Pope Francis convened for today and this Tuesday the entire College of Cardinals – about 190 cardinals have arrived in Rome – for an unprecedented meeting in his pontificate and in which the new Constitution that reforms the Roman Curia will be discussed, but also to open a discussion about the future of the Church.
Francis took advantage of the consistory to create 20 new cardinals, whose ceremony was held last Saturday, and also to convene “a meeting of the entire College of Cardinals to reflect on the new Apostolic Constitution ‘Praedicate Evangelium'”, the great reform of the Argentine pontiff and for which almost 9 years of work have been needed and which has suffered some reluctance on the part of members of the church.
The new Constitution, which completely changes the organization chart of the Roman Curia – the administration of the Church -, entered into force on June 5 and replaces the “Pastor Bonus”, promulgated by John Paul II in 1988 and gives a “more missionary” and opens the door to a greater presence of laity and women.
Proof of this is the creation of the great dicastery (ministry) for Evangelization, which includes the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
It will be chaired directly by the pope and is also the main one in the organization chart of the Vatican administration, while until now it was that of the Doctrine of the Faith, the former Holy Office.
REFLECT ON THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
The archbishop of Huancayo (Peru), Cardinal Pedro Barreto explained to EFE that the purpose of the meeting is: “to feel in communion with the Holy Father, we cardinals are advisors and he has called us to listen to each other.”
“In these two days we are going to have several group meetings and we will present to the Holy Father our opinions regarding something as fundamental as the Apostolic Constitution, so important for the Curia and for the Church in general”, added Barreto, who did not rule out other issues coming up as well.
The director of the magazine of the Society of Jesus, “Civiltá catolica” and very close to the pope, Antonio Spadaro, told EFE that “this meeting is important because it will allow the new Constitution to be resumed and discussed synodally. The cardinals, in fact, come from all over the world and his service is to help the Pope in his Petrine ministry”.
”We need, therefore, as in the general congregations before the Conclave, a reflection on the future of the Church, in this case starting from the value and meaning of the Roman Curia. It is necessary that these forms of consultation and common discernment be more frequent, also given the great diversity present within the Catholic Church today and the need to consolidate being together, which should not be limited to extraordinary and exceptional moments,” he explained. .
But he also confirmed that “it will also be an important moment of mutual knowledge of the members of the College of Cardinals.”
And it is that, although the pope has assured that he has no intention of resigning, for the moment, in this meeting the airs of a conclave are blowing as it is the first time that many of those who will elect the future pontiff will face each other.
In these nine years, Francis has left his mark on the college of cardinals, as he has appointed 83 of the current 132 cardinal electors – those under 80 years of age who will be able to participate in the conclave – which represents 63% of those who will enter the Sistine Chapel to elect the new pontiff.
197 CARDINALS AND A FINAL DEBATE
In his pontificate, apart from the eight for the appointment of cardinals, he only convened an extraordinary consistory to which all the cardinals were called on February 20 and 21, 2014 to talk about the family.
The Vatican reported that 197 cardinals of the 227 that make up the college of cardinals have confirmed their presence and the patriarchs of the East and the superiors of the Secretary of State will be there, many of them have not been able to reach Rome because they are elderly or like the Nicaraguan cardinal , Leopoldo Brenes, who explained that he could not travel to the town hall because his mother was ill.
The meeting, behind closed doors, will start today at 9:00 a.m. (7:00 GMT) and will have a break for lunch and will resume at 4:00 p.m. It will begin with a private speech by Pope Francis and then the cardinals will divide into linguistic groups on various aspects related to the document and then the debate will open.
At the end, on Tuesday, August 30, after the work of the assembly, at 5:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.) the pope will celebrate a mass with all the cardinals in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
(with information from EFE)
Francis visited the tomb of Celestine V, the first pope to resign, amid rumors of his possible resignation
Francis between the wars: new cardinals, two saints and meetings of the College of Cardinals
Pope Francis limited Opus Dei: UNAM expert