by MICHAEL OTTO
Cardinal-designate John Dew would like to see reform of the Church’s central bureaucracy lead to better dialogue between Rome and local churches and bishops.
Pope Francis has called cardinals to a consistory in Rome next month “to reflect on the orientations and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia”.
Cardinal Dew said the “Curia is to be at the service of the Church and her people”.
Asked by NZ Catholic what he would like to see in terms of reform of the Curia, Cardinal Dew replied: “I would like to see … local communities and diocesan bishops being able to dialogue with curial bishops in a way that truly reflects collegiality.”
Collegiality, acknowledging the authority of local bishops, in union with the pope, was one of the key concepts of the Second Vatican Council.
In his book Conclave, Vatican correspondent John Allen described collegiality as “a code word for taking power away from the Roman Curia and letting the bishops be bishops”.
Allen also wrote that collegiality embraces the concept of subsidiarity — that decisions that can be taken at a local level should not always have to be referred to a more removed level, where those involved know less about the local situation.
“At the very least, collegiality calls for more collaborative decision-making in the Church,” Allen wrote.
Pope Francis has acknowledged that reform of the Curia was called for by nearly all the cardinals at the preconclave meetings in 2013.
The Pope also issued a scathing critique of curial officials in a pre-Christmas address to them, warning of 15 “diseases” in their work and attitudes.
According to an article by a Vatican reporter, these included a feeling of indispensability like a “rich fool”; of having a “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that makes a person dependent on the present; of
living an “existential schizophrenia” of double lives that create “parallel worlds”; and a “terrorism of gossip” that sows discord and that amounts to “cold-blooded murder” of friends and colleagues. The Pope put this in the context of preparation for an examination of conscience, in which he also
Cardinal Dew saw the Pope’s words as really aimed at everyone in the Church.
“That all that we do, we do in loving service, offered for the glory of God, not our own self importance or ego,” Cardinal Dew said.
“It is a timely reminder of the temptation that we all face at times to lose sight of who it is we really serve and where our hearts lie.”
German Cardinal Walter Kasper told an Italian newspaper that the Pope wants “spiritual reform of the Curia”, because “the problem is spiritual”.
According to an article in the National Catholic Reporter, Vatican commentator Robert Mickens wrote: “The Pope’s list of diseases may show just how in need of reform the Vatican is. … [T]he list paints a picture of an institution full of gossip, backstabbing and lack of contact with the reality lived by most Catholics around the world.”