Tina Beattie has a piece over at The Conversation, on ‘Pope Francis: people’s pope or sharp politician?’
Last Friday Reuters reported that Pope Francis has formed a commission to tackle Vatican reform.
Made up of seven international lay experts and one cleric, the commission will report directly to the pope and advise him on economic affairs, improving transparency and enforcing accounting principles.
Its members will have the right to examine any paper and digital document in the Vatican…
… The new commission’s lay members are experts in economics, finance, management and law and come from Spain, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Malta and France, the Vatican said in a statement. The cleric will act as the commission’s secretary…
… Francis ordered all Vatican departments to collaborate with the commission and bypass usual rules that oblige officials to respect the secrecy of their office.
As Daniel Horan points out on his blog Dating God, this announcement is getting little media coverage, despite the unprecedented nature of the commission. He provides a link to Vatican Radio’s coverage, which includes a list of the members:
Dr. Joseph FX Zahra (Malta), President
Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda (Secretary of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs), Secretary
Mr Jean-Baptiste de Franssu (France)
Dr. Enrique Llano (Spain)
Dr. Jochen Messemer (Germany)
Ms. Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui (Italy)
Mr. Jean Videlain-Sevestre (France)
Mr. George Yeo (Singapore)
So not only has the Pope convened a commission composed almost entirely of lay people, it includes one female member (though it should be noted that it is overwhelming European). It remains to be seen what the commission will be able to accomplish, but this announcement is yet another move suggesting that Francis marks a real departure from previous Vatican administrations. The hopes for a greater role for the laity, expressed at last week’s symposium on the Role of Lay Catholic Theologians, may actually be fulfilled!
Members of the Digby Stuart Research Centre have been appearing in the UK Media over the past few days, commenting on the election of Pope Francis.
- Augusto Zampini and Tina Beattie both appeared on Radio Bristol’s ‘Sunday Starts with Trevor Fry’. The segment featuring their discussion begins at 2:09:40.
- Tina is featured in a programme about ‘Challenges Facing the Catholic Church’ on CBC/Radio Canada (the segment featuring Tina can be found at about 00:07:40).
- Tina also provided some responses on BBC Radio 5 Live. She appears roughly a third of the way into the programme.
- Augusto joins host William Crawley and other guests on the BBC’s World Service programme ‘Heart and Soul’.
- He also was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s World at One (he appears at about 00:28:30).
- Finally, Augusto was on ITV News. Unfortunately, their site is under maintenance at the moment, but I will try to provide the link when it is back up.
Please note that some of these links will expire in the course of the next week, so listen or watch soon!
Just a quick reminder that Andrew Cooke, who contributed this piece last week, will be presenting some of his PhD research on homosexuality and Catholicism tomorrow, Wednesday, 13 February, from 6:00 to 7:30 in the Archive Room of the library at the University of Roehampton. All are welcome!
If you have any questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, Prof Gerard Loughlin’s DSRC research seminar on ‘Catholic Hate Speech’ has been cancelled. Those interested in his work might want to read his 2006 essay at The Other Journal, ‘Gathered at the Altar: Homosexuality and Human Rights’ and discuss its implications.
We’ve started to compile a list of articles relevant to our discussions here. We’ll continue to update the list which can be found by clicking ‘Articles’ at the top above our logo.