|This Photo from the NY Daily News demonstrates cell phone photography at Benedict's and Francis' papal elections. This photo strikes me as potentially prophetic about how much lay participation each will have engendered.|
Here's a couple of stories that have the rad trads going this Sunday morning. The Sunday Times article is behind a pay wall and I have been unable to find a free copy. NCR has just begun their annual donation drive so that link will begin with a video appeal.
Pope’s strongman blasts old guard aside
The pontiff is to give more women top jobs and break the grip of Italian cardinals, his key aide tells John Follain in Vatican CityJohn Follain - The Sunday TimesUK - 4/21/2013
POPE FRANCIS plans to appoint lay women to top jobs in the Vatican and to dilute the power of Italian cardinals in a radical shake-up of the Catholic Church’s government following a series of scandals.
In a move branded as “revolutionary” by Vatican watchers, the Pope last weekend appointed eight cardinals to advise him on the governance and reform of the Curia, the church’s bureaucracy which has been tainted by controversies over child sex abuse by priests, leaks of papal files and allegations of corruption.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, whom Francis named to head the panel and who is now seen as a “power behind the papal throne”, predicted a difficult fight ahead for the Argentine pontiff.
Another Vatican voice backs civil unions for same-sex couples
John Allen - National Catholic Reporter - 4/21/2013
Another veteran Vatican figure has signaled openness to civil recognition of same-sex unions, in the wake of similar comments in early February from the Vatican’s top official on the family. It’s a position also once reportedly seen with favor by the future pope while he was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The latest expression of support for civil recognition as an alternative to gay marriage comes from Archbishop Piero Marini, who served for 18 years as Pope John Paul II’s liturgical Master of Ceremonies.
“There are many couples that suffer because their civil rights aren’t recognized,” Marini said.
This is going to be one interesting papacy. I have to agree with Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, Pope Francis may have some hard sailing ahead. John Allen remarks later in his article that the comments of Archbishop Marini and the earlier comments of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family appear to be undercutting French and US Bishops. I would agree, and that's because both archbishops framed their statements as a matter of civil rights and the French and US bishops have consistently stated in one form or another that gays have no rights to a legalized form of partnership. I'm sure the same right wing argument will be leveled against women holding meaningful positions in the hierarchy--women have no rights to any leadership position in the Roman Catholic Church which would make male clerics subordinate to them. Rough sailing ahead indeed.
I don't know where all this will eventually finish. I don't think Pope Francis does either which is why hope and trust are recurring themes for him. His multiple references to the Holy Spirit at large in the Church is another indication to me that he is willing to tip a few dominoes without having to know how many will then go down. I don't know if that's a John XXIII kind of Pope or something new altogether. I do know it takes a lot of faith and a lot of courage to make major decisions, even with the best of information, not knowing precisely how it will all come out. I think that's called leadership.
I have no doubt Francis knows his main opposition will come from the right and it will come hard, strong, and not particularly Christ like. He experienced that himself over the civil union question in Argentina. This was the only issue he lost as president of the Argentine Bishops Conference. I will keep that in mind when it seems he is keeping progressives on something of a roller coaster ride.
I also think Francis is a very strategic pope. If the Rodriguez Maradiaga interview turns out to be correct, last weeks affirmation concerning the investigation of the LCWR makes some sense. If Francis intends to appoint lay women to high positions in the curia he gave the right wing a sop. Since lay women includes all sisters and nuns I will be curious to see how many religious women are included in these appointments. Personally, I would really hope one of them is Leslie Anne Knight. I have reason for my hope.
Just to review, Leslie Anne Knight was the president of Caritas Internationalis until 2011 when she was refused the necessary nihil obstat to run for another four year term. This nihil obstat was under the purview of the Secretary of State's Office and not to grant her this Vatican seal of approval was a decision of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The Cardinal who led the Board of Directors for Caritas and was sandbagged by this decision, taken completely behind his back, was none other than Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. The following is taken from the Tablet's coverage:
"Cardinal Rodríguez wrote to all directors of the 165-member international confederation on 5 February to inform them of the Vatican’s decision. The letter, which was seen by The Tablet, notes that Secretariat of State officials met a CI delegation on that same day and gave only a verbal account of why the Vatican refused to approve Dr Knight’s candidacy. The cardinal does not mention those reasons in his letter, but does say that the CI bureau, in an extraordinary meeting, “expressed their incomprehension at the reasons provided” and “reaffirmed their positive view of Lesley-Anne Knight’s work for Caritas and the Church”.
Anyway, I will be very interested in Pope Francis' appointments because there's a new dealer at the table and he is not going to use the old stacked deck. Amen.