- John Thavis
Pope opens cardinals' meeting, says he's determined to bring reform to Roman Curia
Updated: Feb 19, 2020
Pope Francis delivered a brief but significant talk to open a two-day meeting of cardinals, convened for a progress report on Curia reform.
At a time when the pace of the reform project is slowing and resistance has increased inside the Vatican, the pope underlined his “determination” to follow through on plans to streamline the Vatican bureaucracy, establish transparency and end the power struggles and careerism inside the Roman Curia.
He reminded his audience that two years ago, in meetings ahead of the conclave that elected him, the majority of cardinals pushed strongly for these reforms.
“The goal is to favor greater harmony in the work of the various agencies and offices, so that there is more efficient cooperation, carried out in that absolute transparency that builds true synodality and collegiality,” the pope said.
“Certainly, to reach that goal is not easy. It requires time, determination and above all the cooperation of everyone,” he said.
Pope Francis also underlined that merely structural reforms at the Vatican – which have been the focus of the work so far – are only a means to an end. That’s an important point: the pope wants to change the culture in the Curia, not just the office nameplates.
The real purpose of these reforms, he said, is to better witness the Gospel (yes, even in Vatican affairs), to make evangelization more effective, to promote an ecumenical spirit and to “encourage a more constructive dialogue with all.” In short, he wants a simpler Vatican bureaucracy so that it can better keep the faith and spread the faith.
He said that means “perfecting” the identity of the Roman Curia, which he described as helping the pope in his pastoral duties “for the good and for the service of the universal church and particular churches.”
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