Pope gets boost for reform from unlikely source

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis' efforts to reform the Machiavellian Vatican bureaucracy have gotten a vote of confidence from an unlikely source.

Italian Premier Enrico Letta praised Francis' "epochal" undertaking Tuesday, saying it could be a model for Italian public institutions in similar need of an overhaul.

Francis has named eight cardinals to advise him on reforming the dysfunctional Vatican bureaucracy. Letta said that given the speed and scope of their work, "nothing will be the same as before," in the church's internal governance.

The eight advisers who hail from five different continents began a second round of meetings Tuesday with Francis on reforming the Vatican Curia, or bureaucracy, to make it more responsive to the needs of the church on the ground. The meetings end Thursday.