Analysis | Francis' promises: the smell of revolution

Spread the love

Analysis | François  promises: the smell of revolution

Ten years ago, the cardinals, gathered in conclave, wanted change. But they never predicted what was going to happen. This is the first of a series of three texts on Pope Francis' decade at the head of the Catholic Church.

In the spring of 2013, a man squats down to kiss and wash the feet of 12 prisoners. Among them are two women, one of whom is Muslim. The highly symbolic gesture does not go unnoticed. “The pope washes the feet of female prisoners”, underlines L'Obs. “A first,” they say in Africa. “Against the tide,” it is noted everywhere else.

That year, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and, more significantly, The Advocate, of the LGBTQ community, make Pope Francis their personality of the year. The pope, hero of gay communities? Unheard of!

A strong wind of change is blowing through the 2,000-year-old Catholic institution. Quickly, the popularity of Francis goes beyond the borders of the Church. Even atheists and feminists find some hope in him. Some speak of Francis' revolution.

Ten years later, what remains of Francis' promises?

Pope Francis wanted to stand out from his predecessors as soon as he arrived at the head of the Vatican in 2013, in particular by getting closer to the poor and vulnerable populations, including prisoners, whose feet he washed.

First South American pope, first Jesuit, first non-European to be elected. The election of Cardinal Bergoglio is anything but ordinary. And from the first days, we understand that this pope who frequented the Vatican as little as possible and did not particularly like Rome took malicious pleasure in shaking up the clergy and traditions, as Lou Besmond de Senneville, of the daily The Cross in Rome.

“One of Francis' first trips [in July 2013] was x27;is in Brazil, where he meets young Argentinians in a stadium. And he said to them: “Make a mess in the church, make a mess in the church!” He is convinced that it is necessary to shake the machine so that something better comes out of it. »

— Lou Besmond de Senneville, of the daily La Croixin Rome

You could almost see an invitation to insurrection! With short sentences, which look like slogans for his pontificate, he stirs up the crowds. The most famous? Who am I to judge? which he launches candidly speaking of homosexuality and faith.

It is hard to believe! For 2000 years, the Church has done just that, judge. Starting with homosexuality! And then the women who are denied equality. And divorced people who want to remarry who are forbidden to love. And those thousands of victims of criminals in cassocks who have been deprived of justice and dignity. So, Who am I to judge, the list of everyone in shock goes on.

From the evening of his election, François raked wide and hit hard. As if there was an emergency, that he had to act before he no longer had the strength. Migrants, divorcees, abortion, gay communities and even the natives of Canada. As if he had planned his move long before being elected.

His personality? It's an angry man, says French sociologist Dominique Wolton, who got a dozen private meetings with the pope to discuss politics, society and tutti quanti . He is angry at injustice. So it's not particularly tender.

Anger?! However, this is not the image we have of this smiling pope who kisses all the babies presented to him. And yet, this anger explains everything.

“He wants a Church of the poor. For him, the Church is the poor. Not rich. You can imagine that this position is not shared. It's unbearable.

—Dominique Wolton, French sociologist

Pope Francis kisses a baby, which he does regularly during his walkabouts in Rome.

It looks like this pope is talking about a new Church. Humble, open and human. This is François' project. A vision of the Catholic institution that could not help but collide head-on with those who would give anything to save the traditions of the Church.

For traditionalists, this pope trivializes the sacred and the divine. For example, the institution of marriage. In the name of what moral or divine authority does he allow himself to open the door to divorced Catholics who want to start a new life?

In the eyes of traditionalists, Pope Francis is only a heretic whom the Church must get rid of! They circulate petitions, question his authority, organize demonstrations.

For Marco Politi, one of the greatest specialists in Vatican affairs, it is civil war in the Church. The opposition feels freer and very aggressive. Some bishops, he says, seem to be praying for his death before he ruins the Church.

Marco Politi, Italian journalist , Vatican specialist

Already, in 2015, the traditionalist historian Roberto de Mattei feared that Pope Francis would end up causing a calamity, a schism in the Church. A shame! At some point, all this will burst and when it does, the crisis will be very rapid and very violent, he warned.

The determination and resistance of traditionalists like Roberto de Mattei were flawless. They thought they could bring down the pope, force him to resign.

Roberto de Mattei, traditionalist historian.

I saw Roberto de Mattei recently in the suburbs from Rome. The man I had in front of me now was not quite the same. Mostly disappointed. A little defeated. I was surprised. With this pope now in a wheelchair, I didn't think they had much time left before declaring victory.

But those who saw themselves as the sentinels of the faith are routed.

Francis has managed to sow confusion in the camp of traditionalists who are upset , admits Roberto de Mattei. Some have lost the will to fight. Others left the Church and went to the Orthodox Christians of Moscow.

Pope Francis has had several health issues for some time and now mostly uses a wheelchair.

< p class="e-p">I admit I was startled! To hear Roberto de Mattei tell me that his friends, Catholic traditionalists, have chosen to join Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the very man who openly supports Putin in his war against the Ukrainians. It is to understand nothing.

There are those who think that Putin is the champion of traditional values ​​while Putin is supported by the patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.

I came out of this meeting amazed and pensive.

Ten years. Francis resisted the onslaught of traditionalists.

He cleaned up the Vatican bank accounts. He reformed the administration and the Constitution. He has put order in the pontifical household. He kissed thousands of babies in St. Peter's Square. He greeted all the migrants in the world. And makes many prayers for peace.

But what about the other revolution? The one everyone was waiting for? Change the attitude of the Church, make it less judgmental, humble and responsible? A Church whose motto would be Who am I to judge? Was it just an illusion?

Changing a constitution is one thing. Changing mentalities is another. Ten years is too little to redesign a 2000-year-old institution.

To learn more about Pope Francis' 10th birthday, don't miss the documentary The promises de François, broadcast on Saturday March 11 on RDI at 6:30 p.m., then in rebroadcast on Sunday March 12 at 9:30 p.m.

Previous Article
Next Article