Pope Francis has released the three eldest cardinals from the duties of the Council of Cardinals advisory group, including Cardinal George Pell, with no immediate plans to add new members. Source: CNA.
Papal spokesman Greg Burke told journalists in a briefing yesterday that the Pope sent letters to Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo at the end of October to thank them for their service to the Council of Cardinals, known as the C9, over the last five years.
Francis sent the letters following a request in October from the council – which advises the Pope on matters of Church governance and reform – for a review of the work, structure, and composition of the advisory group, especially in light of the advanced age of some members.
However, the Vatican stated that, “considering the phase of the Council’s work, the appointment of new members is not expected at the moment.”
Over the course of the meetings, Bishop Marco Mellino, who last October was made adjunct secretary of the Council of Cardinals, presented the most recent draft of the new apostolic constitution of the Roman Curia.
Mr Burke said that canon lawyers are still examining the constitution, which is provisionally titled Predicate evangelium.
The other main topics of discussion during the December 10-12 meetings were the February 2019 meeting of bishops on child protection and how to reduce the Holy See’s operating costs.
Asked if, for transparency, the Holy See would be releasing any budgetary information and numbers, Mr Burke said, “yes,” though he does not know when that will take place.
Toward lowering costs, the Vatican will take several actions, including more strongly enforcing a hiring freeze that has been in place since 2014. There are currently no plans to reduce personnel, though a reshuffle and re-outlining of job responsibilities is expected, as well as the possibility of offering early retirement.
The next gathering of the council will take place in February.
Council of Cardinal Advisors wrap-up December meeting (Vatican News)