Vatican City, 3 May 2014 (VIS) – The Council for the Economy, established by the Holy Father by the Motu proprio "Fidelis et dispensator prudens" of 24 February, held its first meeting on Friday, 2 May. It took place in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace, during the morning and afternoon, and finished at 6 p.m. The sessions were chaired by Cardinal Coordinator of the Council, Reinhard Marx, and in addition to the fifteen members, were also attended by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Cardinal George Pell, President of the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Prelate Secretary of the Council, Msgr. Brian Ferme.
The Holy Father received the Council and addressed a brief but important discourse to its members on Friday morning. The text of his discourse and a summary in Italian of Cardinal Marx's address to the Pope have already been published (Osservatore Romano, 2-3 May, p.8).
As both the Holy Father and the Cardinal Coordinator were keen to emphasise in their discourses, the clerical and lay members of the Council are on the same level, with equal rights and responsibilities. This was made clear during the meeting itself by the fact that clergy and laypersons were seated in alternate positions at the table, rather than in two separate groups.
The work of the Council, which took place in a positive and constructive context, focused first on the draft Statutes of the Council itself, an examination of which will be continued at the next meeting so that they can be submitted for approval by the Holy Father. The work carried out by the Commission for the organisation of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See (COSEA, instituted by the Holy Father on 18 July 2013) was presented to the Council. The information and continuity of the work are guaranteed by the fact that the President and two other members of COSEA are now members of the Council for the Economy.
The next meeting has been scheduled for 5 July. Two more meetings are planned to take place during the course of this year, one in September and one in December.