REFLECTION: Church reform requires decentralization, synodality

reeseHeadshotWebby Thomas Reese, S.J., NCR

On the agenda of the most recent meeting of the Council of Cardinals was what might be the most important issue in the reform of the Roman Curia — the decentralization of decision-making in the church.

ReformThe council is made up of nine cardinals, six from outside of Rome, who are advising the pope on the reform of the Vatican Curia. This was their 13th meeting since the council’s creation by Pope Francis shortly after his election.

The Feb. 8-9 meeting of the council included a discussion of the Holy Father’s discourse on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops (Oct. 17). This talk developed theme of “synodality,” and spoke of “the need to proceed with a healthy decentralization” in the church.

The pope’s speech “constitutes an important point of reference for the work of reforming the Curia,” according to Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi.

So far, the council’s discussions appear to have been mostly theoretical without any concrete proposals

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