Pope Francis appoints eight cardinals as Vatican reform body
Pope Francis has appointed a group of cardinals to advise him on how to reform the Vatican’s often arcane bureaucracy.
The Catholic Church’s new leader chose eight cardinals and a bishop who between them represent nearly every continent, and only one of whom is currently a Vatican official.
The bureaucracy, or Curia, has been blamed for the Church’s hesitant response to sex abuse and other crises.
It is nearly 50 years since the Vatican’s last major reforms.
The cardinals who elected Pope Francis last month were strongly critical about basic failings of the Curia under Pope Emeritus Benedict.
The cardinals include two Europeans (from Italy and Germany), two from Latin America (Chile and Honduras), one from the US, one from Asia (India), one African and one Australian. An Italian bishop will act as secretary.
Announcing the appointments, the Vatican said Pope Francis had got the idea of forming the advisory body from meetings ahead of his election by cardinals last month.
Pope Paul VI undertook the last major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy in 1967.
The new group is to have its first meeting on October 1-3.
Earlier this week the pontiff met personally all 300 staff members of the Vatican’s secretariat of state, the body responsible for carrying out Church policies.
Some radical reforms are expected soon, although Pope Francis is moving cautiously given the complexity and sensitivity of Church government.
Scandals have included clerical sexual abuse, financial problems at the Vatican bank and the theft of documents from Pope Benedict’s desk.