Pope Francis formalizes cardinal reform group, reserves decision-making

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Sep. 30, 2013 NCR Today

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis has formalized the structure of the group of cardinals advising him on reforming the Roman Catholic church, organizing them as a kind of royal council asked to give counsel but not make decisions.

The group, now formally known as the “council of cardinals,” will assist in reorganization of the Vatican bureaucracy and will “help me with governance of the universal church,” the pope stated in a formal letter outlining the structure.

The pope signed the letter, officially known as a chirograph, Saturday but announced it at a Vatican press briefing Monday.

During the briefing, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi stated several times that the cardinals’ group was to offer advice, but all decisions would be left to the pope.

“It’s only a council, it’s not a decision-making group,” Lombardi said. “I would not speak of collegial governance in this group. It’s a new form of consultation.”

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