Vatican City, 3 October 2013 (VIS) – The reform of the Curia and the attribution of of more incisive role to the laity were among the principal themes considered yesterday afternoon and this morning in the meeting of the Council of Cardinals, instituted by the Pope to assist him in the governance of the Church, said the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., in a briefing with journalists.

Before commenting on the issues discussed by the cardinals, Fr. Lombardi referred to the words of the Pope at the end of the audience with participants in the meeting held to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of John XXIII’s encyclical, “Pacem in terris”, in which he recalled the victims, currently numbered at 90, of the shipwreck this morning near the Italian island of Lampedusa. “In the light of this new tragedy”, he said, “we understand more clearly the value and meaning of the first trip of Francis’ pontificate”.

Moving on to the work of the Council of Cardinals, he stated that the Pope was present yesterday in the afternoon session, held between 4 and 7 p.m. “The Holy Father goes to pray at the Chapel at seven o’clock, and that is the end of their collaboration, although the cardinals may join him together, if they see fit. This morning he was not present as he received in audience the participants in the meeting organised by the Pontifical Council ‘Justice and Peace'”.

The cardinals worked principally on the reform of the Curia. “The direction of their work would not indicate an updating of the apostolic Constitution ‘Pastor Bonus’, with retouches and marginal modifications”, explained Lombardi, “but rather, a new constitution with significant new aspects. It will be necessary to wait a reasonable amount of time following this Council, but the idea is this. The cardinals have made it clear that they do not intend to make cosmetic retouches or minor modifications to ‘Pastor bonus'”.