Saturday, September 14, 2013
DID POPE FRANCIS' STRATEGY FOR PEACE IN SYRIA, MIDDLE EAST AND THE WORLD WORK?
Evidently, in part it has worked and may open the path to more substantial peace in Syria. What a difference a mere week makes. Last Saturday at this time, there was the 4 hour prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square. This week the New York Times is reporting the following:
GENEVA — The United States and Russia reached a sweeping agreement on Saturday that called for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014 and indefinitely stalled the prospect of American airstrikes.
Coupled with the prayer vigil, Pope Francis wrote a personal letter to Russian President Putin asking him to do all he could to avert a wider war in Syria. It seems that Putin took the pope's words to heart and has come off as a major player for peace in this region while President Obama looks like the despot ready to shoot from the hip to prove American superiority. Who is the dictator here and how could there have been such a reversal of roles over the last 25 years?
What Pope Francis has done is to place the Vatican back on the world stage of dipolmancy and working to ease world tensions. This is good news indeed. We will see more of this sort of thing with the new Secretary of State at the Vatican, Archbishop Parolin who is a seasoned diplomat.
On a lighter note, the scuttlebut in Rome is that Pope Francis isn't going to be making any new monsignors any time soon. My heart is broken. :) I'm sure it is all about triumphalism and overcoming it in the Church.
There are rumors too that those who head Vatican dicasteries don't have to be cardinals. I suspect they don't have to be bishops either. So this will open the door for laity, men and women to take on these roles.
One has to wonder too, if Pope Francis will name new cardinals or wait until his gang of 8 to help him decide on monsignors and cardinals. Maybe he will come up with another way to elect a pope without cardinals. Who knows. But my clarevoyance is starting to get suspiciouos of my next door neighbor!
Finally, my next door neighbor, His Holiness, Pope Francis told a Roman congregation this week that empty convents should be used for refugees and the like.
There are rumors too, that the former papal palace may be opened to such use too.
What a great time to be in Roma overlooking our Holy Father!