Vatican Needs to Change Its Negative Image, says Marx

September 21st, 2013

Asked what Pope Francis wanted to discuss with the cardinals, Cardinal Marx recalled that the letter announcing that the Pope had selected a group of eight cardinals to advise him mentioned “quite generally” reform of the Curia. “Many problems are caused by the lack of communication between the Pope, the Curia and local bishops. We need a strong centre and that is why, as I pointed out in Rome, we must improve the Vatican’s image,” he said. Cardinal Marx also called for a change in relations between the Holy See and local Churches. “The Curia must help local Churches which are not just Roman offshoots … We must once again be able to be proud of our Roman headquarters!” he demanded.
Offering a blunt analysis of the main failings of the Church, Cardinal Marx insisted: “We are not rulers of the faithful”, adding that the Church must not rule in a feudal manner. Decisions must be “transparent”, he emphasised. Pope Francis had warned the Church of the danger of “narcissism”, Cardinal Marx recalled, before pointing out caustically that “in the final instance, an institution which no longer serves but only strengthens and fattens itself is bad for everyone … We need more supervision, control and responsibility – and in this respect, there is nothing to stop the Church learning from the world,” he said.
On the future of the Vatican Bank, he said: “Whether the Vatican needs a bank at all is debatable. I at any rate find it outrageous that an institution has been allowed to damage the Church’s reputation for decades.”
The Vatican’s chief spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, however, warned that reform-minded Catholics should not be too hopeful that Pope Francis will introduce major changes to church structures. “We know … that the Pope in the coming months will address issues that regard the governance of the Church,” he said on 13 September on Vatican Radio. “But I would not want to overestimate the aspect of so-called structural changes … What counts is the heart of the perennial reform of the life of the Church, and in this sense Papa Francesco – through his spirituality and his manner of humility and closeness – wishes to bring us closer to Jesus and make us a Church on a journey, close to today’s humanity, particularly that humanity that suffers.”
“The Pope is not one who thinks he has the organisational plan of history,” Fr Lombardi said, “[but] a person who listens to the Spirit of the Lord and tries to follow it with docility.”