Cardinal O'Malley among Pope's advisers
BOSTON (WHDH) -- The head of the Roman Catholic church in Boston is among eight cardinals named by Pope Francis to advise him on running the church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley is among members of the advisory panel announced by the Vatican on Saturday. The group includes only one current Vatican official, with the rest being cardinals from Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. They will hold their first meeting Oct. 1-3.
Cardinal O’Malley is the only American on the panel.
Father James Bretzke calls the news surprising.
“Cardinal O’Malley is not the most prestigious cardinal; that would be probably Cardinal Dolan in New York. Nor is he the oldest or the longest-reigning cardinal,” said Father James Bretzke, Boston College professor.
But Father Bretzke, a professor at BC, picking Cardinal O’Malley shows the direction the pope wants to take his papacy in.
“Contact with the poor, sensitivity, humility -- Cardinal O’Malley irritates some people by not wearing his red vestments all the time and coming around in his Franciscan robes,” said Father Bretzke.
Cardinal O’Malley will still be stationed in Boston, where many people say they’re excited about the committee.
“A lot of times, the institution is so large that you sort of feel separate from Rome and the Vatican, so I think it will be good to have some more of a connection with the church,” said Ali Coyle, Boston College student.
“Sometimes the way the Catholic church structures things compared to the way we live our lives now don’t always jive. And I think every now and then you need to make changes in the church,” said Veronica Glennon, a Boston College student.
Many Catholics at BC say those changes are much needed.
“It’s not that the Vatican bureaucracy is evil or corrupt, but it is traditional and entrenched, and they all work on their own little turfs -- safeguarding their own turf. And it makes it, organizationally, not well-functioning,” said Father Bretzke.
The Vatican says Pope Francis appointed the advisers following suggestions that emerged during meetings in the run-up to the conclave that elected him.
A reform of the Vatican bureaucracy was a constant drumbeat ahead of Pope Francis' election, as well as calls for making the Vatican more responsive to the needs of bishops around the world.