Sunday, May 4, 2014
THE ENIGMA THAT IS POPE FRANCIS
Sandro Magister who writes the Chiesa Blog has a good article on Pope Francis which you can read by pressing this sentence.
Here are some money quotes:
Francis is the most popular pope in history.
And yet Bergoglio is anything other than tender with what he calls the dominant "uniform thought," atheist and "libertine," the "new opium of the people." His vision of the world is apocalyptic, of a cosmic battle with the devil as the great adversary. He speaks of it often, especially in his morning homilies. He is not silent about his aversion to the advent of new self-proclaimed families without "the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother." He is inflexible in calling abortion an "abominable crime."
But where Francis has most revealed this style of his was in the basilica of Saint Peter on March 27, at the Mass he celebrated in front of more than five hundred Italian ministers, deputies, and senators. Not a smile, not a greeting. And a homily full of reproofs in which the key word was "corruption." A word that in Bergoglio's lexicon indicates the hardening of the sinner in his sin, whatever that may be, which blocks him from accepting the forgiveness of God. But which was understood by almost everyone, including the politicians present, in its contemporary meaning as the specific crime that goes under that name.
The "who am I to judge" that has become the key to the narration of this pontificate certainly applies, as he has said, to the homosexual of good will who is in search of God, but on many other things and persons Francis judges and in spades, siding for or against and giving first and last names.
He did not hold back from aiming against Nunzio Scarano, the monsignor of the curia arrested for financial crimes but still awaiting sentencing, the stinging words: "He does not resemble the blessed Imelda."
Nor is he silent when it comes to supporting the needs of workers, as he did on the Wednesday after Easter, when he came to the defense of the four thousand workers of the steel mill of Piombino at risk of closure.
On the question that has come to be the central object of the dispute, communion for the divorced and remarried, Francis continually alternates flexibility and firmness. When some of the leading bishops in Germany were sending out signals of a breaking of the ranks in favor of communion, the pope had another German, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith Gerhard Ludwig Müller, give a stern order to halt in "L'Osservatore Romano."
But then he brought forward, as the only speaker at the consistory called to discuss the question, yet another German, the cardinal and theologian Walter Kasper, who has fought for thirty years to relax the ban on communion. And he sided with him, warmly praising him even after other cardinals had risen up against him.
"Everything depends on how 'Humanae Vitae' is interpreted. Paul VI himself, in the end, urged confessors to be very merciful and pay attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to take a stand against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to exercise a cultural restraint, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not that of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral care takes into account situations and what it is possible for persons to do."