|A Very Different View of the Vatican|
And I think that the election of Francis by the college of Cardinals says a few things that I haven't heard a lot of discussion about.
I think that the majority of Cardinals, including Jorge Maria Bergoglio, before he became Pope, were towing the party line - and by that I mean the party line as defined by Joseph Ratzinger under JPII and as Benedict - and they did not necessarily agree with what the Party was preaching. These men, unwilling to rock the boat for fear of being thrown overboard, did not always say aloud what they thought in private. Now this Francis is shaking things up. I could see him having tea, some time soon, with the Dalai Lama.
And, perhaps most significant, was Pope Francis' statement to the press corp who had assembled for an audience/press conference. "I told you I wholeheartedly imparted my blessing. Many of you don't belong to the Catholic Church, others are not believers. From my heart I impart this blessing, in silence, to each of you, respecting the conscience of each one, but knowing that each of you is a child of God: May God bless you."
I am going out on a limb of hope here: The phrase "respecting the conscience of each one" will hopefully prove to be significant.
The National Catholic Reporter has a good article about the power of symbols in Catholic culture. And this new Pope has been using symbolic gestures since the moment he was elected. Most importantly, the symbols he's using are pastoral rather than regal, inclusive rather than exclusive, communal rather than hierarchical.
There was even a report (in Gay Mystic by RJ Cameron) that, according to Leonardo Boff, a Liberation Theologian, as Archbishop he, (Bergoglio), approved an adoption of a child by a gay couple in Argentina. (unconfirmed so far) Cameron says:
Boff also says that, even though in many aspects - as those referring to contraceptives, celibacy, and homosexuality - Bergoglio followed a conservative line, as a cardinal, that was due solely to pressure from the Vatican, and maintains that there are elements that indicate that the new pope is much more liberal than that.
I have said, "wait and see". I'm thinking now that the wait may not be that long.
Oh, but they offed John Paul I only 33 days after he became Pope in 1978. I hope someone has Pope Francis' back.
And let's not forget Benedict is still lurking in the wings. What if Benny has second thoughts once Francis starts undoing all of his
That is way too Armageddon to even think about.