by Ethan Mack
Ever since the conclave, the pope’s top priority has been the reform of the Roman Curia, the bureaucratic body that helps the pope, which has been plagued with corruption and inefficiency for some time. Pope Francis has decided to form a formal body of eight cardinals to advise him on curial reform.
The eight members of the group are Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of from Honduras, Francisco Javier Errazuriz from Chile, Oswald Gracias from India, Reinhard Marx from Germany, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from Congo, George Pell from Australia, Giuseppe Bertello from Italy, and Boston's own Sean Patrick O'Malley. The members met in Rome for the first time earlier this month, from October 1 to October 3. The main focus of their deliberations was how the Holy Father should reform John Paul II's 1988 Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus., which was the last major curial reform document. It is widely believed that the old constitution is out of date and is in desperate need of being replaced.
Speaking about curial reform, the Holy Father outlined several goals he would like to see accomplished. A major point that he highlighted immediately following this meeting was the need for decentralization. The Holy Father stated that he believes the root cause of the inefficiency is the fact that many petitions go though Rome, when they should be addressed at a more local level instead. The Pope also said that he believed the Vatican bureaucracy had become too “Vatican-centric” and cited the need for the Vatican to be at the service of the Universal Church.
The council of Cardinals is expected to meet several more times during the next few months, after which the Holy Father is expected to submit a plan for comprehensive reform of the curia.