by Francis X. Rocca
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis met with Vatican officials Sept. 10 to hear their questions and suggestions about his ongoing reform of the Vatican bureaucracy.
The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said the meeting lasted nearly three hours and, except for a brief greeting by the pope, was devoted to remarks by the other participants.
About 30 people attended, almost all of them heads of the major Vatican offices, joined by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State, and Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome. Also present was Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the College of Cardinals.
Father Lombardi declined to comment on the content of the discussions but described the meeting as an opportunity for the pope to hear the “considerations and advice” of his closest collaborators in Rome, as part of the reform process recommended by the cardinals who elected Pope Francis.
That reform process “will soon have another important moment with the reunion of the Group of Eight cardinals” Oct. 1-3, Father Lombardi noted.
Pope Francis established the so-called G-8, which includes Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley and Sydney Cardinal George Pell, in April, giving it a mandate to advise him in the “government of the universal church” and his reform of the Roman Curia, the Church’s central administration at the Vatican.
Pope Francis has said that the cardinals who elected him called for the pope to consult more with other bishops on matters of governance, including reform of Vatican finances. The pope has also acknowledged the indications of corruption and mismanagement documented in the “VatiLeaks” of confidential correspondence in 2012.
“There are saints in the Curia,” the pope told reporters on his plane back from Rio de Janeiro July 28. “And there are some who are not so saintly, and these are the ones you tend to hear about.
“I think that the Curia has fallen somewhat from the level it once had,” he said. “The profile of the old curialist, faithful, doing his work. We need these people. I think there are some, but not as many as there once were. … We need more of them.”