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The First Order of Business for Pope Francis and his Kitchen Cabinet

Long before Pope Francis selected Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley as the only North American to serve in the pontiff's "kitchen cabinet", O'Malley was a prolific blogger.

Most of the posts on O'Malley's personal blog are reports on his public ministry:  visiting parishes, ordaining deacons, meeting with religious orders and diocesan priests about their work in the archdiocese, etc.  But in one post this week, there's a hint of what may come from the cabinet's first meeting with Francis on Oct. 1 - 3:

This is an ongoing process and the Holy Father is seeking input from throughout the worldwide Church. One meeting is not going to change everything in the Church, but it will be a start. Certainly, the first order of business will be trying to see what could make the Curia more effective in the service of the Holy Father and the dioceses around the world.

About the Author

Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 



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If "the first order of business [is to try] to see what could make the Curia more effective," then the kitchen cabinet would have to assess the ways in which the Curia is not effective, or not optimally effective, and then undertake a systems analysis of the organizational structure of the Curia. However, even if each member of the kitchen cabinet surveys bishops and dioceses in his geographic region before the meeting, I would not expect much to come from the first meeting.

What a lame and disapppointing glimpse of the group of eight's agenda.


A leaner, meaner curia is what we want --- NOT.


Where has Synodality gone?

I have to stipulate that I'm not a Sean O'Malley fan.  I knew him from his days as a Washington auxiliary bishop:  desperately upwardly mobile then all the while playing the simple, poor Franciscan motiff to the hilt.  I recall that he obviously enjoyed being called "Padre Sean" by his adoring sycophants.  I suppose I should give him the benefit of the doubt, and say that maybe he has grown and matured.  

Nah!  O'Malley's still an ambitious politician to the core.

If O'Malley is typical of the other members of the papal commission, I can't really get too excited.  Reforming the curia - apparently the major charge of the papal kitchen cabinet - is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.

We'll know how serious Papa Francesco is about reform and renewal of the priesthood from parish to pope when he starts asking The People to lead that charge up Vatican hill.




A slight correction: Cardinal O'Malley during his years in D.C. was not a bishop.

This week's meeting has been touted for months as Francis's ground-breaking initiative for change and reform. If it turns out to be a deckchair-arranging exercise, it will greatly damage the credibility of his pontificate.

@ John Page:  Excuse me, my memory failed me:  O'Malley was just the episcopal vicar for Portugese, Hispanics and Haitians when he was in DC, and not a bishop, at least yet.

The point is Page:  O'Malley always lusted after cassocks with red piping despite the Capuchin costuming.


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