Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Rebuild My Church

In the wake of the election of Pope Francis, many are likely recalling St. Francis of Assisi and every tale from the Little Flowers they can remember. The one that comes to mind today is the story of how the Rule of St. Francis came to be approved. Chesterton tells the story...

Innocent III, the great Pope, according to Bonaventura, was walking on the terrace of Saint John Lateran, doubtless revolving the great political questions which troubled his reign, when there appeared abruptly before him a person in peasant costume whom he took to be some sort of shepherd. He appears to have got rid of the shepherd with all convenient speed; possibly he formed the opinion that the shepherd was mad. Anyhow he thought no more about it until, says the great Franciscan biographer, he dreamed that night a strange dream. He fancied that he saw the whole huge ancient temple of Saint John Lateran, on whose high terraces he had walked so securely, leaning horribly and crooked against the sky as if all its domes and turrets were stooping before an earthquake Then he looked again and saw that a human figure was holding it up like a living caryatid; and the figure was that of the ragged shepherd or peasant from whom he had turned away on the terrace. Whether this be a fact or a figure it is a very true figure of the abrupt simplicity with which Francis won the attention and the favour of Rome.

The pontificate of Pope Francis is barely a day old and already the knives are out. The liberals are angry because there will be no change in their pet causes, namely abortion, marriage and women's ordination. They are disappointed that Pope Francis is a Catholic. The traditionalists are angry because he celebrates the same mass I attend regularly and he might prove to be somewhat low church. His appearance on the balcony clad in only the cassock was apparently enough to send some into paroxysms of shock and horror. Moreover, the fact that he is a Jesuit condemns him in in the eyes of those who cannot conceive of a Jesuit loyal to the pope. At some point his record during the Argentine military dictatorship will be bandied about in much the same way Pope Pius XII's name has been smeared. Enough of this silliness.

Personally, I was pleased to see that they had elected an outsider. Anyone who reads this blog regularly is aware of a serious imbalance in the curia giving the Secretariat of State power over all other congregations and making stato second only to the pope. Only an outsider can deal with this situation and if the outsider speaks Italian then so much the better. The real question is who will be named to head the various offices left vacant by the sede vacante. If we see new blood then we can perhaps hope. If we see a bunch of Sodanistas in key positions then we might have cause for worry.

The task ahead of Pope Francis is truly daunting. He must deal with the abuse crisis, the banking scandal and a curia that is seriously in need of reform. He must carry on the new evangelization and bring the gospel to a world that has grown increasingly hostile to the good news. His task is no less daunting than that of his namesake walking to Rome with a handful of companions to speak to Pope Innocent III. May God go with him on the road he must travel.

 

6 comments:

Vox Cantoris said...

He is our Pope. Liturgically speaking, there is room to grow. If he is as humble as he seems, then in time he will submit to his position and the grace of the office will work on him. I am not worried.

As for reforms; How does a man of 76 deal with this any better than Benedict did at 78 when he was elected? I truly hope he can do it. I feel sorry for him; I thought he looked absolutely childlike last night on the loggia, "what have they done to me?"

Freyr said...

Benedict and Francis are two different people. Anyone who has presided over a Jesuit province is quite accustomed to herding cats and may be just what we need. moreover, Benedict for all his desire for reform was still a curia insider and may not have had the same point of view as an outsider.

Freyr said...

Good news...
Apparently Fr. Lombardi was one of the first people summoned by the new pope this morning. Under Benedict he had no direct contact with the pope, instead receiving his orders from the Secretariat of State. This has changed overnight. He will hold a press conference on Saturday.

Barona said...

I believe a Franciscan Pope condemned the Jesuits.

Barona said...

Let us see what happens over this year. let us see what reforms - massive - are enacted upon the all-seeing, all-knowing Stato. Hopefully governance of the Holy See will not only entail heads rolling at the Secretariat, but actual fundamental changes via a new apostolic constitution on governance.

Barona said...

Amen - by the way - to your post.