The seventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals (C9) concluded yesterday evening. The cardinals’ three-day meeting, which began on the morning of 9 December, was mostly dedicated to three themes: the reform of the Curia, the composition of the Commission for the Protection of Minors and the reorganization of the economic organs of the Holy See. As usual, Pope Francis participated in all meetings aside from the Wednesday morning session, due to his weekly general audience.
With regard to reform of the Roman Curia, alongside general observations on the criteria that must guide this task, the Cardinals also addressed the specific question of the reorganization of the Pontifical Councils that work in relation to the laity, the family, justice, peace and charity. However, no formal decision was reached; the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., remarked that reform will take a long and gradual process.
The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which currently has eight members and a secretary, is to be enlarged with the addition of representatives from various ecclesial and cultural contexts around the world, reaching a total of around eighteen members. The candidates have been selected and their availability to participate is currently in the process of being verified. From 6 to 8 February 2015 the Commission will hold its plenary session and it is expected that all members will be confirmed by that date, enabling it to define its field of action and activities.
Professor Joseph Zahra, the lay deputy coordinator of the Council for the Economy, reported to the Cardinals on the matter of the reorganization of the economic dicasteries. Although no specific decisions were made, the importance of continuing good coordination between the Council for the Economy and the C9 was emphasized. It is hoped that another meeting of the Council for the Economy will take place before the next C9 meeting, to allow an overview of the reform process to be presented at the latter event.
The next plenary session of the C9 will be held from 9 to 11 February 2015, immediately before the Consistory convoked on the 12 and 13 of the same month, at which its work and proposals will be presented. Finally, it was announced yesterday that a consistory for the creation of new cardinals will be held on 14 and 15 February.