Will Pope Francis be a Reformer?
May 13, 2013
Buenos Aires resident Adrian Salbuchi
has watched the former Archbishop Bergoglio for decades.
Salbuchi finds both hopeful and worrisome signs.
Francis makes an interesting list of Catholic Church "firsts": the first non-European pope; the first Jesuit; the first to choose Francis as his name; the first to succeed an abdicating pope in six centuries. Will he also be the first Pope in decades to reform the church?
by Adrian Salbuchi
"Opposition Cardinal" in Argentina
(excerpted from New Dawn, Jan-Feb 2013)
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio championed the plight of the poor in a very hands-on manner, which set him at loggerheads with the now ten-year-old increasingly left-wing Nestor and Cristina Kirchner Regime. His criticism of their failed government got stronger as the years went by, specifically targeting the Kirchner's corruption, political mismanagement and hypocrisy.
Since Msgr. Bergoglio would persistently lash out at the Kirchners during the solemnities of the Te Deum marking the anniversary of Argentina's 25 May 1810 Revolution in Buenos Aires Cathedral, traditionally attended by the President, his family and cabinet, starting in 2005 the Kirchners decided to celebrate this anniversary elsewhere in the country to avoid Msgr. Bergoglio. In fact, President Cristina Kirchner refused to meet with him over the past three years... until now, obviously!
Though a moderate in many aspects - especially in his drive for Ecumenical inter-faith relations (he is very much liked by Israel and Argentina's powerful Jewish community), and in his embracing of Second Vatican Council reforms - he has however systematically opposed same-sex marriage which became legal in Argentina in 2011, and strongly opposes abortion laws that are being promoted locally by both the left and the "liberal" right...
Msgr. Bergoglio is an ardent devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose protection he invoked in his very first message urbi et orbi. The first place he went to pray as pope was Her Chapel at Santa Maria Maggiore where he promptly kicked out Cardinal Bernard Law from the US, one of the bishops associated with covering up child abuse cases which ended up costing the Church hundreds of millions of dollars in US Courts.
The local left also speak of his alleged involvement in the crimes of Argentina's civilian-military regimen from 1976 to 1983, a false and totally unsubstantiated accusation pointing to the Kirchner government's extreme uneasiness with the new pope.
A HOUSE CLEANER IN THE VATICAN?
As a sign of times to come, Francis is also the first pope in history to choose a name that honours one of Christendom's most important saints: Saint Francis of Assisi, a 13th century reformer who preached by setting the example for all.
Although of a wealthy family, Saint Francis chose to live in poverty and austerity telling his followers that a good Christian's duty is to "Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words"; meaning thereby that the best preachers are those setting the best examples, something the Church seems to have increasingly forgotten in modern times.
Saint Francis founded the Franciscan Order and its female counterpart founded by his spiritual sister St. Claire, both of which made poverty vows. His preaching got him into trouble with local secular and Church authorities even landing him in jail. As today, the Church during St. Francis's time was very much in need of a major internal clean-up. Francis of Assisi reproached the pope in front of all his cardinals for their excessive attachment to luxury, their banality and mundane ways. Later, Pope Innocent III would finally approve his predication and approved the founding of the Franciscan Order.
So, will Pope Francis do as his spiritual predecessor and wage a veritable war for greater austerity inside the Church, requiring its highest authorities to set the example, both inside and outside the Church?
Will he really do something about all the prelates involved in proven sexual misconduct, cutting them off fully and completely from the Church, and not just "transferring" them away to some quiet place hoping their immoralities and perversion will just go away, as if by magic?
Will Francis fully and thoroughly clean up the Vatican Bank (Institute of Religious Works) forcing it to cancel shady financial deals, reject usury-based financial income, and put its monetary wealth to work for the poor?
Again, will he identify and weed out the truly guilty of such crimes and perversion, severing all Church ties with them?
In short, will Francis do something that none of his predecessors seems to have had the courage and will to do over the past fifty years, which is to stop sweeping all this ugliness under the carpet, but rather cleaning the place up for real? That all remains to be seen...
But we're not really sure whether Msgr. Bergoglio chose his papal name only because of the Saint from Assisi. It may have been to honour other Francis's like St. Francis Javier, or even 16th century St. Francis de Borja both of whom were, like himself, Jesuits.
The Jesuits - The Society of Jesus - are a 16th Century order founded by Spaniard St. Ignace of Loyola as a militia to defend the Church against the forces of reformation and other dangers to the Faith. The Jesuit's strong-willed militancy got them expelled several times from the American colonies and also from Europe. Even the Church itself suppressed them.
They have a highly autonomous leadership under its Superior General whom many refer to as the "Black Pope" alluding to both the color of their robe as well the Order's great leverage inside the Church. Jesuits are known for being shrewd and sharp intellectuals with a keen sense for political and social strategy, and a very strong will to promote and drive their goals and objectives.
Today's Jesuit Superior General, Adolfo Nicolás, allegedly forms part of the "Committee of 300" who are said to be the Illuminati's upper echelon running things on planet Earth. Since Jorge Bergoglio/Francis is a Jesuit, one wonders whether or not he owes obedience to his Superior General. In other words, will the supreme authority in the Church be a white or a black Pope?
Perhaps Msgr. Bergoglio is honoring all of these Francis's. But the one that has caught the Catholic world's imagination is clearly St Francis of Assisi, in which case much will be expected of Pope Francis. No pope - until now - had ever chosen that name which many perceive as emblematic of a key enemy of certain castes of mischief-makers inside the Vatican.
Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina.
First Comment by Dan:
A generally balanced article, except the writer shows an odd lack of knowledge about Jesuit history and the Papacy to even ask this question,
Salbuchi - "Since Jorge Bergoglio/Francis is a Jesuit, one wonders whether or not he owes obedience to his Superior General."
That's like asking "is the Pope Catholic"? People who only know Catholic hierarchy from reading "Vatican Assassins" are under the wrong impression that the "Black Pope" (ooooooooooo!) is the real boss of the Vatican. No, the Holy See - the Office of Peter - trumps all the bishops, cardinals, mafiosos and major domos -- it even trumps the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, that American bastion of octogenarian radical feminist nuns.
The Church isn't exactly a government like Britain or the United States. The Pope's authority is in matters of Church doctrines and dogma. The "CEO" authority of running the Vatican and global organization is delegated to the Secretariat of State, a cardinal. He's what Americans think of as 'boss'. There are no equivalents of what the Pope is in secular culture. He's like the Dalai Lama, the leader of one of the world's major religions, with a billion members.
There is no human office or authority above the Pope in the Catholic hierarchy. He has the power to remove cardinals, bishops. He can shut down orders and departments. The question is, will Francis actually use that authority?
Well, he hasn't used it yet. And if he follows the example set by the the last two popes, they never seriously tested or challenged the bishops to obey a direct Papal order: they never gave one. Bishops in their own diocese have been doing pretty much as they please since the 1960's.
Let's backtrack to Benedict's resignation 4 months ago. Remember "VATILEAKS"? Flashback to early 2012, when..
1. the Pope's butler Paolo Gabriele was arrested in possession of confidential Vatican correspondence.
2. Months later, shortly before Benedict's resignation, the leather bound dossier of the investigation was presented to Pope Benedict.
3. Benedict's last official act was locking the unopened dossier in the Papal safe with instructions "for the Pope's eyes only" to be opened by the new Pope,
That would be Pope Francis. We've heard nothing further about this since February 25th.
Vatican rumors said Vatileaks revealed that the high level homosexual network in the Church had been the target of blackmail all along. It was they who compromised the Church to it's enemies for decades. It was speculated that the physically fading Josef Ratzinger stepped down so a fresh horse could take on the arduous task of removing 5 cardinals, 10 Archbishops, and 20 bishops world wide. Benedict XVI fired the Archbishop of Scotland shortly before his exit.
But since then, nothing's happened. Speculation is a wasted motion at this point. We're waiting for something definite to happen.
Results of 'Vatileaks' Probe For 'Pope's Eyes Only'