Friday, September 30

The Pope buries the rumors of resignation and forces the Curia to accept the laity in the government of the Church


“We have opened a process, we start from a base, but it does not end there.” With these words, Pope Francis closed the extraordinary Consistory that, over two days, has brought together almost 200 cardinals in the Vatican to discuss the future of the Church. A meeting without an agenda or prohibited topics, which many had described as little less than a pre-conclave in which Bergoglio would choose his successor and resign.

The Pope gathers the cardinals to reflect on the future of the Church

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Nothing is further from reality: despite his obvious mobility problems –Francisco practically never leaves his wheelchair–, the Pope’s resignation is further away than ever. “The Church is governed with the head, not with the knees,” he assured elDiario.He is one of the cardinals who participated in the meeting.

Francis wanted all the cardinals in the world (only twenty of the 229 failed, between voters and non-voters) to put on a face, get to know each other and recognize each other so that, from then on, he could start a process that should conclude with a sort of refoundation of the ecclesiastical institution.

Because the Pope’s meeting with the cardinals intended, in principle, to explain to the cardinals the keys to Praedicate Evangelium, the reform of the Curia that, as the Pontiff has made clear, does not affect only the Vatican, but all ecclesial bodies. A profound reform, which addresses the role of the laity (and women) in positions of responsibility within the Church, seeks to place the institution in ‘synodal mode’ to make it more participatory and is committed to financial transparency after the successive scandals that, even today, have a cardinal in the dock.

With the presence of controversial cardinals

A cardinal, Becciu, was personally invited by the Pope to participate in the event, although the Holy See was quick to assure that he had not been rehabilitated and that, today, he was still a cardinal emeritus, without real responsibilities. In any case, their presence has been counted on, as well as that of the late Cardinal Barbarin (whose resignation the Pope accepted after being tried for covering up abuses) and that of the reborn Cardinal Pell, who now lives in Rome after being acquitted of his conviction for abuse, and waiting to be tried again for pederasty in Australia.

There are things in the Vatican networks that not even a Pope seems able to control. Nor was he able (or willing) to prevent the attendance of another of the cardinals who, since the beginning of his pontificate, have attacked Francis more viciously, calling him a “heretic” for allowing communion for the divorced and remarried.

“The Pope said that he was comforted by what he had heard and happy because it is a process that is done together. In other words, the Curia does not belong to the Pope, it belongs to the whole Church, whose communion the Pope presides over. And all of them make the curial reform belong to the whole Church”, Cardinal Filoni valued, at the end of the meeting. Cardinal Kasper, one of Bergoglio’s chief theologians, pointed out that “there is a will to work together.” Far from other appointments, where more bitter debates took place on doctrinal questions, in this meeting the Senate of the Pope assumed with surprising ease a reform that, in practice, eliminates a good part of his power, to open it to the faithful within the framework of the synodal process.

The structures are not to impose, but to evangelize

“We are all involved”, pointed out the Cardinal of Barcelona and President of the Episcopal Conference, Juan José Omella. “Not only the cardinals and those who work in the curiae, but also bishops, priests, parents and all the baptized”, he clarified, admitting that “the Church and all the structures are not there to control, to impose, but to evangelize . The problem is how.” For many, the problem is when, after so many centuries of a rigid structure that, despite the openness shown these days, will surely not have said the last word about it.

In his homily to close the meeting, Francis called attention to “the temptation to feel ‘up to the task’, to feed the false security that the current situation is actually different from that of those beginnings, and that today the Church it is great, it is solid, and we are placed in the eminent degrees of its hierarchy”, in a new attack on what has always been considered the great ‘cancer’ of the institution: clericalism.

In front of almost all the cardinals in the world –among them, 13 Spaniards, which makes our country the third in number of princes of the ChurchBergoglio called for changing this situation with actions, giving the faithful a voice, including them in decision-making. In the coming days, some of these wishes will come true: many current Vatican ‘ministers’ will step down from their posts. Surely we will see lay people in their place and, most likely, a woman as head of the Dicastery.

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