Vatican: 'Our Fathers', on the new pontificate's enigmas

Bergoglio's challenges after Ratzinger's shocking resignation

21 June, 14:49

    (ANSAmed) - VATICAN CITY, JUNE 21 - Pope Francis ''doesn't have much time to set Peter's boat afloat once more'', for it has been ''somewhat battered by the pedophile priest storm and the Curia divisions which Ratzinger's pontificate ran aground on''. And if on the one hand it is ''necessary to repair the sails and the rudder'' and ''to throw overboard certain foul-smelling excess baggage'', it is also true that ''time presses'': it can play in favor, as in the case of John XXIII whose Council ''opened the Church up to a new era''; or it could on the other hand turn into an insurmountable obstacle. The many challenges of Bergoglio's pontificate, their roots firmly sunk into the knots left untangled by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are the central theme of ''Our Fathers'' (Manni publishers, 206 pages, 14 euros), in which Vatican expert Elisa Pinna offers an attentive and in-depth view of the historic passage the Church has recently experienced: the one that began with Ratzinger's shocking resignation and ended with the election of the pope ''that came from the end of the world''. A pope whose ''Franciscan simplicity'', ''attention to the poor'', and ''personal frugality''', are ''extraordinarily in tune with the sentiment shared by a majority of the faithful (and not only the faithful) in a Europe crushed by an economic crisis that has now transformed into a social crisis''. The challenge for Francis will also be to hear ''the demand for more rights'', of engaging in dialogue with the calls for change that are emerging from ecclesiastic communities. How far will Francis be able to go ''in finding a balance with progressive petitions''? All this is going on while the ''nomenclature'' observes the new pope's moves with apprehension, Pinna stresses, ''in the secret hope that the revolution will end up not being as painful or as radical as had previously been announced''.

    With great effectiveness and legibility, ''Our Fathers'' analytically retraces the dark season of unmentionable secrets, of ''moles'' and pedophilia scandals, of financial intrigues and plots to gain or retain control of the Curia and of Vatican Bank IOR: a season that culminated with the ''resounding break', of Ratzinger's resignation, ''an admission of defeat''.

    Pinna's book also describes the desire for profound reform and the hope that Bergoglio's election has brought with it, in spite of the fact that certain ''secret dossiers'', such as those ''held in the Vatican Bank fortress or in Vatileaks folders'', could be ''walls even the boldest of reformers might find insurmountable''. Bergoglio's personality is described as much more complex than meets the eye. The authoress defines him as an ''Italian-Argentine with a thousand nuances'': but this very ''complexity''' could explain ''the across-the-board and seemingly electoral convergence on his name'' at the last Conclave. In preparatory meetings, the College of Cardinals liked ''his speech on a Church that would be capable of taking to the high seas, one no longer corralled within its own fences''. Herein lies the program brand of the new pontificate, along with the Franciscan ideal of ''a Church that is poor and for the poor'': it could not be otherwise for the first Jesuit pope in history. And if Bergoglio will be able to steer Peter's boat down this route, freeing it from all the excess baggage and resistances, that will indeed be a story that remains to be told. (ANSAmed).

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