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The Council of Cardinals meets for the sixth time

The Council of Cardinals gathered for the sixth time from Monday, 15 September, to Wednesday, 17. The Holy Father had established the Council in April of 2013 to assist him in governing the universal Church and to studying possible revisions to the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus. Previous meetings took place on: 1-3 October and 3-5 December 2013, 17-19 February, 28-30 April and 1-4 July 2014.

As of this meeting, the Council consists of 9 cardinals, the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin having been assumed at the behest of the Pope.

Themes during the sixth meeting included: the laity and the family, with special reference to movements, pastoral care and the role of women; as well as, justice and peace, charity, the situation of migrants and refugees, the protection of life, healthcare and ecology. This was related by Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, during a briefing with journalists. Fr Lombardi noted that Pope Francis participated in all the working sessions except for the one which coincided with Wednesday morning’s General Audience.

The director also explained that during this session the Cardinals no longer deliberated the economic and administrative issues as at prior meetings, concentrating instead on the path of the Congregations and the Pontifical Councils. He then announced that an initial draft of the new Apostolic Constitution on the reform of the Roman Curia had already been formulated and shared, and that subsequent meetings would be held from 9-11 December 2014 and from 9-11 February 2015.

The Council of Cardinals, Fr Lombardi continued, “does not take decisions, but formulates proposals for the Pope”, who then dedicates himself to “expanding the consultation, also regarding the various dicasteries, engaging those in charge”. In this respect, Fr Lombardi announced that in the autumn there will be at least one meeting of the dicastery heads, at which proposals are expected regarding aspects of the life and organization of the Church.

During the briefing, it was also stated that the committee charged with proposing the reform of Vatican media will hold its first meeting at Santa Marta from 22-24 September. Lord Christopher Patten will be presiding over the committee, which will in substance “frame the common base of information necessary for the members’ work”, dedicating itself to “planning the work to be carried out in the coming months, and the method to be followed”. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will return for a meeting from 4-5 October, during which aspects will be defined with respect to Statutes and other members.

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