June 24, 2013

A meeting with Pope Francis designed as reflection on the last Synod of Bishops turned into a group reflection on strengthening the synod itself and the way the world’s bishops assist the pope.

Meeting June 13 with members of the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis said each of the eight cardinals he named in April to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia mentioned the need to “find a path for coordination between synodality and the bishop of Rome.”

The work of the world Synod of Bishops, which has gathered bishops at the Vatican every three or four years to discuss a theme and make recommendations to the pope, “has to take a new path that expresses its uniqueness when united with the Petrine ministry,” the pope said.

“This is a big challenge.”

Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney spoke about the possibility of expanding the role of the synod council to be a more regular advisory body for the pope, one that would meet with the pope for several hours two or three times a year to discuss a specific topic.