Cardinals Call for Decentralization, New Council
In December, a senior curial official in Rome Japanese Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, called for a new Church council “ to discuss the need for greater autonomy for the local Churches. Hamao cited complaints about liturgical translations: “No one knows Japanese here, but before being used, a text in this language must be evaluated by the Roman Curia,” he said. Hamao joins Sao Paulo Cardinal Evaristo Arns and 38 other bishops who are calling for a third Vatican Council (www.proconcil.org). (The Tablet, 11/22/2003)
In the first issue of his diocesan magazine, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly in Kerala, India said the greatest weakness of the Catholic church is the way papal authority is exercised without the participation of those concerned. He said the Indian Church had been forced “to depend on the Roman Curia for too many matters” and that canon law should be changed to decentralize the Pope’s authority. His comments received widespread coverage in India’s national press. (The Tablet, 12/20/2003 & 12/27/2003)
In an interview with the Rome paper 30 Giorni, Cardinal Godfried Danneels suggested a reduction in the power of the papacy and less focus on the personality of the pope. A different style of governance was needed in the third millennium after the Vatican’s “centralized control” of recent centuries. He called for less formal and more open bishops synods and cutting back on “endless streams” of paper from the Curia (The Tablet, 1/3/2004).