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Commonweal Magazine: The Italian Job

3. juli 2014

5. juni: Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal Magazine skriver bl.a.:

The Italian Job
Can Pope Francis Manage His Local Opposition?

A few weeks after Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the political philosopher Giorgio Agamben published a short book called The Mystery of Evil: Benedict XVI and the End of Times. In that volume, Agamben calls the pope’s resignation a prophetic moment, and argues that it highlights the crisis of institutional legitimacy. His conclusions may be farfetched—an eschatological showdown between church and political power probably isn’t in the offing—but he does bring into focus the sense of crisis that shook the Vatican in the months leading to Benedict’s departure. A series of scandals—from Vatileaks to the Vatican bank—raised questions about Benedict’s administrative capacities, questions he himself seemed to answer when he chose to resign in February 2013. As the cardinals assembled in Rome to elect a new pope, curial reform became the conclave’s watchword. That is Francis’s mandate. It is also one of his greatest challenges. Whether he is able to rouse the church from its institutional coma depends entirely on his ability to manage his opposition.


Some members of the new Catholic movements—long favored by John Paul II—have been challenged by Francis. He asked the Neocatechumenates to rebuild unity where they have created division. Other movements and orders, such as the Legionaries of Christ, are just fighting for survival. They too are the orphans of previous pontificates.

Francis also faces criticism from those who seek to restore nineteenth-century European Catholicism, like the historian Roberto de Mattei. His Lepanto Foundation holds that Vatican II was a radical break with tradition, as do the online magazines he oversees: Corrispondenza Romana and Radici Cristiane. The neo-medievalists resist Francis because they oppose Vatican II on liturgical issues. The widely read blog Rorate Caeli falls into this camp, as does Vittorio Messori, who co-authored the famous Ratzinger Report (1985). As recently as May 28, he wrote about the church’s diarchical papacy—two popes, Benedict and Francis—in Italy’s most important newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera.

And on the other side, there are those who think Francis has not gone far enough. The monthly journal Micromega, for example, provides a venue for some of the theologians exiled under John Paul and Benedict to push for radical revolution within the church. Italian Catholics who write for Micromega, like Fr. Paolo Farinella and Fr. Franco Barbero, tend to see Francis as little more than a wider smile painted on the same old patriarchal, repressive church.

In other words, Francis has no shortage of opponents. The size and shape of the resistance are products of church leadership over the past few decades—problems left festering by John Paul II and made worse by his successor. Say what you will about the pontificates of John Paul and Benedict; they did little to heal the growing rifts within the church they led


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Wikipedia: Massimo Faggioli