, VATICAN CITY, Apr 13 – Pope Francis on Saturday set up a group of cardinals to advise him on church governance and study reforms, marking the new pontiff’s first step toward reforming the Catholic Church’s opaque administration.
In a brief statement, the Vatican said that Francis had named eight cardinals from around the world to the group that will examine updating the constitution of the Roman Curia – the Church administration which analysts say is badly in need of reform.
The cardinals include two Europeans (Giuseppe Bertello from Italy and Reinhard Marx from Germany), two from Latin America (Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa from Chile and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga from Honduras), one from North America (Sean O’Malley from Boston in the US), one from Asia (Oswald Gracias from India), one African (Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from the Democratic Republic of Congo) and one Australian (George Pell of Sydney).
The group is due to hold its first meeting on October 1-3, the Vatican statement said.
The announcement came a month after Francis was elected leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics and a week after he made his first appointment to the scandal-hit Vatican bureaucracy, naming a leader of the main Franciscan order as the number two of the institution that oversees all Catholic religious orders.
Vatican observers are eagerly awaiting other key nominations to top Curia posts expected in the coming weeks, which could provide vital insights into the new pope’s intentions for the Church.