Open microphone to dissident cardinals
It is far from usual for the Pope to summon the leaders of the universal Church to a summit. In fact, it is the first meeting of these characteristics in Francis’ pontificate. That is why it is not surprising that suspicions of an imminent resignation and the convocation of a conclave were triggered when last May he summoned the cardinals from all over the world for this Monday and Tuesday, not only to welcome a twenty of new members, as usual, but to put on the table the set of reforms that he has been undertaking since he was elected a little over nine years ago.
Practically everyone has blindly arrived today at the synodal hall where the Argentine pontiff met them. Beyond the start time of the conference – around nine o’clock – the Holy See did not share any more details with them. A break to eat and for a nap –if you are staying in the Vatican area– and back to work at four. Whatever happens, the meeting will culminate tomorrow with them at half past five with a mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. In total, 197 “princes” confirmed their attendance at the meeting, of the 226 from the College of Cardinals, a unanimous support, taking into account that of these 132 are electors and the rest are over 80 years old and would be out of a future conclave .
Francis opened fire early in the morning with a brief greeting of welcome and gave way to an exposition of the key points of the ecclesial reform contained in the apostolic constitution “Praedicate Evangelium” – Preaching the Gospel – which entered into force in June. From there, the Pope opened the ban for a first dialogue in linguistic groups, which was followed by a debate in a general assembly.
“There is a synodal climate,” Cardinal Juan José Omella explained in one of the recesses. The President of the Spanish Episcopate and Archbishop of Barcelona underlined with Vatican diplomacy, without going into details, that the central theme of the dialogue was evangelization. “All the baptized must be evangelized. How? With words, but above all with deeds: charity, closeness, listening, tenderness”, commented the cardinal, aligned with the Bergoglian theses that go through reducing the decibels inside and outside the Church.
In any case, when Francisco launched this call, he did so with the conviction of generating feedback, with a turn to speak for each other to propose. But also for them to complain. Because this Pope not only flees from flatterers, but also enjoys listening to dissidents, who may complain about Francis’s social and doctrinal openness. The main blocks of the more or less latent opposition are found in a wing of ideological conservatives who do not understand his winks at divorcees and homosexuals, but neither do they understand the dialogue with the Muslim world or with politicians who do not agree with the Catholic pro-life agenda. They have their motor in the United States. They are joined by a curial resistance with an Italian surname, which sees a historical hegemony vanish for the sake of universality.
To some and to others he has left the micro open these days, although they have it difficult to put buts against the main endorsement with which Jorge Mario Bergoglio presented himself yesterday: his management. When he stormed in March 2013, he found a global entity adrift economically, as well as running out of steam in a secularized West. The least of it were the red numbers of the Vatican coffers, but the hands that caused the embezzlement in the brush. This corruption that the Argentine pontiff denounced over and over again in his first speeches did not stop at the financial, but also at the structural, replicating the vices of the Italian State. Most of these changes, in one way or another, are included in the Magna Carta that turns the Curia upside down, with an unprecedented reorganization. Among its main novelties, the creation of its “super ministry” for evangelization, which would supersede the Doctrine of the Faith – the old Inquisition – in importance for the first time, or what is the same, the announcement before the norm. At the same time, the constitution lands on hygienic and practical issues such as five-year temporary mandates in high office.
These days, it is said that with this summit Francis closes the cycle and opens the pre-conclave. The truth is that those who know from afar what they define as “a strategist of God” know that Bergoglio has been slowly cooking the future since he left the Sistine in white. The 20 new cardinals this Saturday were just one more step. Not in vain, one of the Pope’s bedside books for years has been “Strategy”, the military manual by the British Basil Liddel Hart that proposes victory, not through a frontal confrontation, but from an indirect approach, in Bergoglian terms. , the periphery. “The least important thing is the name of who will succeed him, not even the nuance of whether he is more or less progressive. Francis is laying the foundations for the Church of 2050, which makes him even more of a prophet”, explains one of the curials close to the current Pope, who sees neither an imminent resignation nor Copernican changes. “He is not a short-term revolutionary, but a long-term one.” This is how the maxims of the Jesuit Pope who prepares a legacy beyond a conclave say: «Time is superior to space».