Looking out for No. 2: Who will be Vatican secretary of state?

Catholic News Service

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Of the several widely acknowledged priorities in the run-up to the conclave that chose Pope Francis, including the challenge of secularism and the growth of the church in the global South, none was more prominent than a need to reform the Roman Curia, the church’s central administration in the Vatican.

The College of Cardinals extensively discussed corruption and mismanagement sensationally documented in the 2012 “VatiLeaks” of confidential correspondence, which were also the subject of a detailed report that Pope Benedict XVI designated exclusively for the eyes of his successor.

The new pope has already given signs of his intention to reform. According to his personal notes for his pre-conclave speech to fellow cardinals, subsequently published with his permission, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio denounced the “self-referentiality” of a church “living within herself, of herself, for herself.” Although his main target seems to have been a “theological narcissism” that saps evangelical zeal, the future pope’s words were also an implicit rebuke to the inward-looking mindset of a pre-modern royal court, which still characterizes the Vatican in the 21st century.

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