Pope Francis has made his international advisory panel on church governance, which begins meeting in Rome today, a permanent council of cardinals, thereby emphasising the importance and open-endedness of its work, reports the Catholic News Service.
The Vatican made the announcement yesterday, a day before Pope Francis was scheduled to meet for the first time with the panel, which has been informally dubbed the 'Group of Eight' or 'G-8'.
The new Council of Cardinals will have the 'task of assisting me in the governance of the universal church and drawing up a project for the revision of the apostolic constitution 'Pastor Bonus' on the Roman Curia,' Pope Francis wrote in his decree, dated September 28.
Pastor Bonus, published in 1988, was the last major set of changes in the Roman Curia, the Church's central administration at the Vatican.
Corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican bureaucracy, sensationally documented in the 2012 'VatiLeaks' of confidential correspondence, were a major topic of discussion among members of the College of Cardinals during meetings prior to the papal election in March.
As he has said several times since the advisory panel was announced last April, Pope Francis noted in his decree that the council was a response to suggestions by his fellow cardinals at the pre-conclave meetings.
The council's field of potential concern extends far beyond Vatican reform, and Pope Francis has said that its deliberations will include the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
Photo: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, co-oordinator of the Council of Cardinals
Council of Cardinals to rewrite Curia constitution (The Tablet)
Reform of the Curia will be 'long process': Cardinal Maradiaga (Vatican Insider)