The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for three days: Monday, September 12; Tuesday, September 13; and Wednesday, September 14. All the members of the Council were in attendance, except for Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) who was absent for pastoral reasons. Pope Francis was absent from this morning's meeting while he was in Saint Peter's Square for the General Audience.
On Monday and Tuesday, the Cardinals concelebrated Mass with the Pope at the Casa Santa Marta.
The meetings were held in the mornings from 9:00am until 12:30pm and during the afternoons from 4:30pm to 7:00pm and were devoted in large part to additional considerations about the way in which the various departments of the Curia can better serve the mission of the Church. In particular, this time the focus was on the Congregations for the Clergy, for Bishops, for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, was present for one of the sessions, during which he reported both on the work of the Congregation and on that of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The Cardinals reflected extensively on the spiritual and pastoral profile required for bishops today. They also addressed the topic of the diplomatic service of the Holy See, and training and tasks assigned to apostolic nuncios, with particular attention to their great responsibility in the choice of candidates for the episcopate.
During this round of meetings, the Council considered the theme of diakonia of justice and an extensive dossier on the role of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The Council of Cardinals also examined the latest steps already taken in the process of reforming the Curia, especially with the establishment of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The Secretariat for Communications delivered a dossier to the Cardinals on the progress of reform in that dicastery, and details about the next steps that are planned.
Finally, the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell, reported on the latest developments in that Dicastery, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley highlighted the new developments of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors over which he presides.
The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place on the 12th, 13th, and 14th of December, 2016.