After the conclusion of their meetings, two cardinals from Pope Francis' group of eight reveal that curia reform will largely focus on service to Pope Francis and the universal Church in its various areas.
“We want to change the look – that the curia be at the service of the Pope, and also at the service of the local Churches, the universal Church, and the episcopal conferences,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India told CNA on Oct. 7.
Cardinal Gracias was appointed by Pope Francis to be among the eight members to the council of cardinals instituted by the pontiff in April to advise him on matters regarding church reform and governance.
“The vision of the Pope is an open and merciful Church,” Cardinal Gracias said, also touching on the upcoming Synod of Bishops slated to take place in October of 2014.
“We want to make the synod a real thought from all the bishops of the world, and come to a conclusion, because the world is very distinct.”
“The languages are different and the challenges are different,” he noted, “and we want to see how we can put everything together.”
In an Oct. 9 interview with CNA, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia – also among the eight council members – spoke on the theme of the upcoming synod, “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”
“The family is a fundamental element in society, we speak of the family as the domestic church, its fundamental to the church, its fundamental to the life of society,” he stressed, “The family weakens, society weakens.”
“We believe the Christian teaching on marriage is beautiful and life-giving, and it’s worked for two thousand years and we want to be able to put together new strategies to give people hope.”
The plan for the synod at this time, he noted is to “bring together the Christian teaching and the analyses of the situation, and these go out in different parts of the world…there will be different strategies to confront that.”
Cardinal Pell also touched on the questions concerning the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus,” a document written by Bl. John Paul II which outlines the role of the Roman Curia in the Church.
He said that despite recent comments from Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi that the document would not be changed, the council is still discussing the matter at length, uniting their efforts to find the best method to execute the reform.
Throughout their meetings, Cardinal Gracias noted the strong presence of the Holy Father, emphasizing that “the Pope only listened, supported and greeted us.”
Although the council is “still in discussion,” Cardinal Gracias expressed his confidence that “The Holy Father will give us a direction, he is a good Pope that gives great hope for the Church, the world, and all of us, the bishops.”
The council of cardinals concluded their first set of meetings on Oct. 3, and will begin their next session in just under two months on Dec. 3, 2013.
Correspondent Marta Jimenez contributed to this article.