Dear Commons Community,
New York Times columnist and former papal correspondent, has an essay today commenting on the first two years of Pope Francis’ tenure. Bruni also focuses on Francis’ Christmas message delivered earlier this week.
“Francis doesn’t hold himself high, an autocrat with all the answers. He crouches to a level where questions can be asked, conversations broached, disagreements articulated.
He insists that other church leaders lower themselves as well, and used a traditional Christmas address on Monday not to chide the flock for its transgressions but to remind the shepherds of theirs.
He accused some of the cardinals, bishops and priests in the upper echelons of the church bureaucracy of straying so forgetfully from their true mission and ministry that they were afflicted with a kind of “spiritual Alzheimer’s.”
He said that they had fallen prey to the “pathology of power” and needed to beware the “terrorism of gossip.” All in all, the Vatican as described by Francis sounded like an Aaron Spelling drama, although with looser-fitting clothes, odder hats and lower Nielsen ratings.
By taking the church out of the clouds, he’s putting it into the fray. All accounts of the recent rapprochement between the United States and Cuba cast Francis as a key player, and that’s more than a diplomatic victory. It’s an assertion of the church’s sustained relevance.
He’s also putting the church within reach of those who would rather find a place for it in their lives than have to figure out a life without it. They are many….
I’ve never been able to believe in one dogma, one institution, as a possible repository for all truth and as a compass trumping any other. And I’ve been troubled by the frequency with which individual religions divide rather than unite. The Catholic Church has certainly been guilty of this.
But it has also done, and continues to do, enormous good. Its soldiers are present at almost every humanitarian crisis, their courage and caring inextricable from the best strands of the faith.
That faith provides many pilgrims with a harbor they can’t find elsewhere. They look to it not necessarily for a precise code of conduct but for a crucial inspiration to be less selfish, more charitable. It gives them a sorely needed peace, so long as they don’t feel shoved away.
By not shoving, Francis is serving them well. By not shouting, he’s being heard.”
As a Roman Catholic, I wholeheartedly support Bruni’s assessment of what Francis is doing and saying for the Church and others around the world.
Peace on Earth!