Vatican: Cardinals' meeting next week to focus on curial reform

Vatican City — A two-day meeting in Rome next week of the world's Catholic cardinals will focus mainly on discussing reform of the church's central bureaucracy, the Vatican spokesman said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters briefly on a number of topics, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi also said there was no other theme for the meeting, called by Pope Francis for Feb. 12-13.

The meeting, known as a consistory, is expected to see hundreds of the church prelates gather in Rome before Francis formally names 20 new cardinals in a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 14.

The pontiff has embarked on a program of reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, known as the Roman Curia. He has been soliciting advice for the reform from a group of nine prelates he has appointed to a special group called the Council of Cardinals.

That group, which includes Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, is to meet at the Vatican Feb. 9-11, just before the full cardinals' meeting.

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While it remains unclear just where the Cardinals' council is in presenting a new organizational structure of the Vatican, Lombardi's announcement that the full group of cardinals will be discussing reform seems to indicate Francis may be fairly close to developing some sort of program to go forward and is seeking input.

The last full meeting of the world's cardinals, held at the Vatican in February 2014, had as its central theme the church's family pastoral practices, the subject of two global meetings of Catholic bishops Francis has called for 2014 and 2015.

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


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