Wednesday, March 13, 2013

John Allen on Background of Pope Francis

John Allen's write-up on Cardinal Bergoglio at NCR: according to Allen,

Bergoglio has supported the social justice ethos of Latin American Catholicism, including a robust defense of the poor. 
"We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least," Bergoglio said during a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007. "The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers."

But then there's this:

Bergoglio is seen an unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. In 2010 he asserted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children, earning a public rebuke from Argentina's President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. 

And so as I said at the end of my previous posting, we'll see.

But as I begin to educate myself about his absolutely appalling comments re: gay marriage, I'm inclined to agree with what Nicholas Kristof has just tweeted:

To me, the entire event today felt like a great deal of pretty window-dressing around a very tightly shut old window whose paint is badly peeling. Tired. Not full of much hope at all.

Tired is the operative word, as I think through what I seemed to see on the resplendent (and wholly managed) Vatican stage today.

P.S. (later): the headlines popping up right now--"Historic New Moment! First American Pope!"--are very much déjà vu, it seems to me. For anyone who remembers the period just after John Paul II was elected pope, they'll sound eerily familiar.

And then look what we got. We got what we got then because a system badly out of kilter, in need of deep reform, can't produce anything new--it can't have a new moment--as long as it's determined not to reform itself in the most fundamental way possible.

The call of Jesus to his disciples was to hear his proclamation of the reign of God breaking into history in his life and preaching, and to change the entire way in which they saw the world and did business. Metanoia means to turn oneself in the opposite direction. You can't store new wine in old wineskins.

And until the leaders of the Catholic church are willing to hear this gospel message, what we'll continue to see is good new wine bubbling in old skins that can't contain the ferment, the energy. If there were any intent to reform, after all, we wouldn't have been put through the spectacle we've just witnessed, would there?

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