Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals are laying out plans to completely overhaul the Roman Curia, underlining its role of 'service to the universal church and the local churches,' the Vatican spokesman said, reports the Catholic News Service.
As the Pope and the eight cardinals he named to advise him were about to begin the final session of their October 1-3 meeting, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the role and responsibilities of the Vatican Secretary of State, the revamping of the world Synod of Bishops, and the Vatican's attention to the role and responsibility of laity also were major themes of discussion.
Fr Lombardi said the group's agenda was partially dictated by the pope's own timetable. Pope Francis has named Archbishop Pietro Parolin to be his secretary of state and has given him an October 15 start date, so it made sense to discuss how the pope and cardinals see his role in a renewed curia.
Under the terms of Blessed John Paul II's constitution Pastor Bonus, a 1988 reform of the curia, the Secretariat of State includes two sections: One section deals with foreign relations and the other deals with internal church matters. Pastor Bonus, said the secretariat was to 'foster relations' with other Curia offices and 'coordinate their work.'
Fr Lombardi said the pope and the cardinals emphasized the role of the Secretariat of State as "the secretariat of the pope," and said the discussions included "the hypothesis of a new figure - the 'moderator of the curia'' to ensure greater communication and cooperation among the Curia offices.
The discussions, Fr Lombardi said, are going clearly in the direction of an apostolic constitution to replace Pastor Bonus, and not simply 'cosmetic retouches or marginal modifications' of the 1988 document.
Francis orders overhaul of Curia (The Tablet)