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Pope Begins Talks on Church Reform

In this picture provided Oct. 1, 2013 by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis sits with his so-called "Group of Eight" cardinals, during their first meeting at the Vatican.
Pope Francis has opened a landmark meeting on reforming the Catholic Church.

The pontiff is holding three days of consultations with eight cardinals he has appointed to advise him on revising the Vatican administration and worldwide Church reforms.

The eight-member council is made up of cardinals from the Americas, Africa, Australia and Europe.

As the talks began Tuesday, Rome's La Repubblica newspaper published an interview with Pope Francis in which he denounced what he called the "Vatican-centric" nature of the church's administration.

The pontiff said too many previous popes have been "narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers." He said that many of the "courtiers" inside the Vatican administration only look after Vatican interests, neglecting, in his words, "the world around us."

The pope said the Church must "restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love."

Also Tuesday, the Vatican bank published an annual report for the first time in its history. The bank's former top managers resigned in July after Italian prosecutors launched an investigation into alleged money laundering, a charge the Vatican denies. That investigation is ongoing.

Along with allegations of corruption and internal conflict, the Catholic Church has been undermined by revelations of a history of sexual abuse by priests.