(Rome) Pope Francis visited on Sunday the city of Carpi in Emilia. The diocese in the Po Valley was affected by a major earthquake in 2012. Media, and some Catholic circles were able to read a lot in the coffee grounds. Carlo Cardinal Caffara also took part in the pope's visit as emeritus Metropolitan of the adjoining Church Province of Bologna. Caffarra is one of the four notable Cardinals, who gave the Pope Dubia (doubts) on the controversial Apostolic Letter Amoris laetitia.
The five questions were not answered by the Pope until today and lie as a dark shadow over the pontificate.
Since December 2015 Matteo Maria Zuppi has been archbishop of Bologna. He belongs to the community of Sant'Egidio. As the Pope visited the episcopal church yesterday, just a few kilometers from Bologna, it was obvious that both Archbishop Zuppi and Cardinal Caffarra attended the meeting. "Both represent very different positions within the Church," said the Corriere della Sera on April 1.
The fact that Cardinal Caffarra was present and greeted by the Pope caused some speculation. At lunch in the Carpi priestly eminary, the Cardinal, on account of his rank, sat even on the Pope's right, while on the left a 95-year-old priest, the oldest member of the adjoining clergy, was allowed to sit.
But whoever thinks, as many have done, that a salutation is enough, and all is well, are mistaken. The world is not as simple as it appears to some. Some examples:
Medjugorje and the Rosary "from the Pope"
The Vatican is prepared not to recognize the supernatural nature of the Medjugorje phenomenon. This has for a long time been fixed, but one has been looking for the right way for years to make it as easy as possible for the faithful.
In September 2015 Marija Pavlovic, a "seeress" of Medjugorje, by the way a very lovable person, was referred to media reports that Rome would not recognize the "apparitions" and "messages" of Medjugorje, for she had only received a rosary from Pope Francis in the previous week. A priest had brought it to her, who had participated in a meeting with the pope and received the Rosary from the Pope. He had asked the pope whether he could bring to Marija Pavlovic. The Pope had agreed.
Things can be so simple or at least appear so. The so very important question of the supernatural nature of the apparitions is "clarified" because the pope agrees that a rosary should be brought to a seeress.
The greeting for Bergoglio critic Archbishop Aguer
Greetings from Pope Francis to Archbishop Hector Aguer
A recent example took place only a month ago. Pope Francis,l sent Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata a congratulatory note on the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Such attentions are self-evident practices in the Church. They are independent of the person's public appearance. Archbishop Aguer was the opponent of Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the Argentine episcopate. Both were, at the same time, archbishops of Buenos Aires, but represented different positions, comparable to the relationship between Archbishop Zuppi and Cardinal Caffarra in Bologna. Both were metropolitans: Aguer of La Plata, Bergoglio of Buenos Aires and thus Primates of Argentina. Between the two archbishops, the sparks flew again and again in the Episcopal Conference. With the papal election of Francis, it was finally decided which of them would prevail. Francis then made a tabula rasa among his former Argentine opponents. Archbishop Aguer is still in office, but has become rather lonely in the Episcopal Conference.
A congratulation from the pope and all is good? An office of the Vatican prepares such congratulations, which are then signed by the Pope. It's a courtesy which ultimately tells nothing about the relationship between the Pope and the Archbishop.
The same applies to the embrace of Pope Francis and Cardinal Caffarra. This greeting is customary among cardinals and bishops. A polite greeting does not mean that "everything is good" and the Dubia are also off the table.
The world is not that simple.
However, the example shows how annoying the Dubia is and how great the burden is because Pope Francis does not want to answer the questions asked.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: SMM / MiL / NMM (Screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org