Letter from Rome

Reforming the Church with 'no possibility of return'
Letter from Rome

Pope Francis holds a Mass to give the sacred pallium to new metropolitan archbishops on June 29 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP)

How many cardinals does it take to help Pope Francis reform the Roman Curia? And how many years do they need to get the job done?

Many Catholics — at least those who are hoping the pope can succeed in decentralizing ecclesial power away from the Vatican — have grown frustrated that after some six years there have been no definitive answers to those questions.

After meeting roughly five times annually, the Council of Cardinals (a body initially made of eight members or C8, then quickly expanded to C9 and more recently depleted to C6) has still not given the pope a final draft for a new apostolic constitution to reform the Church's central offices.

But they are getting closer.

Back in April, two members of the advisory council made a big splash by revealing key components of the draft document, confirming its provisional title — Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel).

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Cardinals Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras and Oswald Gracias of India then predicted that the final edition of that text would likely be presented to Pope Francis on June 29.


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