Sandro Magister looks at the intriguing fact that many of the statements of Pope Francis are quite orthodox, even as his Papacy seems to be putting in motion forces that are anything but:
VATICAN CITY, March 17, 2015 – Among the many things that Pope Francis says there are some that almost never make the front page of the newspaper. And if they do they are almost immediately swept away by other headlines of an opposing and compelling nature.
This is what happens every time he speaks as “a son of the Church” – as he loves to call himself – and as a faithful witness of tradition on questions like contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexual marriage, “gender” ideology, euthanasia.
On these questions Pope Francis is anything but silent. And when he talks about them, which is much more often than one might think, he does not budge an inch from what was said before him by Paul VI, John Paul II, or Benedict XVI.
And yet in dominant opinion, both secular and Catholic, this pope passes as an innovator who changes paradigms and breaks with the dogmas of the past, also and above all on questions of life and death that were the cross of his predecessors.
Further below is presented in chronological order an anthology of the statements of pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio on the questions indicated above, from the end of last October’s synod until today.
There are twenty-one statements in less than five months. Some of them highly polemical with the “spirit of the time.” All of them perfectly in line with the traditional doctrine of the Church. The latest also throws quite a damper on the expectations for change in the area of marriage, expectations Pope Francis has called “desmesuradas,” disproportionate.
The novelty of this pontificate is that along with these reaffirmations of perennial doctrine it also gives free rein to doctrines and pastoral practices of a different and sometimes opposite nature.
Another novelty that is no less are important is that this discord of voices is produced from within the Catholic hierarchy itself and even from other words of the pope himself that are taken up as emblems of change, starting with that “Who am I to judge” that has gone on to become the universally identifying mark of this pontificate.
It thus happens that so influential a cardinal as Reinhard Marx should say calmly at a recent press conference, in the name of the German Church and with regard to communion for the divorced and remarried:
“We are not a subsidiary of Rome. Every episcopal conference is responsible for pastoral care within its own sphere. We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we should act here in marriage and the family.”
It thus happens that an archbishop like the Italian Giuseppe Casale should arrive at admitting abortion, as he did in an interview with “Il Regno” on the reform of the Church “according to the guidelines of Pope Francis”:
“For the beginning of life we must determine when there is human life, the person, without resting on preconceived positions, because science could open new perspectives for us.”
It happens that the paradigm shift of the Church’s view on homosexuality is already largely accomplished and cast in a positive light, seeing the unprecedented numbers of homosexual churchmen who occupy important positions in the curia and are in close contact with the pope.
It is partly for this reason that the following statements of Francis are so striking, all of them being so “traditional.”
It is here that the enigma of this pontificate lies. As Fr. Federico Lombardi described it in the Jesuit magazine “Popoli”:
“That of Francis is not an organic alternative plan, it is rather the setting in motion of such a complex reality as the Church is. It is a Church on a journey. He does not impose his vision and his way of doing things. He asks for and listens to different.
Go here to read the rest. The Orthodox Catholics in this Pontificate get talk, and only talk.