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Official says Vatican's job is to listen, not police

A leading official of the Roman Curia has said the Vatican should have "more respect for, and listen to, the local churches", and not behave as if its role is simply "to instruct, to teach, and to correct".

President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, the told the Italian magazine, Famiglia Cristiana that there is need for greater autonomy for local dioceses.

He cited the example of liturgical translations.

"No one here knows the Japanese language," he said. "But a text in that language must obtain the approval of the Holy See before it can be used."

Cardinal Hamao also argued that local churches should have greater latitude for independent action in pastoral matters.

He said he would favour convening a new council, in which Church leaders could discuss "the necessity of greater autonomy for the local churches." Synod meetings, he said, do not provide an adequate setting for that discussion, as the synod has only consultative powers.

Vatican official wants greater independence for local churches (Catholic World News 11/12/03)

Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao (
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Famiglia Cristiana


12 Dec 2003