Chirograph Establishing the Council of Cardinals

Author: Pope Francis

Chirograph Establishing the Council of Cardinals

Pope Francis

To assist the Pope in governing the Church

Pope Francis signed a Chirograph, dated 28 September [2013], by which a Council of Cardinals is established to assist the Holy Father in the governance of the universal Church and to study possible revisions of the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" on the Roman Curia. The Council consists of eight cardinals that the Pope chose as advisers on 13 April. They represent the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. As Archbishops they have governed or still govern large Archdioceses. From Tuesday, 1 October, to Thursday, 3 October, the new Council will meet officially for the first time in the Private Library of the Papal Apartments to examine about 80 documents gathered by Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Secretary of the Council, who has already prepared the ground for the meeting by sending a summary of the said documents to the members of the Council. The following is a translation of the papal document which was written in Italian.

Among the suggestions made at the General Congregations of Cardinals prior to the Conclave was the expediency of establishing a small group of bishops from the different parts of the world, whom the Holy Father could consult on specific issues, either individually or as a group. Once elected to the See of Rome I had the opportunity to ponder on this subject often and concluded that such a project would be of considerable help in carrying out the pastoral ministry of the Successor of Peter which my brother Cardinals wished to entrust to me. 

For this reason on last 13 April I announced the institution of the above-mentioned group, and at the same time gave the names of those who were called to belong to it. Now, after long reflection, I deem it appropriate that this group be established by this Chirograph as a “Council of Cardinals” with the task of assisting me in the governance of the universal Church and of studying a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia. It will be made up of the same people mentioned above who from time to time, as a Council or individually, will be asked about issues that I consider worthy of attention. As regards the composition of the Council, I reserve the right to make the appointments for the best result. The said Council will be a further expression of episcopal communion and assistance to the munus petrinum which the Episcopate across the world is able to offer.

Given in Rome, at St Peter’s Basilica, on 28 September 2013, in the first year of the Pontificate.

L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
2 October 2013, page 3

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