came to a close on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

On the agenda for the meeting of the Sovereign Pontiff’s “inner circle” held on April 26: overseeing the budget year, the selection and formation of the personnel working with the Secretary of State and the protection of minors.

The Council of Cardinals is presently composed of nine members:

  • Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
  • Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago de Chile
  • Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay
  • Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising
  • Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa
  • Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston
  • George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
  • Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa
  • Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State

Ever since his election on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis has been taking on projects at a steady pace with the help of the “C9”: the reform of the Curia with a focus on decentralization; the profiles of future bishops; consolidation of  the Holy See’s finances; the role of the Secretariate of State, the dominant dicastery in the Curia.

These reforms do nothing to distract from the tense debates on the family, on the highly-contested opening towards the “divorced and remarried”, or on the unconditional welcoming of immigrants: did the Holy Father not bring back twelve Muslim refugees from a trip to the island of Lesbos, in April 2016? That media sensation  met with much incomprehension, especially considering the abandoned state of so many eastern Christians.

We recall how Pope Francis did not hesitate to confront the cardinals of his curia. As early as December 2014, during his Christmas greeting, the pope drew up a list of the faults he attributed to those in command of the Church: careerism, worldliness, rivalries, a taste for gossip, going so far as to denounce a certain “spiritual Alzheimer's”.

This sort of indictment of his close collaborators  illustrates both Francis’ own personal style and the difficulty of governing the Church in these times of crisis.

The Holy Father will preside over another meeting of the Council of Cardinals from June 12 to 14, 2017.

Sources: la Croix/ - 05/03/17