IRVING –– One of closest advisors to the Pope was in Irving Friday to speak at one of the largest Catholic ministry conferences in the United States. The University of Dallas Ministry Conference hosted his eminence Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga.
Rodriguez served as one of the cardinals who took part in the 2005 papal conclave electing Pope Benedict XVI and in the 2013 conclave electing Pope Francis. In April of this year, Rodríguez was appointed as a chairman of the eight advising cardinals to Pope Francis.
That committee representing five continents to bring perspective to a church criticized as being run by a select few inside the Vatican.
“There was a great feeling that sometimes many things did not arrive to the Pope directly and that it was necessary to have a grass roots base,” said Rodriguez.
The cardinal is part of the pope’s reform committee known as the G8 Committee, which met for the first time earlier in October. Cardinal Rodriguez elaborated on new ideas that came out of the first meeting while in Irving.
Rodriguez predicts the role of the laity in the church will grow. An idea brought to the committee called for the creation of a special department for the lay people inside the Roman Curia, meaning someday soon lay people could have the ability to dictate law in the Church.
“One of the desires of Vatican II, to develop a true spirituality of the laity that is not imitating only the spirituality of the Priests the Bishops or the Religion,” said Rodriguez.
He also said the Church will see a renewed effort to get priests out of their churches and into their parishes, an emphasis, he says, that Pope Francis has put on missionary work.
“(Pope Francis) is encouraging the lay people and the ministers to go out of the rectories and to look for the people that are far. This is a new missionary calling,” said Rodriguez.