(Rome) The Summit curial reform approaches. Yet Pope Francis continues in his usual manner, "as he persecuted the good and promoted the bad in some cases" says the Vatican expert Sandro Magister.
At the same time, the Pope gave the ecclesiastical courts worldwide statements that have put things in a new direction with respect to marriage bond resolution.
The Reform of the Curia, Which Holds Little Interest to the Pope
From the 9th-11th February the ninth meeting of the C9 Cardinal Council convened. After the meeting on the 13th and 14th of February there will follow a regular Cardinal Consistory, which will deal with the work and proposals of the C9 Council.
Eleven months ago Pope Francis and the Cardinal Consistory remained behind closed doors in order to confront the issue of the family. The new family agenda was presented by Cardinal Walter Kasper. (By papal order) This after two days of heated verbal exchanges. Much of the Cardinals felt almost overwhelmed. The conflict was continued at the Synod of Bishops in the fall of 2014.
Next month, Pope Francis will call the Cardinals together for the second ordinary consistory of his pontificate. This time, instead of the family, curial reform is on the agenda and will renew again, albeit at a different level, a, expectedly bitter conflict behind closed doors.
A month after his election Pope Francis established an eight member Council of Cardinal advisors on 13 April 2013 that he wanted to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and in the management of the universal Church. Since the appointment of a new Cardinal Secretary of State, the Council was expanded to nine members. Since then the Council of Cardinal Advisers has been convened eight times for three days. Pope Francis was always present, except for the period of the mid-week general audiences.
Not All Proposals "Presentable"
Since then, many reform ideas are on the table, which are mutually exclusive in part. There are at least as many as the C9 Council of Cardinal Advisers has members. Some of them are not only contradictory but "not presentable," says Magister. The latter include the idea that different institutions and tribunals of the Vatican judiciary, including the Apostolic Penitentiary, could be formed into a new Law Dicastry. Thus, the separation of powers would be overriden in a serious way.
Pope Francis has not yet commented on the reform plans. For now, he seems to have the C8 and presently C9 at work, promoting a new collegiality. As a form of occupational therapy? The Pope was already known last year that he did not intend by 2016 to address the specific reforms. After his election, he established the Council, but has since ruled as a Jesuit Father General. He alone decides when and what he wants. Whatever comes to mind, he goes on, collegiality or no.
Christmas Slap in Curia
When Francis on December 22, invited the Roman Curia to the Christmas reception, he administered a tangible slap to his closest associates instead of Christmas wishes. He threw their "diseases" publicly in their faces. Fifteen pathologies the Pope said his staff suffered. "One meaner than the other," says Magister. Comparing the papal diagnosis with the papal decisions about layoffs or promotion in office, one can only marvel.
The best known of the disempowered ones is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. Among the Vaticanistas there are different public assessments, so Burke's attitude to leaving is dependent on the Vaticanist's understanding, or the Vaticanist's inclination to Pope Francis. However, all agree that this is a snubbing in the practice of the Holy See, an affront to the individual opinions. The eminent canonist whose competence and moral straightness is respectfully acknowledged even by his opponents, was deported to a meaningless position in the leadership of the Church as the patron of an ornamental guard of honor.
Among the most incredible promotions continues to include the appointment of Msgr. Battista Ricca as a domestic prelate and personal delegate of the Pope at the Vatican Bank IOR. There have been serious concerns raised about Ricca because of his dubious way of life. As a Vatican diplomat, he had given "three Apostolic Nunciatures occasion for scandal", most recently in Montevideo, where he had taken his illicit room mate. Despite the entry of his superiors to Rome, he was indeed withdrawn from active diplomatic service, but landed miraculously softly as director of the Roman Houses of the Vatican. Msgr. Ricca took over the management of the guesthouse Santa Marta and the guest house on Via della Scrofa. Also, ultimately, the diplomatic service, since in the guest houses accommodate important guests are from around the world. He made many Cardinals of friends who spent the night there, including the current Pope, who made him his confidant in terms of the Vatican Bank in June 2013.
From the Fight Against "Gay Lobby" in the Vatican to Homosexual Promotion?
As a trait of the Pope, it seems to be clear that he no longer takes back previous decisions. Whoever falls from grace, he remains. Whoever is in favor, also remains. It's truly amazing is in this context that Pope Francis in June 2013 lamented the existence of a "gay lobby" in the Vatican, against whom he wanted to proceed. In reality, the Papacy in the public eye has engaged in the unprecedented promotion of the homosexual lobby, and not just in the Vatican. This was followed by the appointment of Msgr. Ricca, who has been known as "the prelate gay lobby". As if offering a superlative for the media demand at the end of July 2013, he uttered the controversial sentence of this pontificate: "Who am I to judge?" And as a highlight to date Archbishop Bruno Forte, had been named by Francis for Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, as a recognition of homosexuality by the Church in the interim report of the Synod. The Synod Fathers rejected this passage, but Pope Francis still had them published in the paper, and adopted since it was an intergral part and the rejection of the synod only one accident that could be remedied in the second part of the Synod of Bishops in October 2015. At least this fatal impression must arise. Especially as it confirms that this approach not a go it alone by Archbishop Forte, but agreed and approved by Pope advance.
Synod of Bishops as an Instrument of Pontifical Disruption?
Pope Francis seems to want to make the Synod of Bishops, a permanent institution. This is speculation for the time being, but the evidence suggests it. It initiates discussions and lets them run wild, which had been declared closed by its predecessors. This includes the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments and the discussion on the approval of a second marriage.
Today in the Church the more or less public, far more violent undercurrent of smoldering conflict was not being imposed by external circumstances on the Church. It has been triggered directly by Pope Francis. He convened the Synod of Bishops on the family, although this was no objective need. He appointed Cardinal Kasper as sole rapporteur, knowing full well what Kasper would recite before the astonished cardinals.
Resistance of the Margins: Paradox or Emblematic?
A remarkable, but perhaps not accidental detail is that the new family agenda and the paradoxical appurtenance of "homosexuality" especially in the bishops of the "margins", particularly in Africa, parts of Asia and Eastern Europe where there is the fiercest resistance. Those "margins", Pope Francis has so often emphasized.
After the second part of the Synod of Bishops in nine months, the Pope will decide as an absolute monarch. Francis, who likes to be called "Bishop of Rome" and is hardly known as Pope, to the astonishment of all, cried at the end of the Synod of Bishops in obvious anger at the synodal resistance of Cardinal Burke and "marginal bishops" to the astonishment of all that it according to canon law he was entitled to the sole decision-making authority.
Master: "Obvious Sympathy for Progressive Wing"
The obvious sympathies of Francis fall to the progressive wing, which is led by the bishops of the German-speaking countries with their bulging coffers. The flirtation with the Orthodoxy of the East applies only to their liberal deviations from the Latin Church, the second and third marriage and the non-celibate diocesan clergy.
The progressive sympathy is otherwise more striking by conflicting signals of the pontificate clearly filtered out. The contradictions heard in sympathy for Pope Paul VI. The encyclical Humanae vitae he repeatedly stressed, praised and praised by his predecessor as a "prophet". Hardly an encyclical in Church history has come across more violent resistance and having been rejected by a number of Western bishops' conferences, including those of the German states.
In Manila, Francis added his praise for Paul VI. in the context of Humanae vitae and added that it was "very merciful in specific cases," however, also and "confessors have been asked to be very understanding." A weakening of his previous praise?
In Theory, Orthodox Paradox in Practice?
The Vatican expert Sandro Magister draws his conclusions and says that even the controversy over the divorced and remarried would "probably" end up in the same way. "Francis will stick in words the Catholic doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage, while encouraging the bishops and clergy, to have 'pastoral compassion' in practice and understanding for the failed and then re-marriages."
Paul VI, who was beatified on the closing day of the Synod of Bishops in 2014, drew with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae a storm of criticism and protest - and outside the Church and became, despite being the great innovator of the Progressives, the lonely man in the Vatican.
For Pope Francis is distinguished for the future rather to be the contradictory, "as he apparently gives both intransigents and innovators satisfaction," says Magister. If only it were not the word "apparently".
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
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