Editorial: How will Pope Francis fare?-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
POSITIVISM will always reign every time somebody takes over a post. In the case of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, his election as prime leader of the Catholic Church has provided a welcome respite from the criticisms constantly hurled at the clergy and the institution he is now heading.
His assumption yesterday as Pope Francis, successor of the retired Benedict XVI, has for once pushed the focus away, although only momentarily, from talks about sex abuse involving priests and alleged corruption and infighting at the Vatican.
With a new pope came hopes for renewal. And the feeling became even more upbeat as the veil shrouding his identity was pried open by international media. Initial information showed Pope Francis to be humble and pro-people, not the abusive pervert priests are often characterized.
It is doubtful, however, if being humble and pro-people are enough traits that a pope must possess in this turbulent time for the Church. The kind of problems Pope Francis would deal with in the coming days requires a good dose of firmness and courage.
The two biggest concerns awaiting him, for example are the sex scandals hounding priests and the alleged corruption and infighting in the Curia, the administrative bureaucracy in the Vatican. Dealing with both would certainly test Pope Francis’s resolve.
He can continue the prevailing setup wherein the sex abuse committed by priests are either treated with kid gloves or covered up or both. Or he can go all out and conduct a determined cleansing campaign.
Dealing with the Curia can be trickier considering that the stakes there are higher.
Punishing a priest is child’s play compared to reforming an entire bureaucracy. Then again Pope Francis can look the other way and not change anything, which is bad.
But one can look at this point differently: that the Pope can’t deal with these problems by his lonesome. In this sense, he can use the positive vibes conjured by his admirable traits to solicit support from within an outside the Vatican for his reformist agenda.
Will Pope Francis be up to the task? Will his papacy eventually level up to the expectations raised during his assumption to the post? The good thing about having a new pope is that there is still an abundance of hope to throw around.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2013.