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Vatican official seeks to temper hopes of quick reform of dysfunctional Holy See bureaucracy

A top Vatican official is seeking to temper expectations of an imminent reform of the Holy See's dysfunctional bureaucracy, even though Pope Francis has made clear it's a key priority.

Monsignor Angelo Becciu, under-secretary of the Vatican secretariat of state, said Tuesday it was "absolutely premature to put forward any hypothesis" about the reform.

Cardinals who elected Francis pope in March insisted that fixing the Curia, as the Vatican bureaucracy is known, was a top concern.

Leaks of papal documents last year exposed the Curia as a dysfunctional family business full of petty turf battles, political intrigues and corrupt business practices.

Despite tempering expectations, Becciu acknowledged in an interview with the Vatican newspaper that Francis' decision to appoint eight cardinals to advise him on the reform was enormously significant.

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