Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Didn't See That One Coming

Ok, ok, so it wasn't +Ranjith or +Burke. I'll survive and so will the Church.

But I definitely didn't expect Cardinal Bergoglio. Even if we'd known with certainty that he was the 2005 runner-up. Why so? For a few reasons:

1. He's a Jesuit.
2. He's from South America.
3. I know a couple of things about the Church in Argentina. Things aren't going so well. I didn't think they'd elect someone from a place where the Church was down so much. This was the big reason I didn't think +Schonborn would be elected.
4. If there was one thing I felt that was a certainty this time around, it was that the new pope wouldn't be over 75. Well, His Holiness (boy that feels weird to type) is 76, so that shows you how much I know.

On a side note, the first thing I thought when he walked out was "Wow, he looks just like Johnathan Pryce."

Anyways, lots of folks have been emailing and calling me for my reaction. As I said before, I was shocked. Now, I'm just confused, I guess. I'm not sure what to make of this pick.

First off, since the conclave was so short, it seems pretty fair to guess that he pulled a huge amount of votes from the get-go. He allegedly topped out at 40 in 2005, so he must have brought almost all those back with him. I'm not sure who rounded out his bloc, but more on that later.

Second, I'm not exactly sure how this helps things so much if we're really to believe that governance was the main driving issue. He's not really known as a Curia guy or an administrator of any sort. He's not a big-time theologian. He isn't a dynamic personality. He is known for great personal holiness and love for the poor, though. I don't know how that equates to a guy geared up to clean house nor has it done anything to reverse the Church's decline in Argentina.

Third, this almost seems like a repudiation of Pope Benedict. I'm not going to delve into specifics, but let's just say that the push on liturgical reform is probably dead. I hope very much that he will leave Summorum Pontificum alone. There is a chance that he will not.

Fourth, all the media types who were wanting women priests and birth control and homosexual marriages are probably not in the best mood right now. He's been pretty firm on all those.

Fifth, I still can't get past the second (age) thing. Pope Benedict resigned because whatever he saw in the future of the Petrine Office appeared to entail a lot of heavy lifting. We just recruited a 76 year-old guy with one lung to do said heavy lifting. On cleaning up the Curia, I don't know where he will land. I've always thought of Cardinal Bergoglio as an establishment type of guy who wasn't into making a lot of waves. I'm already seeing reports about his having a mandate to clean up the Curia.

Does he? Or are they the ones who elected him?

We must be honest and admit that we don't know. To go to Atticus's comment below, if he picks a heavy as SecState and likewise cans Archbishop Mueller and puts in a real enforcer at the CDF, you can bet that the purge is underway. If +Bertone is re-appointed or +Sodano re-installed as Secretary of State, or even +Sandri (who is also Argentinian, by the way), then we'll know that nothing is going to happen, and it will be left to the next pope to clean out the stables.

Do I have concerns? Sure, because I'm a weak-willed person who wants to know that everything is perfect. It isn't. Instead, I have to trust in Providence and pray for Pope Francis to guide the Church according to God's will. I ask that all of you do the same.

1 comment:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

The folks at Rorate are throwing a hissy. I think we just need to wait and see. I was hoping for someone with the Liturgical vision of Benedict XVI (because I am very much convinced the Church's problem is a liturgical one, as Card. Ratzinger said). But perhaps the Lord doesn't think that's what's most needed now.