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Pope calls in outsiders to advise on curia reform

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Amid rising concerns about corruption and mismanagement in the central administration of the Catholic Church, the Vatican Secretariat of State announced on April 13 that Pope Francis had established an international advisory panel of eight cardinals.

The panel is charged with advising “him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus (The Good Shepherd).” 

Published in 1988, The Good Shepherd is the last major set of changes in the Roman Curia.

It is largely an effort at streamlining by reassigning responsibilities among various offices, rather than an extensive reform. 

Complaints about the shortcomings of Vatican governance increased markedly during 2012 following the VatiLeaks affair, which brought to light evidence of corruption and mismanagement in various offices of the Holy See and Vatican City State.

The incident prompted a detailed internal report, which Pope Benedict XVI designated exclusively for the eyes of his successor. 

The College of Cardinals discussed the problems extensively during meetings preceding the conclave that elected Pope Francis. 

According to the April 13 Vatican statement, the suggestion for an advisory panel on reform arose during those meetings. 

Only one member of the new panel is a full-time Vatican official; Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, the president of the commission governing Vatican City State. All of the others are diocesan bishops. 

The group’s coordinator is Oscar Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, who is also president of Caritas Internationalis. 

The other members are Sean Cardinal O’Malley, from Boston, the United States of America; George Cardinal Pell, from Sydney, Australia; Francisco Javier Cardinal Errazuriz Ossa, retired archbishop from Santiago, Chile; Oswald Cardinal Gracias, archbishop from Mumbai, India; Reinhard Cardinal Marx, from Munich and Freising, Germany; and Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, the Congo. 

The statement says the group will meet for the first time from October 1 to 3, but its members are currently in contact with Pope Francis. 

The panel’s membership represents five continents, with the largest contingent coming from the Americas.

Three members, hail from English-speaking countries, while two are native speakers of Spanish. Only one member shares the Italian nationality of the majority of Vatican employees......

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