Three of the pope’s closest advisers have been removed from their positions, including two who have been entangled in allegations of sexual abuse or abuse cover up.
Arguably the most influential group of prelates during the pontificate of Pope Francis has been his council of cardinals known colloquially as the “C9” – nine men hand-chosen by the pope to advise him on matters pertaining to the faith and the governance of the Catholic Church.
As OnePeterFive has previously reported, Cardinals Maradiaga, Errazuriz, Marx have all been tainted by accusations of covering up for clerical sexual abusers, and Cardinal Pell has now reportedly been found guilty by an Australian court of being an abuser himself.
Today, the Holy See Press Office briefed journalists on a “reorganization” of the pope’s advisory council, removing Pell and Errazuriz — the latter having been implicated in allegations of coverup of the abuse of Fr. Karadima in Chile — as well as Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from the Congo. The reason for the restructuring was not clearly stated. According to the briefing given by Press Office Director Greg Burke:
Following the request expressed by the Cardinals at the end of the 26th meeting of the Council of Cardinals (10-12 September 2018), regarding reflection on the work, structure and composition of the Council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some members, the Holy Father Francis wrote at the end of October to Their Eminences Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Javier Errázuriz and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya to thank them for the work they have done in these five years.
The remaining members of the group are:
- Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (coordinator)
- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich
- Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston
- Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay
- Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State
Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, and consultant to the Congregation for Clergy and the Italian Bishops Conference serves as the secretary for the group.
According to the Vatican press briefing, “Given the phase of the Council’s work, the appointment of new members is not expected at present,” meaning that practically speaking, the “C9” has functionally been reduced to a “C6.”