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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid