Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fourth Anniversary

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Congratulations to the Holy Father on the 4th Anniversary of his election.
The rumours are, based on a Marco Tosatti piece, that even Francis' electors have had second thoughts, that is probably, natural but  there are several reason this should happen.

1 He has 'bigged up the Papacy'
After JPII, who bestrode the world, lots of Cardinals and bishops were hoping for a smaller Papacy, in which the Pope was primarily the Bishop of Rome, and interfered less in other bishops diocese.
I am not sure that there was much of a cry for national Churches but simply less paperwork from the Holy See to give bishops more time to govern their diocese.

2 The divisive nature of Pope Francis
Wherever Jorge Bergoglio has been he has brought division, in the Society of Jesus, in his diocese of Buenos Aires, and now in the Universal Church.
I would think most bishops want the Church to be at peace, and riven with internal arguments that distract from its Mission. The Pontifex, the bridge maker, should be concerned about the internal unity and healing of the Church, practically every week, Francis introduces yet another controversial issue.

3 The rise of Ultramontanists
Few of his electors  would have foreseen that the Papacy  depend not on the Dominical foundation of the Church but on the sheer personality of the current office holder, which has force men like the Archbishop Scicluna of Malta to suggest, it is said, in a way totally irreconcilable with Christian doctrine, that to hear Jesus one must listen solely to the present pope, not to Benedict XVI or to John Paul II.
The foundation of Catholicism, and its future, cannot depend on the popularity, or media spin, of one man but on truth and authenticity. If I had been an elector, even if I had grown tired, or recognised the rejection by the secular world, of the Church's formulaic doctrinal responses of the past. I would be growing increasingly anxious about the anti-intellectualism of this Papacy, which speaks to first decades of the 21st century but is unlikely to have much to say beyond it.

4 Nepotism
Whether it is sexual abuse or the Order of Malta or the appointment of bishops (then of course there is China), much in the Francis Papacy depends on who are your friends, doctrine and the law of the Church seem unimportant.

4 The Future
The Conclave that elected Benedict's main concern was, I am told, who could possibly follow the highly singular Wojtyła, in a few years time the question will be even more intense: who could possibly follow Bergoglio, who has remade the Papacy in his own image. What would be disconcerting for the future of the Papacy and the Church is that no-one knows (or understands) where it should be going.