(Rome) The Summit curial reform approaches. Yet Pope Francis continues in his usual manner, "as he persecuted the good and promoted the bad in some cases" says the Vatican expert Sandro Magister. At the same time, the Pope gave the ecclesiastical courts worldwide statements that have put things in a new direction with respect to marriage bond resolution.
The Reform of the Curia, Which Holds Little Interest to the Pope
From the 9th-11th February the ninth meeting of the C9 Cardinal Council convened. After the meeting on the 13th and 14th of February there will follow a regular Cardinal Consistory, which will deal with the work and proposals of the C9 Council.
Eleven months ago Pope Francis and the Cardinal Consistory remained behind closed doors in order to confront the issue of the family. The new family agenda was presented by Cardinal Walter Kasper. (By papal order) This after two days of heated verbal exchanges. Much of the Cardinals felt almost overwhelmed. The conflict was continued at the Synod of Bishops in the fall of 2014.
Next month, Pope Francis will call the Cardinals together for the second ordinary consistory of his pontificate. This time, instead of the family, curial reform is on the agenda and will renew again, albeit at a different level, a, expectedly bitter conflict behind closed doors.
A month after his election Pope Francis established an eight member Council of Cardinal advisors on 13 April 2013 that he wanted to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and in the management of the universal Church. Since the appointment of a new Cardinal Secretary of State, the Council was expanded to nine members. Since then the Council of Cardinal Advisers has been convened eight times for three days. Pope Francis was always present, except for the period of the mid-week general audiences.
Not All Proposals "Presentable"
Since then, many reform ideas are on the table, which are mutually exclusive in part. There are at least as many as the C9 Council of Cardinal Advisers has members. Some of them are not only contradictory but "not presentable," says Magister. The latter include the idea that different institutions and tribunals of the Vatican judiciary, including the Apostolic Penitentiary, could be formed into a new Law Dicastry. Thus, the separation of powers would be overriden in a serious way.
Pope Francis has not yet commented on the reform plans. For now, he seems to have the C8 and presently C9 at work, promoting a new collegiality. As a form of occupational therapy? The Pope was already known last year that he did not intend by 2016 to address the specific reforms. After his election, he established the Council, but has since ruled as a Jesuit Father General. He alone decides when and what he wants. Whatever comes to mind, he goes on, collegiality or no.
Christmas Slap in Curia
When Francis on December 22, invited the Roman Curia to the Christmas reception, he administered a tangible slap to his closest associates instead of Christmas wishes. He threw their "diseases" publicly in their faces. Fifteen pathologies the Pope said his staff suffered. "One meaner than the other," says Magister. Comparing the papal diagnosis with the papal decisions about layoffs or promotion in office, one can only marvel.
The best known of the disempowered ones is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. Among the Vaticanistas there are different public assessments, so Burke's attitude to leaving is dependent on the Vaticanist's understanding, or the Vaticanist's inclination to Pope Francis. However, all agree that this is a snubbing in the practice of the Holy See, an affront to the individual opinions. The eminent canonist whose competence and moral straightness is respectfully acknowledged even by his opponents, was deported to a meaningless position in the leadership of the Church as the patron of an ornamental guard of honor.