at Monday Vatican gives us some observations to explain the method of Pope Francis:
This point of view was rejected by Fr. Piero Gheddo, a longstanding missionary. Fr. Gheddo did not directly oppose the Pope. He made his arguments when he commented on the shutting down of the only missionary magazine in Italian. That shutdown – he explained – is an outcome of the crisis of the missions. And the crisis of the vocations to missions – he went on – came from a lack of identity. Missionaries were not preaching the Gospel; they mostly dealt with social issues, leaving the announcement of the faith to the sidelines. This generated a fall in vocations to the missions and in the interest to go on mission.
A vision is likely missing now. In the end, Pope Francis gives the impression of acting in a hurry. He listens to many advisors, but then he makes decisions by himself. In some cases, Pope Francis’ choices seemed to be in continuity with those of his predecessors and with the line the Church had always followed. In other cases, there is an evident discontinuity.
In fact, one of Pope Francis’ characteristics is this swinging between two poles. For example, he appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah as Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments. And Cardinal Sarah certainly has a traditional sensitivity to liturgy, though he is not an expert. But before Sarah’s appointment, the Congregation was stripped of the officials in it that represented continuity in liturgy. Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the former Prefect, was appointed Archbishop of Valencia. And before that, with an impromptu and unexpected decision, the two under-secretaries of the Congregation, Anthony Ward and Juan-Miguel Ferrer Grenesche were dismissed. They were replaced by a single under-secretary, Corrado Maggioni, who is mostly in the (progressive) liturgical line of Archbishop Piero Marini, once St. John Paul II’s Master of Ceremonies.
Another example is given by Pope Francis’ choices at the last consistory, held in 2015. The red hat went to many bishops who in their homeland – but especially at the 2014 Synod where Pope Francis got to know them – distinguished themselves for taking a soft line on doctrinal issues, and who showed themselves to be open to innovation. Will this line be followed for the next consistory, now expected to be held in November?
Pope Francis also demonstrates a keen nose for politics. He knows when he has to wait. He is “smart,” as he admitted in his first interview that he granted to the Jesuit-run bi-monthly “La Civiltà Cattolica.” For example, Archbishop Blaise Cupich, promoted to archbishop of Chicago against all expectations, still has not received the red hat. Probably, the Pope is waiting for conditions in the American hierarchy to become more ready to accept Cupich as a cardinal. He demonstrates this same kind of waiting in the cases of other bishops. Step by step, he is carrying forward his real reform, that of the profile of bishops and cardinals.
Important indications about how Pope Francis will close the post-Synod discussion may be given by the upcoming trip to Mexico. Pope Francis will also visit Chiapas, a Mexican state characterized by the strong presence of deacons, all married. There are hundreds of them, ordained for the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, while the priests are just a few dozen.
The ordination of these deacons took place from 1959 to 2000, and was the work of then bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia. When he resigned due to age limit, ordinations were suspended following a request from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The fact that the Pope is going to visit the area might be used to show that he approves the ordination to the priesthood of ‘viri probati’, that is, men of acknowledged faith who could replace priests in some of their tasks due to the lack of priests. The practice of ordaining ‘viri probati’ was widely discussed in the past, since it is a possible opening to the married priesthood. This opening would lead to the collapse of the obligation of priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite.
Go here to read the rest. The direction of the current pontificate is clear, but the inability of the Pope to proceed in an expeditious manner where he wants to go may be a saving grace.