The Pope’s advisers have finally created a blueprint for reform. But what’s in it?

To say the progress report on reform of the Roman Curia that appeared last week at the press office of the Holy See was short on specifics would be something of an understatement. The presentation of the work of the “C9” Council of Cardinal Advisers on the new framework for the Church’s central governing bureaucracy was not so much missing particulars as almost entirely lacking in them, apparently quite deliberately so.

We have learned that a draft document is finished and awaiting the Holy Father’s questions, remarks and revisions. We know it is a draft of a new apostolic constitution whose working title is Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel!”).

The briefing package also contained a short history of reform under Francis, which is far more interesting for what it leaves out than for what it includes.

One thing it does include is a laundry list of reform milestones already reached during Francis’s five-year reign: things like the creation of the Cosea ­– the Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See ­– which was at the centre of the infamous VatiLeaks trial. The commission was troubled almost from day one and folded not long after its creation. None of that history came up in the rehearsal. The list mentions the creation of the office of auditor general ­– a first for the Vatican – but doesn’t mention that the first person to hold that position, the highly regarded former Deloitte CEO Libero Milone, was forced to resign and threatened with legal action for doing what he says was only his job.

The list mentions the creation of the Secretariat for Communications, but skates over the “Lettergate” fake news scandal that led to the resignation of the secretariat’s first prefect, Mgr Dario Edoardo Viganò (hand-picked for the job by Pope Francis).

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