Monday, August 05, 2013

The Papacy in the New Era ...

Votive offering.

"The change has already arrived."

John Allen refers to it as a revolution underway.

He also points out, "With Francis, what you see is basically what you get." 

I knew that.

I find it difficult to find anything online as objective as John Allen or Fr. James Martin, S.J. when it comes to reports on Pope Francis.  Otherwise I feel as if I'm caught in some sort of weird vortex, with the same old string of pundits spewing their same old negative crap, labeling and pigeon holing everything and everybody.  It's a small, petty, world, isn't it.  (EWTN and its affiliates I mean.)
Francis is the solution, not the problem. 
Truth to be told, most ordinary folk aren't paying attention to such inside baseball anyway. Vatican watchers may fixate on questions such as who Francis will name as the next cardinal secretary of state, or what changes he'll make at the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican bank), but the only question most people have about a pope is, "Does he inspire?" 
For now, the answer seems to be yes. Given all the scandals, bad press and controversy the Catholic church has weathered over the past decade, if that's not a revolution, it's hard to know what one would look like. 
In Rome, too, there are clear signs that a new order has already arisen.
Clergy who chafed under what they perceived as a mounting liturgical fastidiousness during the late John Paul II and Benedict years -- showing up for a papal Mass, for instance, only to be told they weren't properly dressed because they weren't sporting enough crimson and lace -- report all that ended in mid-March. 
Francis' humbler lifestyle is having a ripple effect. Princes of the church today are more likely to be spotted wearing simple black clerical dress rather than the usual sartorial splendor, and some have begun to sign their names in official correspondence simply as "Don So-and-So," avoiding "His Eminence" or other bits of court nomenclature. 
Even beggars who ply their trade around the Vatican have clued in that something has changed. Vatican personnel say that if they spurn a request for spare change today, they're likely to hear back, "Cosa direbbe Papa Francesco?" -- meaning, "What would Pope Francis say?" - John Allen
I like that! 


  1. "With Francis, what you see is basically what you get."

    Yes, and contra the spinners, I agree. The more I see, the worse I feel about what we're going to get. Everyone disagrees with me, so I'm no doubt wrong, and it's not my place to begrudge all those people, no doubt better people than I, the new kind of Church they've wanted for years.

  2. I don't want to enter into the Pope Francis debate but I want to say that I respectfully disagree with your comment that Father James Martin is "objective" in his reporting or commentary. He has a definite point of view that he is entitled to and which may be utterly correct for all that I know. However, like virtually everyone else in the Francis discussions, he cites some of Francis' words, leaves others unsaid, and draws conclusions that are influenced by his perspective. As far as EWTN goes, I don't own a TV. My personal take on Pope Francis is that his election was guided by the Holy Spirit, a Person whom in who I have complete trust.

    1. Thanks Frank - I think I equate a 'positive POV' with 'objective' - sorry for the misunderstanding.

      I mention EWTN and 'affiliates' - EWTN controls Zenit, NCRegister and CNA now, don't they? Some of their writers have influential blogs, news portals complete the link - hence my impression that everyone is repeating one another.

      I may be wrong, or simply bored.

  3. Pope Francis is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work. He may by example teach others to do likewise. Or he may just embarrass them into it.
    My father's mother had a phase she would use when she saw family standing idly around: "What are you doing, posing for holy pictures?"
    Francis is definitely not going to spend what time and influence he has posing for holy pictures.

    1. Excellent point - thanks E.

  4. .... There were plenty of bad people in history that were able to inspire people. I'm not saying this pope is bad, just that the ol' inspiration factor cannot be the only unit of measurement for world leaders or Church leaders.

  5. Now that I have cleared the deck, my head, my heart and my rss I have some room available to subscribe to some blogs again. I think I'l subscribe to some stuff by Fr. James Martin SJ. I've been enjoying his writing offline so why not?

    P.S. E's punch line makes me smile so much.

  6. Terry,
    just took the time to read the complete article by Allen.

    If what Allen describes [most of which I was unaware of due to my own recent happy Catholic media blackout] is what don "rocinante" snide-bar horse play means by some of us getting the Church we always wanted then hey sign me up. If that means some people will now consider this former Protestant clergy become Catholic convert to be standing in line at the cafeteria then hey, get me a number so I can get served.

    And to think, only a few years ago I was nearly swept away in the vortex, where ... well, yeah.

  7. For the record I like EWTN. That begin said, the secular media can hardly compliment Francis without implicitly slamming Benedict. It bothers me.


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