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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vatican City, 3 December 2013 (VIS) – The Council of Cardinals instituted by Pope Francis to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a plan for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia, as announced by the Holy Father's chirograph dated 28 September, began its second round of meetings this morning, to continue until 5 December. The first round took place from 3 to 5 October.

The Council is composed of eight cardinals from the five continents: Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, U.S.A.; George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia, and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the function of co-ordinator. The secretary is Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy.

In a briefing held today, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., communicated that the cardinals will meet in the Santa Marta guesthouse at from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and will hold the afternoon sessions from 4 to 7 p.m. The morning began with the holy Mass concelebrated with Pope Francis in the chapel.

This time, the cardinals have commenced work directly in the Santa Marta guesthouse, rather than meeting beforehand on the Third Loggia, as they did in October”, said Fr. Lombardi. “The Pope was present at the meeting and will probably also attend this afternoon. However, tomorrow he will not attend the morning session as he will hold the general audience in St. Peter's Square. During the intervening months between one session and another, the cardinals have continued their work, both personally and in contact with each other; they have also gathered opinions and suggestions on the situation of the Church based on the events in which they have participated; for example, Cardinal Gracias has attended numerous meetings in Asia, while Cardinal Marx has held his own in Europe”.

This morning work began immediately on the examination of the Roman Curia and in particular on the dicastery of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; or rather, they entered fully into what, as has already been stated, will be an in-depth task, not limited to retouches or minor improvements. The revision of Pastor bonus is substantial, to the extent that it may be considered as a new constitution for the Curia”.

The director of the Holy See Press Office specified that in this round the cardinals will not discuss matters regarding the economic and administrative sectors which, in his opinion, will be considered in the next meeting in February, shortly before the consistory for the creation of new cardinals, which will be followed by the meeting of the Synod council.

He also referred to the Cardinals' working method, in which tasks are distributed so as to permit specific themes to be studied, but “everything will be brought before the Council and there is common responsibility in relation to all themes”.

Finally, Fr. Lombardi communicated that the Council has invited the new secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, to greet him and in order to make first contacts with him. No further invitations are expected during these days.

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