Good Peripheries and Bad Peripheries?

Good Peripheries and Bad Peripheries?

By Fr Reto Nay

During a Roman presentation of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book “The Power of Silence”, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household, said, that “for the Church there is no such thing as peripheries; her heart is wherever a candle burns in front of a tabernacle.”

Nevertheless, Pope Francis often talks about peripheries. He is even referred to as “Pope of the Peripheries”. In this sense, Cardinal Sarah, who hails from a poor family in peripheral Muslim Guinea, must be called “Cardinal of the Peripheries”. But then we hear, that the liberal “Pope of the Peripheries” does not like the Catholic “Cardinal of the Peripheries”.

This could indicate that Gänswein is right after all. There are indeed no peripheries in the Church. When the word “peripheries” is used in church-speak, it does not mean the simple and poor Catholics of whom Cardinal Sarah is a genuine expression. It means the opposite of its literal meaning. It means “mainstream”.

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