Francis prays before the tomb of St. Pius V. 2013
The Pope takes a trip.
Pope Francis visits the Orthodox Patriarch - they both talk about the great need in this time of Christian martyrdom to reunite - Francis expresses this as his most heartfelt wish. He's always making overtures to our separated brethren - yet no one obsequiously grants him the title of the Pope of Christian unity.
The Pope reforms the curia and daily speaks about the reform of Christians.
He's the great reformer. There are stories that various clerics working in the Vatican returned home - almost immediately following the Pope's installation - their jobs cut. Jobs and spending cuts have been the order of the day since he took office. Cardinal Burke's Gammarelli bill alone almost collapsed the Vatican Bank - which, by the way - isn't really broke after all...
Why did everyone think the bank was broke in the first place? Because the Princes of the Church who headed dicasteries to nowhere, tucked unused funds away in secret accounts - that's why. I never even mentioned Bertone. I'm being facetious of course, but Cardinal Pell isn't keeping secrets, which, in my opinion, helps immensely in understanding this papacy and what is going on - especially the blow back from their Imperial Majesties on the ultra traditionalist side of the schismatic isle.
What Pell has revealed - thank God for transparency.
Cardinal George Pell, who took over as the Vatican’s chief financial official in February, said Thursday that his staff had turned up hundreds of millions of euros that the Vatican did not know it had. The funds were “tucked away” in various accounts, he said, and had not been tallied on the Vatican’s main balance sheets.
The cardinal presented the found money as a happy surprise. “We have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed,” he wrote in an article for the magazine Catholic Herald, which is scheduled to be published Friday. “It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke.”
Between the lines, though, there was less to be happy about. Cardinal Pell did not say that there had been any malpractice, but he hinted that it might explain why his own branch of the Curia, as the Vatican’s central administration is known, had been in the dark about the money. “Problems were kept ‘in house,’ ” Cardinal Pell said of the various arms of the Curia. “Very few were tempted to tell the outside world what was happening, except when they needed extra help.” - NYT
So. The Vatican is not broke...
Good to know. My first impression was how corruption always starts at the top - hence, even as Pell said, these problems exist in individual dioceses as well - money for pet projects. Stop and think about that. The mansions some archbishops built for themselves, the payouts for lawsuits, the funding of organizations which oppose Catholic teaching on various moral issues, and so on. Not to mention all the scandals that have ravaged the Church for the last two decades - and the payouts.
My second impression was hold onto your wallets.
My third impression is - this Pope is indeed reforming the Church - beginning with the curia - beginning at the top. It's obviously very painful for some - and apparently it is long overdue. It makes sense now that one of Pope Francis' first acts of devotion was to pray at the tomb of St. Pius V.
That said - the various controversies over what the Pope says and does, especially his more enigmatic off-the-cuff sayings and daily homilies, have served to detach many of us - myself included - from hanging onto every word the Pope says. What he says is often relayed in sound bites or editorialized by friend and foe, which only adds to the confusion. The social media phenomena has become a great lesson in detachment and mortification of curiosity.
In an extremely short time, Pope Francis has reformed the papacy itself - removing the monarchical trappings and ostentatious ceremony. He is buon pastore. That's what counts.
The strawberries on the cake.