Meeting for the third time since its institution, the council of eight cardinals has reconvened in Rome to address the economic affairs of the Holy See, and will continue their discussions over the next three days.
The council, chosen by Pope Francis to advise him on matters of church governance and curia reform, will be meeting Feb. 17 – 19, following an initial meeting in October, and a second in December.
During a Feb. 17 press briefing for journalists, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi stated that as in previous meetings, “the Cardinals initiated their work with a Holy Mass concelebrated this morning at 7 a.m. in the Sanctae Marthae chapel, after which they began their meetings in a nearby room.”
Noting that Secretary of State and soon-to-be cardinal Pietro Parolin was present, Fr. Lombardi explained that this morning was “dedicated to hearing the representatives of the Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA).”
Highlighting how only three members of the commission were present, the spokesman observed that they presented to the council the work which has been “carried out during the eight months since the creation of this body was presented,” however “no decision was made.”
“Following the meeting, the cardinals dined together with Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and this afternoon they will continue their meeting, but without the attendance of the COSEA representatives,” Fr. Lombardi continued.
Giving the schedule for the rest of the week, the spokesman revealed that tomorrow the cardinals will hear reports from the Commission for Reference on the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank.
On Wednesday, he explained that the Pope will attend his weekly general audience as usual while the cardinals continue to meet, and in the afternoon “the cardinals of the so-called ‘Council of Fifteen’” will meet with “‘the Council of Eight.’”
The council of fifteen, recalled the spokesman, was “instituted by John Paul II” and is “responsible for the general consolidated financial statement of the Holy See and the Governorate of Vatican City State.”
Following the council of eight meetings, the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals, which is dedicated to the family, will meet on Thurs. Feb. 20 at 9:30 in the morning, Fr. Lombardi noted, adding that “participants will meet in the morning session from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and in the afternoon from 4:30 to 7:30.”
Concluding on Friday, Fr. Lombardi explained that “the work of the consistory will begin with a greeting from the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano,” and afterwards “there will be an address from Cardinal Walter Kasper.”
Cardinal Kasper is the former president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and will offer reflections on the theme which will be discussed by all the cardinals during the following sessions, the spokesman noted.
Fr. Lombardi also drew attention to the consistory which will be held on Sat. Feb. 22, during which Pope Francis “will create sixteen new cardinals,” who will celebrate Mass with the pontiff the next morning.
Closing his remarks, the spokesman noted that on Mon. and Tues. of next week, “a meeting of the Secretariat of the Synod and the council of fifteen will take place,” and will continue preparations for the upcoming synod of bishops.