Tthe pope's worry about a possible schism robs him of sleep. The statement is not presented as a play on words or a mere hypothesis, as was recently claimed, that Francis had declared "self-critically" to the "smallest circle" that he could not exclude himself as the pope in the history who would divide the Church. Walter Mayr reported in the weekly Der Spiegel, just before Christmas. Mayr made the following quotation to the Pope:
"It is not to be ruled out that I may go down in history as the one that divided the Catholic Church."
La Rocca now wrote in Panorama:
"Without discounting the reforms of the papal dicasteries and beginning an inclusive work of purification in the shadows of the dome of St. Peter's for which, however, he has had to count on resistance and criticism, even those who contributed to his election. Francis continues to do this, even giving no weight to them in public.The Holy Father, one wonders at the Curia, fears that this criticism could split the church in the long run. His greatest concern is to keep the Catholics together and to avert any danger of schism. Worries and fears are heard in the Vatican, which have begun in the wake of public initiatives by some cardinals, for example, the famous open letter in which Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Müller [sic] and Meisner asked for a 'clarification' from the Pope in Doubts (Dubia), which, according to them, had arisen through the admission of remarried divorced to Communion. Doubts, which the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Congregation of the Faith, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, too, has adopted, has spoken in an alarming interview of 'Dangers' for traditional teaching. More or less veiled objections to which Francis, after months of silence, indirectly responded by giving his placet to the most criticized part by the conservative cardinals, namely the Communion for the remarried divorced, and the publication of a study of a canonical nature of cohabitation."
La Rocca is creating a simple black-and-white painting: there is the good pope, who is concerned about the church, there are the evil "conservative" cardinals who do not seem to matter. In his hapless reading his research is so inaccurate that he mistook Cardinal Müller for Cardinal Brandmüller among the four signatories of Dubia . It's a proof of how little the author has dealt with the internal Church discussion in the past months. What is firmly established by the article is that the concerns of the four cardinals mentioned are not taken seriously by La Rocca or by Pope Francis. Obviously, the ideologically defined role for La Rocca is so clear that it can be meshed into every (ecclesiastical) story.
All in all, La Rocca's portrayal appears to be unimportant. If Pope Francis were indeed concerned about a possible schism, he would have every opportunity to reply at any time to the Dubia of the four Cardinals, Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra, and Meisner. Or to invite these cardinals at least to have a conversation. Instead, he uses his energy to evade their questions for months, to send Cardinal Burke to Guam, and to let his closest collaborators publicly denounce the four cardinals. Taking the concerns of others seriously, should look different. If the Pope were to take seriously the concerns of the numerous appellants who had turned to him with appeals to Amoris laetitia, he would not have to worry about possible tendencies to splitting. Since he has not done this and still does not want to do it, La Rocca's report on the concerns of the pope is also unbelievable.
On the 9th of February, the Corriere della Sera published a preface of the discussion that Pope Francis had on the 25th of November 2016 with the General Superiors of 140 men of the order. The complete inscription, made by Father Antonio Spadaro, was published on 11th February in the jubilee edition of the Roman Jesuit publication, Civiltà Cattolica. According to the inscription, Pope Francis then said among other things, that in the administration of the Church there was also a "healthy menefreghismo", or a "healthy indifference".
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Panorama / Civiltà Cattolica (Screenshots)
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