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Letter from Rome

Is the pope purposely going slowly as a way of wearing down those who are not on board of his reforming the church?

Letter from Rome

Pope Francis celebrates an open-air mass at Contecar — Cartagena's maritime terminal — during the last day of his visit to Colombia on Sept. 10. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

Robert Mickens, Vatican City
Vatican City

September 11, 2017

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The Bishop of Rome is far away from his diocese. But he'll be back soon.

Pope Francis, who is currently in the midst of an important pastoral visit to Colombia, should arrive at his Santa Marta Residence in the Vatican on Monday still in time for pranzo.

It's likely that members of his privy council of cardinal-advisors will have already started their lunch before he gets there. The C9, as the group is informally called, is holding its latest three-day gathering with the pope to help him reform the Roman Curia and make other decisions for the good of the Universal Church.

But the nine will be eight this time; perhaps even fewer.

One person who is certain not to be taking part in this, the 21st gathering of the advisory council is Cardinal George Pell. He's back in his native Australia awaiting a court date next month where he and one of the country’s best-known criminal lawyers will try to defend the cardinal against numerous historical allegations related to the sexual abuse of minors...

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