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New committee to advise Pope on reforms

Eight cardinals from across the globe to advise Pope Francis on how to reform church's troubled central administration.

Last Modified: 13 Apr 2013 12:02
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Pope Francis marked his first month at the Vatican announcing a new group to help lead the church [Reuters]

Pope Francis has set up a committee of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him on how to reform the Catholic Church's troubled central administration, the Vatican said.

The cardinals will help him put into place changes in the Curia, which has been held responsible for some of the mishaps and scandals that plagued the eight-year reign of Pope Benedict before he resigned in February.

The eight prelates come from Italy, Chile, India, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, Australia, and Honduras.

An Italian archbishop will act as secretary of the group, which will hold its first formal meeting in October in Rome.

Francis, who was elected exactly one month ago, has already been in contact with each of them, the Vatican said.

Vatican bank

Francis inherited a Church struggling to deal with priests' sexual abuse of children, the alleged corruption and infighting in the central administration, and conflict over the running of the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank.

Benedict left a secret report for Francis on the problems in the administration, which came to light when sensitive documents were stolen from the pope's desk and leaked by his butler in what became know as the "Vatileaks" scandal.

The basic failings of the Curia were aired, sometimes passionately, at closed-door meetings of cardinals before they retired into the conclave that elected Francis.

The Vatican statement said Francis set up the group to respond to suggestions during those meetings.

Anger at the mostly Italian prelates who run the Curia was one of the reasons that cardinals chose the first non-European pope for 1,300 years and quashed the chances of one of the front-runners, Milan Archbishop Angelo Scola.

Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and sentenced by a Vatican court to 18 months in prison last year but Benedict pardoned him and he was freed just before Christmas.

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