Friday, April 19, 2013

Will Things Be Different Under Pope Francis?

From the first days of the new Pope’s reign things seemed different. 

Traditionalists were aghast the Francis didn’t wear an ermine cape when he first appeared on the balcony after being elected. Then he washed the feet of women (gasp!) on Holy Thursday. One can hope things are different…or perhaps the change is more in style than substance. Instead of Benedict’s rule with an iron fist, is it now an iron fist in a velvet glove? Reports are that Francis has already affirmed the investigations into American nuns. Time will tell, but at least Maureen Fiedler writing in the NCR questions this latest piece coming out of the Vatican.

Did Pope Francis get enough information on the LCWR mandate?

 |  NCR Today

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has posted a statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in which Archbishop Gerhard Müller of the doctrinal congregation said he talked to Pope Francis about the LCWR mandate and claims the pope affirmed it.

I am frankly very skeptical of that information. First, I doubt this issue is on the top of the new pope's agenda or that he had much knowledge of this when he was an archbishop in Argentina.
And what does "affirm" mean? Affirm what? Some general, vague report? Did Müller give him a full explanation, talk about the opposition to it among U.S. Catholics or give him an outline of the actions proposed? Did he talk about the accusation that says U.S. women religious spend too much time on social justice and not enough on other issues? I frankly doubt the new pope would "affirm" that.

Did he even mention the questions raised by LCWR at the meeting several months ago? I doubt he gave both sides.
It could be a case of the "good 'ole boys" in the Curia wanting everything to remain the same and trying to make the new pope go along on an issue about which he knows little.
Two things: First, this is a wait-and-see situation. Second, LCWR would be well-advised to seek a private audience with Pope Francis to explain the full story.