“The reform is an essential spiritual and constitutive need for the Church. Indeed, there are some ecclesial structures that can hinder and hamper dynamic evangelisation initiatives instead of supporting them”. The Bishop of Albano and secretary of the Council of Cardinals, Mgr. Marcello Semeraro, said this as he took the floor yesterday in Madrid at the international seminar on “A synodal Church: from Paul VI to Francis”. Whilst pointing out that Bergoglio “does not consider himself, strictly speaking, as a ‘reformer’”, the prelate highlighted that “the issue of reform immediately makes its appearance in the Evangelii Gaudium exhortation”, the programme of Pope Francis’ Petrine ministry. “It immediately becomes clear that reform has a missionary character for Francis”. Mgr. Semeraro went on to explain that “reform means missionary conversion” and recalled that for Bergoglio “this evangelical and missionary reform of the Church ‘can be a lengthy process’, involving a revival of the sensus fidei of all believers at all levels, and is achieved through ‘synodal processes’”. According to the bishop, the word “reform” for Pope Francis suggests the “reform of one’s life”. “When Francis speaks of ‘reformatio’ – the prelate explained -, he envisages a reform of the ecclesial structures: but first and foremost, he looks to a reform that can touch, change and transform the lives of Christians”. Finally, Pope Francis is close to the views developed by Paul VI. “Montini strongly criticised a reformism that is ‘extrinsic and polemical, simplistic and superficial, hasty and iconoclastic”. On the contrary, there is a need to advance “intellectual and moral reform, spiritual reform as the foundation for a true renewal of the Church in the post-Council period’. This was meant to be the newness of life brought forth by the Gospel”.