The reformers

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  • August 18, 2013

The eight cardinals Pope Francis chose to advise him on Vatican reform in general have reputations as strong leaders of the Church in their own countries and on their own continents.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa was instrumental in bringing the Church in Chile into a national process of truth and reconciliation after the Pinochet military dictatorship relinquished control. The retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile, has been president of the Chilean bishops conference and of the influential Latin American bishops’ conference known as CELAM. He served briefly in the Vatican.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx is the author of Das Kapital: A Plea for Man and is considered one of Europe’s leading exponents of Catholic social teaching. The former head of the Bavarian bishops’ conference has also been president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community.

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya helped lead the Democratic Republic of Congo out of one of its many crises of political stalemate and violence. In 1994 he was president of the High Council of the Republic and served as speaker of the transitional parliament.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is another former head of CELAM noted for his outspoken criticism of Central America’s self-serving political class and a constant fighter on behalf of the poor. He is a former president of Caritas Internationalis.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai is president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. As a canonist and bishop he has helped set up marriage tribunals throughout Asia.

Australian Cardinal George Pell has previously been consulted by the Vatican as a member of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See.

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has been the most important man in the American hierarchy facing the sexual abuse crisis. The Capuchin Franciscan sold property, closed parishes, trimmed bureaucracy and has spoken constantly of the mission of the Church.

Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello at first appears to be a traditional Italian Vatican insider, but the head of the commission which governs the Vatican city state has only been in Rome since 2011. The career diplomat lived through the genocide in Rwanda and has served in Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela and with United Nations institutions in Geneva.

Some reports suggest Pope Francis may add a voice from the Middle East at a later date.

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