2 Oct 2013

Vatican reform meeting

6:27 am on 2 October 2013

Pope Francis has held his first meeting with a special group of cardinals to consider ways to reform the Vatican.

The group, known as the Vatican G8, has been chosen from outside the Holy See's administration to ensure independence.

Eight cardinals from around the world are looking at ways to reshape the Catholic Church's bureaucracy.

The BBC reports the group's main task is rewrite a 1998 constitution on the workings of the Holy See's various departments. Their talks will take three days.

The Church's central administration has been hit by numerous scandals in recent years.

Pope Francis said in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper that the Vatican has become too self-interested.

"The (papal) court is the leprosy of the papacy," he said.

"It looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, in large part temporal interests. This Vatican-centric vision neglects the world around it and I will do everything to change it."

In the La Repubblica interview, Pope Francis said he wanted a missionary church like that sought by his namesake, St Francis.

"We need to give hope to young people, help the aged and open ourselves toward the future and spread love," he said.