News / Europe

Vatican Administration Needs Total Overhaul, Cardinals Tell Pope

Pope Francis waves as he leaves after leading the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Oct. 2, 2013.
Pope Francis waves as he leaves after leading the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Oct. 2, 2013.
Reuters
Cardinals advising Pope Francis on how to reform the Vatican believe the Holy See's central government is so problem-ridden that only a total overhaul can fix it, the Vatican said on Thursday.

The unusually stark acknowledgement came on the third and final day of closed-door meetings between the pope and eight cardinals from around the world who are discussing the Vatican's troubled administration and mapping out possible changes in the worldwide Church.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the cardinals no longer were considering adjustments or changes to a 1998 constitution on the workings of the Vatican's various departments, known as “Pastor Bonus” [Good Shepherd].

"[The cardinals] are leaning toward a constitution with very significant new elements; in short, a new constitution," Lombardi told reporters at a briefing.

The Vatican's central administration, known as the Curia, has been accused of being dysfunctional and riven with infighting and was largely blamed for many of the mishaps and scandals that plagued the papacy of Benedict XVI, who resigned in February.

Bishops around the world have deemed it heavy-handed, autocratic, condescending and overly bureaucratic, and some say it sometimes seemed to have taken on the trappings and intrigue of a Renaissance court.

Francis said in an interview published Tuesday in an Italian newspaper that one main problem of the Curia was that it was too focused on its own interests and too inward looking. He said a court atmosphere where Vatican officials act like “courtiers” was “the leprosy of the papacy."

New style

Francis has brought a new style of openness, consultation and simplicity to the Vatican. He has shunned the spacious papal apartment and lives in small quarters in a guest house.

He announced the papal advisory board of cardinals, a revolutionary step for a Church steeped in hierarchical tradition, a mere month after his election as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years and the first from Latin America.

His decision to take advice from the cardinals - from Italy, Chile, India, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, Australia and Honduras - is a clear sign that he intends to take seriously calls from within the Church to decentralize a traditionally top-heavy institution.

Before resigning, Benedict left a secret report for Francis on the problems of the Curia, which were exposed when sensitive documents alleging corruption were stolen from Benedict's desk by his butler and leaked to the media.

There have been suggestions that some Vatican departments should be merged and others closed in order to make the Curia more efficient and to prevent corruption.

However, writing a new Vatican constitution to replace "Pastor Bonus," which runs to nine sections, 193 articles and two appendices, will be a major task, and Lombardi said it was unclear how long it would take.

The spokesman said the cardinals felt the role of the Curia should be to serve the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church "rather than the exercise of centralized power."

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid