VATICAN CITY (CNS): Cardinal George Pell of Sydney will serve on an international panel of cardinals to advise Pope Francis on the latest reform of the Holy See bureaucracy.
The Pope selected the panel 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 the Pope had established the group to “advise 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 Sydney archdiocese’s website reports comments made by Cardinal Pell, on April 14, before leaving for Rome on a pre-arranged visit.
He said he was looking forward to whatever contribution he could make but agreed he was sure the Holy Father would be working towards “a better discipline”.
“There has been a spot of bother as we know in the Vatican, with the butler leaking the papers and other allegations,” he said.
“Most of the people working in the Curia are very, very fine people, but there were one or two mishaps.
“I am sure people would want and expect that we should do better.”
Pastor Bonus, published in 1988, was the last major set of changes in the Roman Curia, the Church’s central administration at the Vatican.
It was 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” of confidential correspondence providing evidence of corruption and mismanagement in various offices of the Holy See and Vatican City State.
That affair prompted a detailed internal report, which Pope Ben-edict XVI designated exclusively for the eyes of his successor.
The College of Cardinals extensively discussed the problems in meetings preceding the conclave that elected Pope Francis last month.
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: Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State. All of the others serve as diocesan bishops.
The group’s co-ordinator is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, who is also president of Caritas Internationalis, a Vatican-based umbrella organisation for national Catholic charities around the globe.
The other members with Cardinal Pell are Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, retired Archbishop of Santiago, Chile; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, India; Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, United States.
They will meet for the first time on October 1-3, the Vatican statement said, but are “currently in contact” with Pope Francis.
The Holy See – whose major organs consist of the Secretariat of State, nine congregations, 12 councils and three tribunals – employed 2832 employees as of the end of 2011. Its financial statements for 2011 showed a deficit equivalent to about $19.4 million at current exchange rates.