Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Francis and the self-reform of the church

Vatican Insider
March 19, 2013

What is the Pope’s power? What type of power is it? It is a power "of service". In the few days of his pontificate, and today with the mass for the official start of his ministry, Francis has already given precise and important signals about the future. Yesterday in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Marthat’s House) the new Pope held a long and cordial meeting with the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I.

Until now, Bergoglio has not once called himself Pope or Supreme Pontiff, in any of his speeches and actions, but always referred to himself as the Bishop of Rome. This choice contains a clear message, regarding both the sense of Episcopal collegiality and of ecumenism.

A Pope who considers his role of Bishop of Rome as his main mission, his task being to preside over charity," gives a strong signal to the "separated brethren" of the East.

The hints and emphasis on tenderness, upon which the new Pope insisted during the homily in this morning's mass while drawing a portrait of St. Joseph, must not be misread. Bergoglio is a simple man, who speaks of the tenderness and mercy of God, who wants a church of "closeness", able to bend over the miseries of man and to support men and women. But this “being himself” should not be mistaken as weakness.

"Ecclesia semper reformanda", the Church is always reforming itself, and Francis's example, even more than any decision, can already start a self-reform process. If the Pope does this, if he behaves like this, it invites and draws everyone in the Church to follow him. The faithful see this Episcopal style before them and will look to their pastors in hopes of seeing a reflection of that moderation.

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