Is it just me? I’m amazed lately by all of the reports coming out of Rome regarding new commissions and councils, and the heavy load they’re carrying. I know this is the Internet age and news is communicated quickly–but it certainly seems that Pope Francis has things rocking in the Eternal City!
THE COUNCIL OF CARDINALS
A statement has just been released, upon the conclusion of three days of meetings by the Council of Eight, the Cardinals (including our own Cardinal O’Malley of Boston) who were appointed by Pope Francis to reconsider the organization of the Vatican Curia. According to the Vatican Information Service, the Council of Cardinals has completed its first review of the Pontifical Councils.
On Wednesday afternoon, they met with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who reported on the preparation of the upcoming Synod.
Part of their time was dedicated to the planning of the work which must be completed between this meeting and the next one, scheduled for the first days of July.
The Council of Cardinals was appointed early in Pope Francis’ pontificate, and the Cardinals serve as advisors to the Pope on matters of Church governance and reform of the Roman Curia.
COUNCIL FOR THE ECONOMY
The newly instituted Council for the Economy will meet for the first time on Friday, May 2, in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace.
The Holy Father will open their meeting with an introductory greeting. Then, continuing through the day, the Council will focus on the Statutes of the Council itself and the planning of its work.
The Council for the Economy is a new body which falls under the newly created Secretariat for the Economy, headed by Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell. In announcing that new Secretariat, the Vatican reported that Cardinal Pell would have “authority of all the economic and administrative activity within the Holy See and the Vatican City State.” The Secretariat will have responsibility for preparation of an annual budget for the Vatican and the Holy See, financial planning, and various support functions.
The Vatican statement concerning the reorganization explains,
“The modifications allow more explicit involvement of high-level experts of experience in financial management, planning and reporting. They will ensure a better use of resources, improving the support available for various programs, particularly those aimed at working with the poor and marginalized.”
COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS
The new Commission for the Protection of Minors will meet on Thursday-Saturday, May 1-3, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Holy Father resides. The Council was announced in December by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who will serve as its head. It’s tasked with advising the Holy Father about the protection of children and the pastoral care for victims of abuse. Cardinal O’Malley explained,
“Among the responsibilities of the commission will be to study the present programs in place for protection of children and to come up with suggestions or new initiatives on the part of the curia in collaboration with the bishops and the episcopal conferences.”
The Commission is composed of “international experts” in various fields regarding the protection of minors, including that of psychology.
When the Commission meets this week, they will be greeted first by the Holy Father; then, they will begin their work by reflecting on the nature and scope of its tasks, as well as its integration with members representing different geographical areas worldwide.