Vatican City, 18 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held during which Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, gave a briefing on the second meeting of the Holy Father and the Council of Cardinals (C8). The meeting was also attended by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, who will participate at all times, although he will be absent from this afternoon's session due to an official appointment at the Italian embassy to the Holy See.
Fr. Lombardi communicated that yesterday afternoon the Council reflected on the results of the Commission for Reference on the the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA), presented during the preceding morning session. The president of the Commission, Joseph F.X. Zahra, was the only member of the Commission present. Msgr. Alfred Xuereb also attended today's meeting in his role as the papal delegate to the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute of Works of Religion.
The day's events began, as usual, at 7 a.m. with the celebration of Holy Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel; the meeting started at 9.30 a.m. in the same room where yesterday's gathering was held. The morning was spent hearing the representatives of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), instituted by chirograph on 24 June 2013. This Commission was the result of the Holy Father's wish to acquire a better knowledge of the legal position and the activities of the Institute to enable greater harmonisation of the latter with the mission of the Universal Church and the Apostolic See, within the broader context of reforms involving some of the Institutions which offer support to the Apostolic See. Its task is to gather information on the functioning of the Institute and to report the results to the Pontiff.
The session was attended by Cardinal Raffaele Farina, president; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, member; Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, coordinator; and Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, secretary. Professor Mary Ann Glendon was not present as she does not reside in Rome.
The Commission presented the work carried out during these months, which was received with great interest by the cardinals, and provided information on the current situation of the Institute and the problems that it must face. Suggestions were offered for future changes, although no decisions were made following the hearing. One of the key points was the mission of the IOR in relation to the action of the Church in the world and not only from the perspective of economic performance.
Fr. Lombardi commented that it is important to bear in mind, considering the work of the two Commissions, that their aims are different but that they both fit into the contextual reality of the Holy See; for this reason the Holy Father wishes to obtain an overall view with regard to the reorganisation of its governance and structures.
The meeting will continue this afternoon, and tomorrow the C8 Council of Cardinals will with the Council of Fifteen. Due to the large number of attendees, the Wednesday meeting will not be held in the room in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, but is instead likely to be held in the Apostolic Palace.