!Francis!

By Wilson, A. N. | Newsweek, March 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

!Francis!


Wilson, A. N., Newsweek


Byline: A.N. Wilson

A Jesuit pope, a golden opportunity for change.

Habemus Papam! The first Jesuit. The first pope from the Americas. And, at first, bafflement on St. Peter's Square since Jorge Mario Bergoglio wasn't exactly a household name.

Then, there was an absolutely palpable joy, spreading first around the square, and then out, around the world. The feeling, an irresistible one, was one of relief that we have a new man. "You know the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome," said Francis I, the freshly elected pontiff with a little laugh, as he stood on the balcony in front of the faithful. "It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. But here we are ... "

Indeed, here we are. With these few words, the new pope made a gentle allusion to what everyone had been dreading--namely, more of the same.

Poor old Benedict XVI. Though he wasn't exactly God's Rottweiler as his enemies in the press had depicted him, Benedict was a Vatican insider, the consummate wheeler-dealer. He knew the Curia, the Papal Court, through and through. He knew its devious ways. He knew--he must have known--the extent of its outright criminality. And perhaps, the longer he remained pope, he got to know too much.

When a pope goes--whether through death or resignation--the whole Curia resigns and has to be reappointed. One theory has it that Benedict realized a clean sweep was necessary and that the only way for it to happen was to resign, thereby forcing the resignation of the Curia mafiosi, who had presided over so many appalling scandals, including the systematic cover-up of child abuse, sleazy sex scandals, money laundering, corruption of all kinds, and murder. (A couple spring readily to mind: the assassination of a Swiss Guard who acted as a gay prostitute to priests and Vatican bureaucrats--killed just before Benedict XVI took office--and the 1982 murder of Roberto Calvi, found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London after $1.2 billion of Vatican money had gone missing. Beyond those deaths, many of us will never believe that the patriarch of Venice, who lasted just three weeks after being elected as Pope John Paul I, died a natural death.)

The Curia, made up of men up to their throats in all these shady dealings, has held the Roman church in its iron grip since the 19th century--really since the papacy lost its temporal power at the time of Garibaldi.

Now there is the hope for change.

If I had to be cheeky and write the new pope an open letter, what would I beg him to do--on top of reforming the Curia, cleaning up the banking scandal, and drawing a line under the child-abuse scandal by a full acknowledgment of the extent of the appalling problem?

I think I'd ask two things of Pope Francis, while knowing he has rather a lot on his desk right now: one would be to look at the land that gave birth to the Savior, and at the whole Middle East. All over the Eastern Mediterranean, and in North Africa, the descendants of the earliest Christians--Easter Orthodox, Copts, and others--are being persecuted. In the lands that gave birth to Christianity, Christianity is dying before our eyes. Please, Bishop Francis, tread in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, who went to the Crusaders to preach peace, who went to the Muslims and spoke to them of Christ.

Above all, I would ask, go to the Eastern Christians and see if it is not possible to heal the wounds of Christendom and unite the church once more. That which unites Christians--faith in Christ--must be more important than that which divides, and if only the bishop of Rome and the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople belonged to the same church, the persecuted Christians of the east would feel so empowered, so enriched. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Catholics were in communion with their fellow Christians in Israel-Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia, and Egypt? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

!Francis!
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.