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Pope Francis takes first major step to reform Church

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 15th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis has taken the first step of what could become a period of reform for the Church. Francis has appointed a special group of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him on needed Church reforms.

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - The Vatican announced on Saturday that eight cardinals have been tasked with finding ways to reform the Church. Specifically, the group will advise Pope Francis on how best to reform the Church following scandals including the sexual abuse of children and allegations of corruption.

The Vatican has emphasized the panel's only purpose is to advise, and that it has no power to change Church law.

However, Pope Francis has already established a reputation as a listener. By drawing cardinals from every continent, he has allowed each region to have some say in how the Church might be reformed.

The selected cardinals are: Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Vatican City State governorate; Sean O'Malley from the United States; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa from Chile; Oswald Gracias from India; Reinhard Marx from Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; George Pell from Australia; and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga from Honduras.

An Italian Bishop, Monsignor Marcello Semerano, is serving the group as a secretary.

The group will start meeting in October and will hopefully provide Pope Francis with ideas on how best to reform the Church from the inside.

The Vatican emphasized that the group will not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the Church.

The cardinals will most closely study the Pastor Bonus, the Apostolic Constitution most recently visited by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

It is unclear how much time the special group has to operate or when their report will be due to Pope Francis. However it is expected that he will strongly consider their advice and will likely make some reforms based on their report.

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