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Globus: Ten years with Pope Francis

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On the achievements, contradictions and critical points of the pontificate of the first Jesuit and the first South American to head the Roman Catholic Church

Pope Francis is considered by some to be a progressive pope and a thorn in the side of the conservative current. But the truth is much more complicated, and above all it is influenced by the often contradictory actions of the Pope himself.



The election of Jorge Bergoglio as the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church for Initiates was no surprise. He was already considered one of the favorites at the conclave before the Cardinals elected Joseph Ratzinger in 2005. When he was chosen in 2013, the first Pope Francis was given two clear tasks: to clean up the management of the Vatican Curia and its financial operations – and to bring the center of the Church, Rome, closer to the peripheries.

What was surprising was Bergoglio’s expansion of the papal agenda. Freshness was brought by his unencumbered dialogue with other Christian churches and other religions, highlighting the intense contacts with the Muslim world. The Catholic community and progressive non-believers were particularly charmed by his simple lifestyle, concern for the poor and defense of defectors. The Church, as envisioned by Francis, is supposed to become more inclusive of social groups that previously felt marginalized.

There is not one Pope, there are two PopesBut a decade later, the Roman Catholic Church was dismembered. Vaticanist of the Roman daily Messaggero Franca Giansoldatifor example, believes that the Pope acted in an exclusive manner during these years: “He insisted on his reforms and did not consider the opinions of the so-called conservatives.” Yes “With his personality, on the one hand, Francis attracts people strongly, but on the other, he strongly repels them,” so does her much more lenient colleague from the Repubblica daily Iacopo Scaramuzzi. He reminds that even after his departure from the leading position, the Argentine Jesuit province remained split between Bergoglio and anti-Bergoglio. “We really have two popes: Pope Francis and Pope Bergoglio,” adds the editor of the respected independent Vatican portal Sismografo Luis Badillafor whom Bergoglio is a monarch and authoritarian sovereign, very different from the more publicly known Francis: the Pope of mercy, direct pastoral care and civility.


Photo: Reuters

There is no shortage of contradictions…… are noticeable at different levels. After ten years, many people question the success of his renewal of the Church in the direction of greater openness in the original spirit of the Gospel. It is difficult to judge its effects on the peripheries of the Catholic world, to which Francis pays a lot of attention – and in its center, in Rome, churches are more empty than in 2013, which often also applies to religious events in St. Peter’s Square. One of the reasons for this, according to our interlocutors, is the inflation of Francis’ public appearances, interviews and books, which made the papal figure too loud to be heard. Castel Gandolfo, where the popes spent at least part of their summers for four hundred years, is also empty; Pope Francis put an end to the tradition, and the papal palace in the idyllic Pririm area by Lake Albano became a museum.

A similar observation is also made in the Pope’s synodal work. Francis often opens the door to the demands of progressive currents in the Church, and when he collides with the opposition, the reform process stalls. “With the Synod on the Family and its final document Amoris Laetitia, the Pope allowed the individual treatment of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. It is a very controversial point between him and the conservative right in the Church. And I think the same thing will happen with the next synod – the synod on synodality in the Church,” says Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press agency.

Abuses and Pope FrancisThe fight against abuses in the Church has risen to the top of Francis’ list of tasks in the past decade. Already in the first years of his pontificate, he initiated some measures and established the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Church, but as Nicole Winfield believes, “he did not understand the dynamics of abuses and even the role of the church hierarchy in their concealment.” Our interlocutors agree that the turning point happened exactly in the middle of the past ten years: with the papal trip to Chile.

What about Rupnik?Francis has repeatedly advocated for zero tolerance of sexual violence in the Roman Catholic Church, but the scope of perceived abuse has expanded over the years. The Rupnik case opens a new chapter in the issue of abuse of power, as it is reflected through the manipulation of adults, even if they may not belong to vulnerable groups. At the same time, it calls into question Francis’ commitment to transparency. You know: who abolished the excommunication of a Slovenian Jesuit the year before last, if not him?

Broadcast by Globus, on Tuesdays at 9:40 p.m., on TVSLO 1.

Source: Rtvslo

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