A cardinal and canon lawyer has denied reports that he is involved in changing the papal election process to make it more synodal.
The Pillar and The Remnant websites reported Nov. 4 that Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, an expert in Church law closely associated with the Vatican, had been tasked by Pope Francis with drafting revisions to conclaves.
The changes being considered, they reported, include changing pre-conclave meetings, called general congregations, to employ Synod on Synodality-style small-group discussions and limiting participation in those meetings to cardinals eligible to vote — that is, cardinals under 80.
“I do not know anything about it and any implication I have in it is a pure lie,” Ghirlanda told EWTN News via email on Monday morning.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni also denied knowledge of such a document in a statement to CNA Nov. 6.
The Remnant also reported Nov. 4 that Pope Francis is considering a proposal by Ghirlanda to allow laypeople to participate in the conclave, including the vote for a new pope.
The Pillar, citing “a senior canon lawyer close to the Vatican,” reported that knowledge of the process to reform conclaves “is widespread in Vatican canonical circles, as is the role of Cardinal Ghirlanda.”