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Letter from Rome

The credibility of Pope Francis' 'privy council' has been threatened by certain members

Letter from Rome

Pope Francis is holding his 25th meeting with his Council of Cardinals at the Vatican this week.

Robert Mickens, Rome
Vatican City

June 11, 2018

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Pope Francis is holding yet another three days of meetings with the Council of Cardinals, beginning June 11.

It marks the 25th time the 81-year-old pope will have gathered the members of his "kitchen cabinet," a novel assembly of senior advisors he instituted exactly one month after his election as Bishop of Rome in 2013.

Francis formed the exclusive group "to advise him in the government of the universal church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus," John Paul II’s 1998 restructuring of the main Vatican offices.

Everyone knows that this unique "privy council" has been working to reform the church’s central bureaucracy. But most seem to have forgotten that the first task assigned to it is to assist the pope in the governance of the universal church.

"The said council will be a further expression of episcopal communion and assistance to the munus petrinum which the Episcopate across the world is able to offer," the pope wrote in the document that formally established this new organ of consultative governance.

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