Cardinals' council formally proposes two new Vatican offices

Vatican City — The nine cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Catholic church's central bureaucracy have submitted a final proposal for the creation of two new high-level Vatican offices, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The Council of Cardinals have finalized their recommendations for a new Laity-Family-Life office and a Justice-Peace-Migrants office, said Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi.

The cardinals' group had been meeting with the pope in Rome Monday and Tuesday for the 13th of its in-person meetings. The group is advising the pontiff on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, commonly known as the Roman Curia.

The idea for two new high-level Vatican offices has been discussed for months. Lombardi said it is now up to the pope to determine what to do with the proposals.

The spokesman also mentioned that the cardinals had discussed Francis' Oct. 17 speech on the role of the Synod of Bishops, particularly the pope's words on "the need to proceed with a healthy decentralization" of church structures.

That speech, Lombardi said, "constitutes an important reference point for the work of the reform of the Curia."

The only American serving on the Council of Cardinals is Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

The Council’s remaining meetings for 2016 are set for: April 11-13, June 6-8, Sept. 12-14, and Dec. 12-14.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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