Some Vatican offices may be decentralised

Decentralising some Vatican offices as part of a number of Curia reforms is on the cards, communications from Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals suggested after they met last week.

This would mean transferring some offices from the Vatican to local bishops or episcopal conferences “in a spirit of healthy decentralization.”

The Council said they also discussed circumstances in which decisions that are currently made by Vatican congregations could be made by diocesan bishops or episcopal conferences.

Exactly which Vatican offices might be involved in such a change has not yet been announced.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke referred to the Vatican offices that might be involved as dicasteries when he was briefing reporters after the latest Council meeting.

He did not make any distinction between those dicasteries classified as “congregations” and those that are “pontifical councils.”

Noting that no immediate changes are likely, Burke cited the possibility of transferring authority over deacons as an example; he said this was just one of several types of decentralization the Council of Cardinals considered in its meeting.

“In many dicasteries there are things like this that [at present] depend on Rome [to decide them] but do not have to necessarily,” he said.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals is scheduled for September.

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