Decentralization of decision-making


The seemingly dormant Council of Cardinals just concluded its 13th meeting with Pope Francis.  So when the reform of the Vatican Curia eventually comes about, no one can say that it hasn’t been well-considered.

Their Feb 8-9 meeting included a wide-ranging discussion of the Holy Father’s discourse in October highlighting the importance of “synodality” and a healthy decentralization of the Church.  Pope Francis has consistently said from the very beginning, “Too many issues come to Rome for a decision.”  He has again and again highlighted the importance of national conferences of bishops by quoting them as authoritative sources for advancing his own pastoral concerns.  And he cites the Orthodox churches’ reliance on regional patriarchates as a model from which the Western Catholic Church could learn.

The astute commentator of all things ecclesial, Fr. Tom Reese, S.J. recently observed in one of his regular columns for the National Catholic Reporter (Feb 11) that decentralization of decision-making in the Church could be the most important decision Francis makes during his papacy.

One obvious area would certainly be the language and reforms of the liturgy.  Only native speakers should ultimately be in charge of the language of praise and worship in our churches.  What does an English or Italian speaker know about the Japanese language and culture when it comes to worship!  Currently liturgical translations are micromanaged by the Vatican, which has resulted in a travesty of obfuscation in the “new” Roman missal.

See Father Reese’s extended article.  It’s certainly worth reading.