Reading the Pope’s intentions

Reading the Pope’s intentions

From Quick Hits; by Phil Lawler | May 26, 2017

At Crux, John Allen has a profile of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the new president of the Italian bishops’ conference: Meet the man who could define what a ‘Francis bishop’ means. That’s interesting enough in itself, but Allen adds a good deal of spice by explaining how, on his visit to Genoa this weekend, Pope Francis “may accent the impression in some quarters that Francis is trying to ‘roll back’ the legacy of his predecessors.” Look for the clue near the end of Allen’s column; it makes sense:

If he does to Bagnasco what he was perceived to have done while visiting Mexico in February 2016 – which was holding Cardinal Norberto Riverra Carrera, once-powerful under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, at arm’s length, appearing much warmer and more enthusiastic about other Mexican prelates – then it may accent the impression in some quarters that Francis is trying to “roll back” the legacy of his predecessors.

However, if he appears gracious and respectful, finding occasions to voice appreciation for Bagnasco’s contributions, then the take-away may be that Francis is not so much trying to reverse what came before but to round it out.

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One comment on “Reading the Pope’s intentions

  1. When the Pope’s silence speaks clearly

    By Phil Lawler | May 29, 2017

    Last Friday I remarked that John Allen had provided us with a very interesting way to measure the intentions of Pope Francis. The results are now in.

    Allen observed (near the end of a column mostly devoted to Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti) that during his May 27 visit to Genoa, the Pontiff would be hosted by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the outgoing president of the Italian episcopal conference, who was regarded as a close ally of Pope Benedict XVI. Allen reasoned that if the Pope “appears gracious and respectful, finding occasions to voice appreciation for Bagnasco’s contributions, then the take-away may be that Francis is not so much trying to reverse what came before but to round it out.” Whereas if the Pope ignored the cardinal, that “may accent the impression in some quarters that Francis is trying to ‘roll back’ the legacy of his predecessors.”

    So what happened?

    Here, the Vatican summaries provided by the Vatican press office, are the complimentary things the Pope said about Cardinal Bagnasco during his day in Genoa:

    [crickets]

    It wasn’t for lack of an opportunity. When Pope Francis visited the Ilva factory, a manager asked him a question, mentioning that “we are encouraged by our archbishop Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco,” and asking the Pontiff for “a word of closeness.” The Holy Father gave a 1,200-word reply. Not one of those words was “Bagnasco.”

    If Allen’s test was valid, the results were crystal clear.

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