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Vatican Finances, Role of Women, and Decentralization Among Main Topics at Consistory of Cardinals

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA
Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals
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Pope Benedict XVI to attend creation of new cardinals on Saturday

(Vatican Radio)  The decentralization of the Curia, the role of women and the ongoing economic and administrative reforms were among the chief topics discussed by the cardinals at the Consistory on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office stated Friday. 

Father Lombardi’s remarks came at a press briefing on day-2 of the cardinals’ discussions on reform of the Roman Curia. 

Speaking to journalists, Father Lombardi said the discussions at the Extraordinary Consistory have proceeded in a “very calm and constructive” atmosphere and the last 24 hours had seen speeches by 40 cardinals on a broad range of topics. He confirmed that Pope Francis was present during the sessions but did not speak himself. 

Father Lombardi reported one of the recurring themes of the discussions was the relationship between the Roman Curia and the local Bishops Conferences, and how to decentralize the Curia “in a spirit of subsidiarity.”  In this context, he said speakers spoke of the need to decide which responsibilities should be handled by the Curia and which by the local Church but also of how the central role of the Curia is important in countries where the local churches are in “a situation of weakness.”

Turning to the role of lay people and women within the Vatican, Father Lombardi said a number of speakers expressed the hope of their taking “an increasingly active role”, especially when it comes to the issue of women holding positions of leadership within the Roman Curia.  

Friday morning’s session was entirely given over to a wide-ranging discussion on the ongoing economic reforms being carried out by the newly-formed Secretariat for the Economy. Cardinal George Pell, the Secretariat’s head, and three other speakers presented the current status of the Vatican’s finances. Father Lombardi said many of those present expressed appreciation for the new shape of the Holy See’s finances that is emerging thanks to these reforms. He said this reform process comes across as a fairly “convincing” one that is earning praise for its “transparency and competency.” Lombardi also reported that the afternoon’s session was scheduled to include a presentation by U.S. Cardinal Patrick O’Malley reporting on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. 

Following the briefing, Father Lombardi confirmed that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be among those attending this weekend’s Ordinary Consistory during which 20 prelates will be created cardinals.  

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