This week was bursting at the seams with things happening inside Vatican walls. Several key meetings were lined up back to back.
The Council of Cardinals, known colloquially as “the C9”, met again this week to continue their work towards a reformed curia. This time they had a more immediate task: presenting the fruit of their work to the full College of Cardinals, gathered in Rome in advance of the Ordinary Public Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals.
Economy was a big topic on the agenda at the pre-consistory meetings. Four different people gave presentations about Vatican finances:
- Joseph Zahra, the layman who led the Commission of Reference on the Organization of Economic - Administrative structures of the Holy See, gave an overview of that commission’s findings
- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the Council for the Economy, spoke about his council’s work
- Jean Baptiste de Franssu, the head of the Institue for Works of Religion - commonly known as the “Vatican bank”, talked about the results of the various studies and changes at that institute, it’s current work, and it’s future prospects.
- Cardinal George Pell, the Secretary for the Economy, similarly spoke about what his secretariat has accomplished thus far. He told Crux, the web-based catholic news site run by the Boston Globe, that his work uncovered 1.5 billion dollars in hidden assets at the Vatican.
The cardinals in attendance were also able to ask questions, share observations, and raise their concerns. Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesperson, said several prelates brought up the issue of coordination of the curia. He said they spoke both of a coordination of the curia’s functions as well the need to create a sense of communion in mission. The cardinals also spoke of the need for “simplification” of the curia and the need for people in the curia to be qualified for their job.
The College of Cardinals also hear from Cardinal Sean O’Malley about the work being done by the Commission for the Protection of Minors. At a recent press conference Cardinal O’Malley said the commission is adamant the issue of bishop accountability must be addressed. The commission is also preparing seminars for new bishops when they come to Rome for their orientation, and for members of the curia.