by Anura Guruge
>> Pope Francis butts heads with Burke — Sep. 19, 2014.
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Moderates around the World are pleased and applauding. Another definite sign that this Pope, Francis (#267), is bucking the trend of the last 35 years and proving NOT to be a rabid, red-meat orthodox, traditionalist as was his two predecessors. This is somewhat of a pleasant surprise. It was always on the cards that we might get a ‘closet-moderate’ as the new pope but John Paul II (#265) and Benedict XVI (#266) had done their darndest to make sure that that would not happen.
The modern politics of the Catholic Church, worldwide, is really no different to the ongoing Republican-Democrat scenario in the U.S. — and the U.S. Catholics definitely have their equivalent of the ‘Tea Party‘. Think of the last two popes as the papal equivalent of the two Bushes (though obviously Benedict, for all his faults, much smarter than the ‘Shrub’). Now think about Supreme Court appointments. Well the same thing happens in the Church. For the last 30 years, possibly 35, starting with John Paul II you could not become a bishop or a cardinal until you signed an OATH attesting that you believed and subscribed to the orthodox/traditional Catholic values, e.g., contraception, abortion, celibacy, women clergy, homosexuality etc. What they wanted to do, just like with Supreme Court appointments, was to make sure that they created an homogeneous layer of authority that supposedly were of one mind when it came to all matters dear to them. Well we always knew that there would still be some shades of gray and this Pope and Blase Cupich would appear to have been the ‘closet moderates’ that got through.
The cardinals were not supposed to elect a new pope that would rock the boat. Benedict was banking on that.
I honestly don’t think that the cardinals expected this pope to be such a radical. I just went and read what I said about him — when I had him as one of my ten papabili. I said that I don’t think he would implement many reforms. Well he hasn’t as yet — this appointment of Blase Cupich probably his boldest move so far; all the rest having been but cheap, even meaningless, words.
While there will be many around the World filled with hope at what the Pope has initiated with Cupich the very powerful U.S. conservative Catholics, and they control the purse strings, will not be amused.
The pope is continuing to butt heads with this powerful faction.
Not a faction that you want to mess with even if you are pope — actually, especially IF you are pope.
I made up my mind this weekend that I am going to start working on the “NEXT POPE AFTER FRANCIS”! I had already come up with a list of papabili — I now need to refine it and do more thinking.
There might be a call for that sooner than people expect — especially since I also think that this pope’s health is nowhere as good as the Vatican wants us to believe.
Just a heads up.