• Church leaders have been arriving in Rome from around the world for a two day meeting of the College of Cardinals which precedes the public consistory taking place on today and tomorrow.

    During the closed door meeting in the Synod Hall, which opened on Thursday morning, the Church leaders will be discussing proposed reforms of the Curia that the Group of 9 cardinals has been working on earlier this week. They are expected to include some decentralisation of governance from Rome to local bishops conferences, as well as greater transparency and closer cooperation among all the different parts of the Roman Curia.

    British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has been a vocal supporter of such changes which, he says, were at the heart of discussions prior to the conclave that elected Pope Francis nearly two years ago. Philippa Hitchen caught up with him ahead of the meeting to find out more about his expectations for this encounter.

    The retired archbishop of Westminster says that many cardinals have been vocal about the need for reform, especially in the days before the conclave when they were speaking about the need to tackle challenges facing the Church, here in Rome and elsewhere Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor says the reforms are focused on collegiality and how the Church can be governed “under Peter and with Peter”. He says any reforms or changes take time to develop and need time to mature. “If there’s going to be a slightly new way of exercising authority with the bishops, he says, you have to do it step by step and we’ll be hearing some of those steps in the next few days”

    Together with collegiality, the cardinal says another important word is synodality: although there has been a synod of bishops for several decades, he believes “that needs developing”. The third key word, he says is subsidiarity: in matters of pastoral practise which may vary from one country to another, he says, there are matters which could be dealt with at local level without needing to “go straight to Rome”.
    Asked about perceived resistance to the proposed reforms, he says Pope Francis has urged the cardinals to be open and speak their minds. While he believes they will do just that at this week’s meeting, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor says he doesn’t believe rumours of widespread opposition and he expects “a consensus will arise” 

    Source: Vatican Radio