Thursday, July 25, 2013

Apparently Nobody Expected Pope Francis To Actually Be Francis

Pope Francis means better days ahead for Latin American liberation theologians like Leonardo Boff.  What a change that is for this man.

I have to laugh a bit.  Yesterday I read that Archbishop Chaput is concerned that Pope Francis remember right wing Catholics who are not all that enamored with Pope Francis' view of the Church.  Today I read via Vatican Insider that Liberation theologian Leonardo Boff is more than happy with Pope Francis and his view of the Church. Maybe Chaput has a point about the right wing sensing the tide is turned if Lenoardo Boff is this enthusiastic.  Very few theologians labored on as well as Boff did under the onslaught directed at liberation theologians conducted by the JPII/Benedict church.  Not only have the monarchical externals of the Papacy been mothballed, but so has the autocratic papacy.  The poor are first and the careerists are beginning to see they might suddenly be last.  My how things have changed.

The following is the entire Vatican Insider by Andrea Tornielli, and here is the link to the NCR interview by John Allen with Archbishop Chaput.

Bergoglio sets about rebuilding the Church, just as St. Francis did

 Andrea Tornielli - Vatican Insider - 7/24/2013
“Three weeks before Bergoglio’s election, I tweeted: Francis is going to be the next Pope because as St. Francis did, the Church needs someone who can restore its lost credibility…” Leonardo Boff no longer wears a habit after his clash with Rome over his theological beliefs. He left the Franciscan order and is now married but his beard, which is whiter than ever, looks exactly the same as when he was still a friar. The Liberation Theologian whom Joseph Ratzinger never managed to tame, talks to Italian newspaper La Stampa about the visit to Brazil of the first Latin American Pope in the history of the Catholic Church.

Were you surprised by the welcome Francis received from the crowds in Rio de Janeiro?
“No, this enthusiasm stems from Francis’ simplicity, from the fact that he came without a huge security apparatus, that he wanted to drive through the city in a simple car and with the windows always down, that he let people approach and touch him and from the fact that he stopped to give children kisses. You can see he is a pastor, a bishop amongst his people. He is not a king.”

Francis decided to kick off his trip to Rio with a visit to the Shrine of Aparecida. Why?
“Because this is where Latin American bishops met in 2007 and published a document which refocuses on the poor and confirms that certain methods of evangelisation are out of date and need to be changed. The Church needs pastors who smell more like sheep than of the flowers on the altar.

Francis has shown his deep devotion to the Virgin Mary and the importance he attributes to popular piety. These are not really aspects that are close to liberals’ hearts…
“Oh but they are. They are closely linked to Liberation Theology. In Argentina this developed especially as a people’s theology, developed by the Jesuit Juan Carlos Scannone, who taught Bergoglio. The Pope is close to this theological thinking. It is not to do with popular pietistic devotion but with a devotion that preserves people’s identity and strives for social justice.”

The Pope speaks often about the poor and at the hospital in Rio he stressed that being close to the poor means touching “the body of Jesus.” What does this mean?
“The poor are Christ’s real representatives. In a way, it is the poor person who is the real “Pope” and Christ continues to be crucified among the Earth’s condemned. Christ is crucified on the crucifixes of history.”

What changes will Pope Francis bring to the Church?
“I think a lot is going to change. Francis is not just reforming the Curia, he is reforming the papacy. His insistence on being the Bishop of Rome and his decision to live in St. Martha’s House instead of the Apostolic Palace means opening up to the world. The Pope has explained that he prefers a Church that has been in accidents but continues to go out onto the road, than an asphyctic Church which stops at the door of the temple. Now the Church has become a beacon of hope not a besieged fort that is constantly at war with modernity or customs that control and regulate faith instead of facilitating it.”

Some criticise Francis for desacralising the pontificate…
“No, he is not desacralising it. He is presenting it in its true evangelical dimension. He is the Successor of Peter and Peter was a simple fisherman. We need to eliminate the “popolatry” that has prevailed in recent decades. Cardinals are not princes of the Church but servants of the people of God. Bishops need to take part in people’s lives. And the Pope does not feel like a king. He even said to the President of Brazil: “I come here as the Bishop of Rome,” that is, as someone who leads the Church in the name of charity not Canon law.”

What effect will a Latin American Pope have on Brazil and Latin America?
“I think Francis is ware that those in power need to listen to the poor and to the young people protesting in the streets. The importance he attributes to social justice could help Latin American democracies and encourage greater participation. Brazilian democracy is a low intensity democracy: the Pope invites politicians to be true servants of their people.”

Do you regret leaving your Franciscan habit on the hanger?
“No because I may no longer wear the habit but I am still a Franciscan in spirit: I work to protect creation and to help everyone on this planet feel like brothers and sisters.”


John Allen has also posted an interview with Cardinal Dolan who like AB Chaput, is down in Rio to give catechetical lessons to WYD participants. Like Chaput, Dolan comes across like a man who is uncomfortable with where Pope Francis is leading the Church, especially his own level of the Church.  And also like Chaput, Dolan goes on about Francis allowing his handlers to control more of his life, for security purposes only--of course of course.  Dolan makes the same complaint Chaput did, but in different terms.  Chaput was worried about Francis taking care of the right wing, Dolan concerned that the constant comparisons between Francis and Benedict make Benedict, a man he 'loves', look bad.  (No Timmy, you look bad.)  This interview is also worth reading just for Dolan's take on his actions in Milwaukee.  He was just following the law.

There is also a paragraph at the end of the Dolan interview where Tim wonders if he shouldn't down scale his life style, you know, open his own doors, maybe carry his own luggage.  Like a real guy or something.  Leonardo Boff must laugh himself to sleep now.  The sun does eventually rise--even in Catholicism.


  1. Colkoch! Is there a way to contact you privately?

  2. Yeah! There may still be something left in the papacy to get excited about with Francis.

  3. Yes,

  4. Just to say what a refreshing change. God bless you Maggie

  5. I know wild, it's kind of hard to assimilate. He's the real deal, but I'm still wondering just how far he can actually clean things up without a revolution of sorts on the diocesan level. I think he's got a plan, and it's a much bigger plan than I first thought. This isn't going to be just a matter of a few heads rolling and some bureaucratic tweaks. He seems to be on a path towards completely reorienting the vision of Catholicism. He's taking it on a stage six mission in Fowler's scheme of things. This should be very interesting.

  6. If Francis turns out to be the real deal, it will be big. I hope so. You made me go back and dig out a book where I first encountered Fowler's six stages. A little irony, it was a Jesuit who introduced me to his work twenty-five years ago.