In Fr. Lombardi's words, the extraordinary consistory was "the first time so many cardinals together have been briefed on such progress."
Many cardinals asked questions of the speakers. According to the Holy See Press Office director, "cardinals expressed their appreciation for the reorganization work that has taken place and their conviction that this constitutes a convincing reform that prioritizes transparency, integrity and competence."
Cardinals also inquired about the competences of various bodies and the relations between the Holy See and Vatican City State.
According to a Vatican source, these clarifications are needed because "the statutes of the new bodies are being drafted." The source added that one plan is to join the balance sheets of the Vatican City State and the Holy See, both of which are separate at present.
Everything is still in discussion, and Fr. Lombardi has said that no decision will be made.
According to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, "once the economic reform has its grounds, it will work by itself."
He said the Council of Cardinals has sought to find "a comprehensive way to foster the Curia reform."
The cardinals identified a possible merging of pontifical councils
Archbishop Semeraro added that "this merging is not only due to pragmatic reasons, but it also has theological grounds."
According to Fr. Lombardi, cardinals widely discussed the project of Curia reform. During the Feb. 12 afternoon session, 28 cardinals took the floor, including the Cardinal-designate Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.
Most of the intervention focused on the relationship between the Curia and the local Churches, spoke of "decentralization", and some of them also introduced the theme of 'subsidiarity'.
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Fr. Lombardi recounted that cardinals also spoke about the usefulness and importance of the central service of the Holy See. They bore in mind experiences in various countries where the local Church is weak and may be subject to pressure, and is therefore supported by the work of the Vatican.
Cardinals zeroed in on the selection of Vatican personnel, on the competencies of the Secretariat of State, and on the manner of achieving better coordination among the Curia body. Almost all of the intervention emphasized the need for a simplification.
Fr. Lombardi also said that "other interventions focused on the positive elements of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus,' which must not be lost from view; therefore, the reform process must ensure distinct continuity with this document, especially from an ecclesiological point of view."
Andrea Gagliarducci is an Italian journalist for Catholic News Agency and Vatican analyst for ACI Stampa. He is a contributor to the National Catholic Register.