Cardinal chair of Curia reform says old structure is over

by Thomas Reese

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The chair of the committee of cardinals charged with reforming the Vatican Curia said the current system is over and it is time for something different. As a result, the reform will not come quickly but will require "long discussion and long discernment."

Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga responded to questions about the curial reform process in a wide-ranging interview with Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt and Light Television in Canada earlier this week. Rodríguez is chair of the committee of eight cardinals who were appointed by Pope Francis to advise him on reforming the Curia. The cardinals will meet in Rome for the first time Tuesday through Thursday.

Rodríguez also revealed that within four days of his election, the pope had already decided on Archbishop Pietro Parolin as his Secretary of State even though the announcement did not come until the end of August.

Rodríguez said his committee has received suggestions from all over the world, including 80 pages of suggestions from Latin American alone. "We have put them together around the main themes," he reports. "There is convergence in many of the main subjects so we can say that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not ours. You cannot have millions of Catholics in the world suggesting the same unless the Holy Spirit is inspiring."

It is going to be a long process of discussion and discernment because "It is not just taking the constitution Pastor Bonus and trying to change this and that," referring to the 1988 papal constitution governing the organization of the Roman Curia. "No, that constitution is over," he said. "Now it is something different. We need to write something different."

[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a senior analyst for NCR. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ.]

For more on the upcoming meeting of the committee of cardinals, see:

John Allen, "Cardinals' summit shapes up as potential turning point"

Thomas Reese, "Hopes for church reform rest on Pope Francis' gang of eight"

Michael Sean Winters, "The G-8 Cardinals Gather & The Most Important Reform"

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