(Buenos Aires / Rome) Today December 17 Pope Francis celebrates his 78th birthday. In the morning he enjoyed a tango that was danced by thousands of "aficionados" in his honor in St. Peter's Square. The Osservatore Romano published a page from the Pope's biography appearing in Argentina, which lays particular value on the Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the conclusion and signing in his own hand.
The book entitled Aquel Francisco was written by two Argentine journalists, Javier Cámara and Sebastian Pfaffen (see separate report Bergoglio as "Brilliant but Crazy" Was Sent Into "Exile" ). Both come from Cordoba in Argentina, where the publisher is located. The focus of the book lies in the reconstruction of the two phases in the life of the current Pope, which he spent in a provincial Argentine town. These were the two years of the novitiate of 1958-1960 and the two years of exile without any appointment, to which he had been sent by his Superiors 1990-1992. An exile, which Pope Bergoglio today often referred to as an "internal cleansing".
Aquel Francisco - the Autobiographical Biography
In December 2013, the Pope had been informed by the Archbishop of Cordoba during a visit to Rome, that the two journalists were going to write a book about this double period. Pope Francis picked up the phone and called the two."Not once, but several times, and would not let his grip loose.," said Vatican expert Sandro Magister about the episode. The Pope began and intense correspondence via e-mail with Cámara and Pfaffen, describing his memories and makinng the biography a kind of autobiography. From an "autobiografia Cordobana" says Magister, since the book is peppered with direct statements in quotes. It deals with stories and appraisals.
"There are two main points of the book which arouse curiosity," says Magister. This applies initially to the real reasons that led to the fact that the former Argentine Jesuit Superior Bergoglio fell out of favor with his brothers. The current Pope was at the head of the Jesuits in Argentina in the 70s, to be exact 1973-1979. He was sent into exile in 1990 by Father Victor Zorzin, who was close to Father Bergoglio. Father Zorzin was namely Bergoglio's Vice, when he was Order Provincial. In 1986 Zorzin was elected Provincial. It's an office which he held until 1991.
Why Did Bergolio's Brethren Want to Get Rid of Him?
Between Zorzin and Bergoglio there were great differences of opinion about the nature of religious leadership. The same was true between Bergoglio and Zorzin's successor, Father Ignacio García-Mata, who was Provincial from 1991-1997 Provincial and thus for a time when Bergoglio was already progressing in a new career outside of his order. It was in 1992 that Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires, and in 1997, Archbishop Coadjutor, eight months later, and finally in February 1998, as archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina.
According to the two authors there were internal disagreements in the order which resulted in a thunderous "smear campaign" against Father Bergoglio. A campaign whose echo was heard as far as Rome and penetrated to the former General of the Order, the Dutchman Peter Hans Kolvenbach. They had the rumor circulated, as such, but Father Angel Rossi, the current Superior of the Jesuits branch in Cordoba confirmed in a book that the "once so brilliant" Ex-Provincial had been exiled, "because he had become sick, crazy.'
The "Parallel-Superior" Bergoglio
In 1979, there followed Provincial Bergolio, Father Andrés Swinnen, who remained always connected to his predecessor, provides a more substantial explanation of exile. Bergoglios "sin" was that after his mandate as Provincial ended, he continued as leader of a faction within the province of the order and tried to exert influence.
First they had made him the rector of the Colegio Maximo de San Miguel. Then he was sent to the doctoral program in Germany. But in Frankfurt he stayed only briefly. In the few months that he was in Germany, he traveled extensively and visited the various branches Jesuits. They had tried to deport him from Argentina. This also explains the reason why he never came to the official residence to study, but after a short time he succeeded in returning to his homeland. Now he was sent to the Colegio del Salvador where he taught theology. But for whatever reason he was also sent there, he joined "as a parallel-head", said Father Swinnen. In this way he influenced many Jesuits, especially younger brothers. Within a decade, from 1979, the end of Bergoglios term as Provincial, until his exile in 1990 more than 100 young Jesuits left the Argentine Jesuit Order and gave up their priesthood.
Exodus from the Order, For Which Bergoglio Was Blamed
The Exodus was blamed on Bergoglio. A "large part of those exiting belonged to a group who were not on Bergoglio's page, but rather wanted to get rid of him," said Father Swinnen. Whether at his side or against him, the former Provincial played a central role in the province's internal conflict.
The book provides no detailed background information about the reasons of the conflict. Was it only in the personality of Bergoglio and other actors, or it was about substantive issues of doctrine and church order? Neither the reigning pope nor Jesuits cited in the book seem to want to "warm up" to the former controversies that led to such a tangible conflict.
Writings in Cordoban Exile
So far, it is known that Pope Francis has written a book in his life. His written legacy is limited to shorter posts and forewords for some books of others, as well as two brochures that appeared after he became the opponent of Joseph Ratzinger in the conclave of 2005. Even at this time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he made use of Manuel Fernandez as a ghostwriter . He made him rector of the Pontifical University of Buenos Aires, Titular Archbishop, Synod of Bishops on the family and the official papal lyricist. Even the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium comes largely from his pen. This is not unusual for statesmen and leaders in.
All the more surprising that Pope Francis says in the book that you wrote in his exile Cordobaner two books. The books are entitled "Reflexiones de esperanza" (Thoughts on hope) and especially "Corrupción y pecado" (corruption and sin) and my brochures. The latter took his text output because of a tragedy, the murder of a 17-year-old in 1990 by members of high society 2014 he also appeared in German translation.
Evangelii Gaudium and Romano Guardini
"Corruption" is a topic that Pope Francis addresses in his sermons over and over again. The Catholic Church leader is said to have resumed the study of Romano Guardini in exile, to complete his dissertation on the German religious philosopher. "I did not manage to finish it, but this study has helped me a lot in what later came to me, including the transcript of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , part of which is taken on the social criteria entirely of my thesis about Guardini ".
The never completed dissertation is not known, but in Evangelii gaudium there is actually a detailed quote by Guardini from his work published in 1950, "The End of Modern Times". The quote is found in paragraphs 217-237, where the Pope sets out the criteria that should be followed in order to advance the promotion of the common good and social peace.
To what extent his style of leadership, whether as a provincial and "parallel-superior" then as archbishop or pope are in relation to Guardini's criteria, would require a separate investigation.
Text: Settimo Cielo / Giuseppe Nardi
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