Vatican constitution will resist centralisation, cardinal says

Cardinal Oswald Gracias (CNS/Anto Akkara)

It took 29 meetings, but the pope’s council of cardinal advisers has a new draft constitution to present to episcopal conferences around the world for review. Source: Crux. 

According to a principal drafter of that document, one core aim of the constitution is to combat centralisation of power in Rome, reflecting the electoral mandate given Pope Francis six years ago.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias – a member of the council known as the C9, which now has only six members – was responsible for drafting parts of Praedicate evangelium. The draft will now be reviewed by bishops from around the world who have until late May to respond to the document, before the council’s next meeting in June.

Cardinal Gracias spoke with Crux last week at the end of a meeting of the prelates, and he said fighting “centralisation” was a principal goal of the drafters. The issue was discussed by the cardinals who elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio to succeed Benedict XVI, “so Francis was elected on a mandate to do this”, Cardinal Gracias said.

"We have been working on the refounding of the Curia. We went dicastery by dicastery, each one of us had a section. I had the judicial section of the Holy See, interreligious dialogue and Oriental Churches. I met with the heads of each of these dicasteries, discussed the changes. We also had our own approach; we call it 'the Francis touch'," Cardinal Gracias said.

"And we also tried to make sure that the Curia is at the service of the Holy Father and at the service of the bishops. We consistently tried to do that. This requires a change of mentality."

The cardinal also discussed his plans for a Pan-Asian Synod, and why he thinks Francis is still “enthusiastic” for his job.

"I know [the Pope is] the target of much criticism, but something that’s very clear to me from the inside, much of the criticism is unfair, and sometimes he’s being blamed for things he’s had nothing to do with or for which he doesn’t even know he’s being blamed," Cardinal Gracias said. 

"But he’s enthusiastic still, knows work still needs to be done. And he’s never said this, but I sense he feels that the Lord has put him here to do a task, and when He thinks Francis is done, God will take him away."

Speaking about the Church’s fight against clerical sexual abuse, he delivered strong support for zero tolerance, saying that parents have the right to know their children are safe in any Church-ran facility.

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New Vatican constitution will resist centralisation in Rome, drafter says (Crux

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