On Saturday, the one month anniversary of his election, Pope Francis unveiled the team of cardinals he will use to implement an overhaul of the scandal-plagued Roman Curia, the papal bureaucracy -- or Renaissance court, some say -- that has been the source of some many bad headlines for the Catholic Church.
Naming this advisory panel of eight cardinals (and one bishop) within a month is pretty speedy action for any administration, and constitutes warp speed for the Vatican. The Associated Press calls it a "bombshell announcement that indicates he (Francis) intends a major shift in how the papacy should function."
The prelates are an interesting assortment, a team of rivals, to a degree, and they include Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley (who was much discussed as a papabile in last month's conclave) plus Australian Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay.
They are a diverse group, mostly outsiders, but men who also know Rome well and want to make some serious changes. Maradiaga has the title of "coordinator" of the group, for what that's worth.
Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, is the requisite curial rep, but he is the lone Roman man and it doesn't seem that he would have many allies on this group if he wants to try to fend off reform.
Here is the statement from the Vatican press office:
The Holy Father Francis, taking up a suggestion that emerged during the General Congregations preceding the Conclave, has established a group of cardinals 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 group consists of:
- Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State;
- Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile;
- Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India;
- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany;
- Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo;
- Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, USA;
- Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia;
- Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the role of coordinator; and
- Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, in the role of secretary.
The group's first meeting has been scheduled for 1-3 October 2013. His Holiness is, however, currently in contact with the aforementioned cardinals.