Council of Cardinals Begins Third Set of Reform Meetings

The council, appointed by Pope Francis to advise him about Church governance and Curial reform, will meet through Wednesday.

Pope Francis prays with the members of the council of cardinals during their initial meeting Oct. 1, 2013.
Pope Francis prays with the members of the council of cardinals during their initial meeting Oct. 1, 2013. (photo: Facebook/Vatican Radio/CTV)

VATICAN CITY — Meeting for the third time since its institution, the council of eight cardinals has reconvened in Rome to address the economic affairs of the Holy See and will continue discussions over the next three days.

The council, chosen by Pope Francis to advise him on matters of Church governance and Curia reform, will be meeting Feb. 17-19, following an initial meeting in October and a second in December.

During a Feb. 17 press briefing for journalists, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi stated that, as in previous meetings, “the cardinals initiated their work with a holy Mass concelebrated this morning at 7am in the Sanctae Marthae chapel, after which they began their meetings in a nearby room.”

Noting that Secretary of State and soon-to-be cardinal Pietro Parolin was present, Father Lombardi explained that this morning was “dedicated to hearing the representatives of the Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA).”

Highlighting how only three members of the commission were present, the spokesman observed that they presented to the council the work that has been “carried out during the eight months since the creation of this body was presented”; however, “no decision was made.”

“Following the meeting, the cardinals dined together with Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the governorate of Vatican city state, and, this afternoon, they will continue their meeting, but without the attendance of the COSEA representatives,” Father Lombardi continued.

Giving the schedule for the rest of the week, the Vatican spokesman revealed that tomorrow the cardinals will hear reports from the Commission for Reference on the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank.

On Wednesday, he explained that the Pope will attend his weekly general audience as usual, while the cardinals continue to meet; and in the afternoon, “the cardinals of the so-called council of 15” will meet with “the council of eight.”

The council of 15, recalled the spokesman, was “instituted by John Paul II” and is “responsible for the general consolidated financial statement of the Holy See and the governorate of Vatican city state.”

Following the council of eight meetings, the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals, which is dedicated to the family, will meet on Feb. 20 at 9:30 in the morning, Father Lombardi noted, adding that “participants will meet in the morning session from 9:30am to 12:30pm and in the afternoon from 4:30 to 7:30.”

Concluding on Friday, Father Lombardi explained that “the work of the consistory will begin with a greeting from the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano,” and, afterwards, “there will be an address from Cardinal Walter Kasper.”

Cardinal Kasper is the former president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and he will offer reflections on the theme that will be discussed by all the cardinals during the following sessions, the spokesman noted.


Feb. 22 Consistory

Father Lombardi also drew attention to the consistory that will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22, during which Pope Francis “will create 16 new cardinals,” who will celebrate Mass with the Holy Father the next morning.

Closing his remarks, the spokesman noted that on Monday and Tuesday of next week, “a meeting of the Secretariat of the Synod and the council of 15 will take place” and will continue preparations for the upcoming Synod of Bishops.