Pope Francis plans sweeping reform after Vatileaks scandal
Pope Francis has put the Vatican hierarchy on notice of sweeping changes as he prepares this week to study a secret report into skulduggery and intrigue within the Roman Catholic Church's dysfunctional governing body.
The "Vatileaks" scandal of last year, in which Benedict XVI's butler was caught stealing and leaking documents to the press, revealed infighting, nepotism and alleged corruption within the Curia, the church's governing body.
On Saturday, the Pope ruled that senior administrators in the Vatican bureaucracy will temporarily keep their posts while he studies what changes may be required.
Hopes for sweeping reforms were bolstered by the language of an announcement that its members would "provisionally stay in their respective posts until it is decided otherwise".
"The Holy Father, wants, in fact, to give himself a certain amount of time for reflection, prayer and dialogue before any appointments or definitive confirmations," the Vatican said.
Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus, commissioned three senior cardinals to investigate the Vatileaks affair, amid suspicions that Paolo Gabriele, the butler, did not act alone in trying to expose what he called "evil and corruption" within the administration of the Holy See.
The cardinals presented the full version of their report to Benedict in December, and he handed it over to his successor when he resigned. Pope Francis was urged to act quickly on reforming the Curia by Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian cardinal and old friend.
"Reform should begin with choosing the right people for the orientation of the church that the Pope wants – a missionary church with more dialogue," Cardinal Hummes, the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, said. The new Pontiff received a rockstar welcome yesterday when he addressed an estimated 150,000 people in St Peter's Square for his first Angelus prayer, which takes place each Sunday at noon.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who surprised the world with his election as Pontiff last week, delighted the crowds with his first words: "Brothers and sisters, buongiorno!", and his last, when he said: "Have a good Sunday and a great lunch."
Shortly after the address, he issued his first tweet. "Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and ask you to continue to pray for me," he wrote.
Francis will be officially installed as Pope at a special Mass tomorrow. (© Daily Telegraph, London)