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Pope Francis checks up on Vatican civil service reform


Pope Francis checks up on Vatican civil service reform


We speak to Sébastien Maillard, Vatican correspondent for the French newspaper la Croix, about the latest organisational reforms in the Roman Catholic Church civil service, the Curia.

Fabien Farge, euronews: “It’s been a busy week in the Vatican, two years after Pope Benedict’s shock abdication. His successor, Pope Francis, launched ambitious reforms of the Catholic Curia. Sébastien, where are we with this famous reform of the Curia, and why change it?”

Sébastien Maillard: “Before the Conclave at which Pope Francis was elected almost two years ago, in March 2013, all the cardinals assembled and agreed it was high time to tackle this reform. The pope has waited for real movement on it before reconvening the cardinals. At this stage, in the past few days, he’s been consulting them for advice about the reform they asked for, a sort of mandate they entrusted to him after his election.”

euronews: “That mandate is already under way. There has already been a reshaping of the economic and financial services, even a secretariat for the economy.”

Maillard: “That was accomplished in the first phase, created almost a year ago, an economic secretariat entrusted to Australian Cardinal Georges Pell, including an economic council with equal responsibilities, and secular members on an equal footing with cardinals. A great novelty then, a real step forward was taken with the creation of this institution to supervise all the Vatican’s financial channels, because there was an urgent need to plug the gaps.”

euronews: “But the going gets tough from here on in, no? There’s obvious resistance, even opposition?”

Maillard: “All those who direct a congregation or a pontifical council were warned about the reform on the 24th November, and could offer their point of view. The aim of the game, what the pope wanted to do with this Consistory was not to go ahead all alone in a corner. At the same time, again, everybody considered this reform of the Curia necessary. Basically, no one contests it. We don’t have the sort of resistance there could have been and that there still is concerning the Synod on the family, which is a whole other subject.”

euronews: “Pope Francis often talks about peripheral forces of the Church. What does that mean, especially for choosing new cardinals?”

Maillard: “Peripheral forces means that the Church isn’t only governed from the centre. The Roman Curia exists to serve the whole Universal Church. What’s more, the C9 the pope created — the nine cardinals around him — come from all the five continents. The goal of the pope’s governance today is to involve the whole Church. It’s true that there still are 57 European cardinals out of the total of 115 electors, but there are many more from Asia now, and Latin America, North America and Africa, and that simply reflects the reality of today’s Catholic world.”

euronews: “The Catholic World — Pope Francis moves it, often preaches to it… why this more direct tone?”

Maillard: “It’s in his nature. It’s really his way to stir things up, and that was also the goal of electing him, as a way to reform the Church, not just to reorganise its structures, the departments. Drawing a new organisational structure also imposes a new tone. We really saw that in October at the Synod of Bishops on the family, where he said, ‘speak out freely, openly.’ Some said that was the first time there’d been a real Synod, with free expression. So, the pope in a way is also coming back to the evangelical style. It’s also his way to be a missionary.”

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