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Pope and Council of Cardinals discuss improvements to selection process for bishops

The Pope and the Council continue to discuss the process of identifying candidates for bishop roles

Pope Francis and members of the international Council of Cardinals advising him on Church governance once again discussed ways to improve the process of identifying the best priests to become bishops.

“The cardinals reflected broadly on the spiritual and pastoral profile necessary for a bishop today," said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office.

Meeting with Pope Francis between September 12-14, they also discussed “the theme of the Holy See’s diplomatic service and the formation and tasks of apostolic nuncios with particular attention to their great responsibility in the choice of candidates for the episcopacy," Burke said in a statement.

At their April meeting, the Pope and cardinals also had spoken about the process of choosing new bishops and they looked specifically at the questionnaire that nuncios send around to bishops, priests and others asking their opinions about certain candidates. The nuncios evaluate the responses and forward suggestions for the appointment of new bishops to the Congregation for Bishops, which does a further evaluation and makes recommendations to the Pope.

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, attended one of the September sessions of the Council of Cardinals, explaining the congregation’s work as well as the activities of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, which he serves as president.

The Pope and his international board of cardinal-advisers also continued their office-by-office look at the Roman Curia in view of a planned reform, the Vatican statement said. The congregations for Clergy and for Catholic Education were discussed, as was the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The meeting also included a study of “the ‘diakonia’ of justice," or work for justice as a religiously motivated service, the statement said. In addition, members received updates on the institution of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the work of the Secretariat for Communications, the Secretariat for the Economy and the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

The Council of Cardinals will meet again on December 12-14. Its members are: Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Sean P. O’Malley of Boston; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; George Pell, head of the Secretariat of the Economy; and Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.
Because of commitments in his diocese, Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya was unable to attend the September meeting.


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