Pope Francis Appoints Vatican Reform Board

By
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 19:  Pope Francis drives through the crowds during the Inauguration Mass for the Pope in St Peter's Square on March 19, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The mass is being held in front of an expected crowd of up to one million pilgrims and faithful who have filled the square and the surrounding streets to see the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires officially take up his role as pontiff.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/2013 Getty Images

On Saturday morning, Vatican officials announced that Pope Francis had selected eight cardinals from all over the world to study 1988's Apostolic Constitution of Pope John Paul II with an eye toward reforming the Catholic Church. While the group's formation sounds like good news for those who'd hoped that Francis would usher in a period of (relative) change, a spokesman was sure to mention that "its main function is to 'advise' the pope" and that it "has no legislative power." Still, the National Catholic Reporter's John Allen points out that the advisory board's makeup — it only includes one member of the Roman Curia, which is the central governing body of the Church — at least indicates that Francis is open to listening to people outside the establishment responsible for the Vatican's current, less-than-stellar image.