Eight cardinals began closed-door meetings with Pope Francis on Tuesday (October 1) to help him reform the Vatican's troubled administration, known as the Curia.

Francis, who has brought a new style of openness, simplicity and a conciliatory tone to the papacy, wants to consult more with Church officials around the world before making decisions affecting the life of the 1.2-billion-member Church.

Some of the topics expected to be discussed are how to give women a greater role in the Church short of the priesthood, financial reform, the position of divorced Catholics, and the continued fallout from the worldwide sexual abuse crisis.

Francis announced the papal advisory board of cardinals, revolutionary for a Church steeped in hierarchical tradition, a month after his election as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years and the first from Latin America.

The pope's decision to take advise from the cardinals is a clear sign that he intends to take seriously calls from within the Church for de-centralisation in a traditionally top-heavy institution.

After three days of meetings, the eight cardinals will accompany Francis to the central Italian hill town of Assisi on Friday (October 4).

Presented by Adam Justice