Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vatican Diary / Collegiality yes, democracy no

For the first time in history, eight cardinals from the five continents will advise the pope "in the governance of the universal Church." But they have not been elected. They have been chosen by Pope Francis, and he will be the one to make the decisions

by ***

VATICAN CITY, April 16, 2013 – On the very evening of the election as pope of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Cardinal Camillo Ruini told the newspaper “la Repubblica”:

“There is a structural problem, already addressed by Vatican Council II, but which has not yet found a satisfying and stable solution: that of the relationship between the primacy of the pope and the college of the bishops. I have great trust that Francis will be able to take a significant step forward in this direction.

“Then there is the problem of the relationship of the curia with the pope, and also with the bishops of the whole world. One thing is clear: the curia cannot be anything other than an instrument at the service of the pope, not an organism that is in some way autonomous and much less an influence on the exercise of the ministry of the successor of Peter and his relationships with the episcopate.”

Precisely one month after that March 13, with lightning speed, the new pope has begun to bring into action exactly the two innovations forecast at the moment of his election by Ruini and other cardinals:

“The Holy Father, revisiting a suggestion that emerged in the course of the general congregations preceding the conclave, has set up a group of eight cardinals to advise him in the governance of the universal Church and to study a plan for the revision of the apostolic constitution 'Pastor Bonus' on the Roman curia."

It is news of great significance, and yet it was not given with a solemn motu proprio, but - with the sobriety of forms that characterizes the current pontificate - with a simple “statement of the secretariat of state” released on Saturday, April 13.

Even having called simply a “group” the cardinal advisers he has appointed is an “understatement” typical of pope Bergoglio.

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