The decision of Pope Francis to appoint 13 new cardinals, 10 of whom will be eligible to vote in the next conclave, surprised the Vatican observers, but it should not. There was talk of holding a consistory in November or next February, but with many prelates coming to Rome for the upcoming Amazon Synod in October, holding the consistory in conjunction with this event is not only convenient for many of the cardinals will also serve to draw attention to this Synod.
This will be the first regional synod of Francis' pontificate and it will tackle many issues, but no greater than the unique role of the Amazon Basin in protecting the global environment, a problem near and dear sirs and Gentlemen of this pope and his predecessor. Those Catholics who are upset about some of the things that Francis has said and done must acknowledge that he is fully in tune with the work of Pope Benedict XVI. Stands, who was known as a "green pope" during his pontificate.
The other reason why Francis sent 1
Many commentators have noted that Francis has appointed 53% of the cardinal voters and that he has done so has definitely shaped the body that will choose his successor. However, we should be careful to predict certain consequences of this fact.
For example, the conclave chosen by Francis consisted of cardinals elected either by Pope John Paul II or by Pope Benedict XVI. He had been appointed, but the choice of Francis was clearly the choice to move in a different direction. Ideological consequence is not the top priority for most cardinal voters in the conclave.
"After a fat Pope a thin Pope." This Italian proverb captures a truism about papal elections: the Cardinal voters understand that there must be a balance, that sometimes the Church needs a tighter leadership and sometimes a more conciliatory leadership. For much of the modern papacy, the balancing act was between diplomats and pastors, even though the categorization is not precise: most people would have been Pope John XXIII. As the epitome of the pastor, but he spent most of his career as a diplomat. 19659002] The most significant change in the College of Cardinals effected by Francis is less ideological than geographical. There are now fewer cardinals from Western Europe and North America and more from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The shift is not right against left, but north against south. And with this shift comes a shift in the ecclesiological direction. A bishop in North America or Europe will certainly spend a lot of time focusing on how the church can serve the poor. In the global South, serving the poor is an essential part of all tasks.
In the United States, culture warriors focus on focussing on fidelity to traditional sexual morality. The culture warriors on the left focus on the same issues, though they come to the opposite conclusion. However, if you are a cardinal from Indonesia, Nicaragua or the Congo, limiting or extending LGBT rights is not high on your agenda. Make sure your herd is not starving any more than who she's going to bed with.
When clerics from the Global South focus on issues of sexual identity, they are more conservative, not less. Conservative fears that Francis paves the way for the reversal of the church's traditional teachings on sexual morality seem very wrong.
Also, the difference that Francis makes in his papacy in general and in his election of new cardinals in particular is not simply a matter of focusing more on poverty and less on sexual morality. Some higher clerics think that the problem faced by the church is an intellectual problem, that evangelization is really a better excuse, that people would flock if the church better explained their doctrine. Francis understands that the gospel demands more witness than explanation, that evangelization is more the ministry of pastors than of professors, and that credibility is in the way we live and not in the way we speak find is. Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, has been named cardinal. The Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Robert Barron, was not.
The list of new Cardinals follows a long line of decisions and texts by this Pope indicating that a new breeze is blowing through the Catholic Church. The words of Isaiah come to mind, and not for the first time in this pontificate: "Look, I'm doing something new. Do You Not Realize It? "
If You Can Say That the Last Two Pontiffs Clarified Doctrine This Second Vatican Council pontificate illustrates the mission of the Second Vatican Council: reasserting the kerygmatic nature of the gospel to the women and men of our time Jesus is coming to bring good news to the poor and freedom to the prisoners. 19659002] [Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]
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