Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pope Francis Calls for Decentralization of Catholic Church

Pope Francis delivers his speech during a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Synod of Bishops, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.

Pope Francis has called for a "healthy decentralization" of power in the Catholic Church, including a greater role for the laity, more decision-making authority for bishops' conferences and even changes in the papacy.

Frances made his comments Saturday during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, which meets occasionally and advises the pope on various issues.

Francis said it is "necessary and urgent to think about a conversion of the papacy," a possibility that was first addressed by the late Pope John Paul II in 1995. He did not explain what kind of changes he has in mind.

Also on Saturday, the Vatican published the itinerary for Francis’ visits to Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic next month.

Pope Francis is expected to meet slum dwellers and refugees and call for dialogue between Christians and Muslims during his tour in the African continent.

Since his election as the first Latin American pope, Francis has met with the poor and the needy on each of his 10 foreign tours.