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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More