changes says Archbishop
by nail DiMmler in Rome ARCHBISHOP Achille Silvestrini, Secretary of the Vatican's Council for the Public Affairs of the Church (or Foreign Ministry) has denied a battle for power is in course as part of plans to reform the Roman curia.
Asked during a news conference on Tuesday how he thinks his office will be affected by planned reform of the Roman curia, the Italian Archbishop declined a direct answer.
But he stressed his view that his office should remain in direct contact with the one other office closest to the Pope — the Vatican Secretariat of State.
"We cannot be separated from the Pope or from the Secretariat of State," Archbishop Silvestrini said. "For me the problem of curia reform is not one of anyone's greed for power, but rather of what ways the Holy Father has of handling affairs."
The Archbishop said the Pope must have "an organ he can consult at short notice" and that this role has so far been shared' by the Public Affairs Council and by the Secretariat of State.
The Public Affairs Council, one of the highest ranking offices of' the Roman curia, is responsible for the Holy See's, diplomatic and other relations with civil governments. With the Secretariat of State, it supervises matters concerning Vatican ambassadors and envoys. It helps John Paul formulate his public statements on nonreligious issues and assists the congregation of bishops when negotiations with governments are needed to make possible the appointment of bishops.
Pope John Paul II is expected to introduce sweeping changes in the Roman curia after a special plenary assembly of the College of Cardinals he called for November 21 to 23.
Although no official confirmation exists, the reforms are expected to include the return of the Public Affairs Council to the status of congregation.
Pope Paul VI launched a four-year curia reorganisation study in 1963 that led to the publication in 1967 of the constitution Regirnini Ecclesiae Universae.
Following in the steps of his predecessor, John Paul II nominated a special curia reform commission in 1983 which drafted a new set of proposed changes. Copies of the text of the draft proposals, 160 articles in all, were distributed to all bishops with the request that they send the commission reactions and suggestions by October 15 of this year. Vatican sources say the draft report and a summary of the reactions it provoked are expected to be discussed during the assembly.of cardinals Archbishop Silvestrini told reporters that he does not oppose Curia reform as long as his office's close ties to the Pope and Secretariat of State remain