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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Is Pope Francis Like Cardinal Bernardin?

Several days ago I commented that Pope Francis reminds me of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. It expressed my befuddlement over what the pope says. It was common for Cardinal Joseph to articulalate a teaching of the Church in one breath and imply that personal conscience could overrule the teaching in the next. I'm not aware that he ever emphasized the importance of an informed conscience and what that meant.

Now a respected observer of the Vatican, Sandro Magister, has compared Pope Francis' approach to Cardinal Bernardin's and described him as "separating himself" from his predecessors:

There was however in Karol Wojtyla, Joseph Ratzinger, and pastors like Ruini or in the United States the cardinals Francis George and Timothy Dolan the intuition that the proclamation of the Gospel today could not be disjointed from a critical interpretation of the advancing new vision of man, in radical contrast with the man created by God in his image and likeness, and from a consequent action of pastoral leadership. 
And it is here that pope Francis separates himself. In his interview with "La Civiltà Cattolica" there is another key passage. To Fr. Antonio Spadaro, who asks him about the current "anthropological challenge," he replies in an elusive manner. He demonstrates that he does not latch onto the epochal gravity of the transition of civilization analyzed and forcefully contested by Benedict XVI and by John Paul II before him. He shows himself convinced that it is more worthwhile to respond to the challenges of the present with the simple proclamation of the merciful God, that God who "makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and makes it rain on the just and on the unjust." 
In Italy, but not only there, it was the cardinal and Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini who represented this alternative orientation to John Paul II, to Benedict XVI, and to Cardinal Ruini. 
In the United States it was Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin who represented it, before the leadership of the episcopal conference passed to cardinals George and Dolan, very loyal to Wojtyla and Ratzinger. 
The followers and admirers of Martini and Bernardin today see in Francis the pope who is giving shape to their expectations of a comeback. 
And just as a Cardinal Martini was and continues to be very popular in the public opinion outside of and hostile to the Church, the same is happening for the current pope. (Read the entire article.) 
Magister examines the two interviews and two letters, one between Pope Francis and his atheist interviewer and one from Pope Benedict XVI (before his elevation) to another atheist. Pope Francis, he says, "dodges the stumbling blocks;" Cardinal Ratzinger "emphasizes them."

The notes and links at the end of Magister's article are also very interesting. One is an article by George Weigel, The End of the Bernardin Era.  It is unsettling, to say the least, to think that perhaps the Bernardin era has returned and been elevated to the Vatican. Let us pray diligently for the Holy Father and for Holy Mother Church.

2 posted on 10/17/2013 9:12:33 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

Martini Pope. The Dream Come True

Jesuit, archbishop of Milan and cardinal, he was the most authoritative and highly praised antagonist of the pontificates of Wojtyla and Ratzinger. His supporters see today in Francis the one who has inherited his legacy. And is putting it into practice

by Sandro Magister




ROME, October 15, 2013 – Seven months after the election as pope of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the interpretations of the beginning of this pontificate are contrasting.

Within the Church the judgments most positive, if not enthusiastic, on the first acts of Pope Francis are coming from the supporters of the cardinal who for years represented, with great authoritativeness and widespread consensus, the most clear alternative approach to the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

That cardinal was Carlo Maria Martini, a former director of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, archbishop of Milan from 1979 to 2002, who died on August 31, 2012 after having left his instructions in an interview that was also very critical, published immediately after his death as his “spiritual testament”:

> After Martini, the Fight Over His Spiritual Testament (6.9.2012)

This last interview was conducted by the Austrian Jesuit Georg Sporschill, the same who in 2008 oversaw the publication of the book most representative of Martini, also in the form of an interview, “Nighttime conversations in Jerusalem”:

> God Is Not Catholic, Cardinal's Word of Honor
(12.11.2008)

During the last years of his life, Cardinal Martini had accentuated his criticisms in interviews and books written together with “borderline” Catholics like Fr. Luigi Verzé and the bioethicist Ignazio Marino, in which he expressed his hope for a bringing up-to date-of the Church also on questions like the beginning and end of life, marriage, sexuality:

> Carlo Maria Martini’s “Day After” (28.4.2006)

In the conclave of 2005, Martini was the cardinal symbol of the failed opposition to the election of Joseph Ratzinger. And the votes of his supporters, together with others, converged at the time precisely on Bergoglio.

Eight years later, in March of 2013, it was again the "martiniani" who backed the election of Bergoglio as pope. This time with success.

And today they are seeing come true, in the first acts of Pope Francis, what for Martini was only a “dream.” The dream of a Church “synodal, poor among the poor, inspired by the gospel of the beatitudes, leaven and mustard seed."

This is what is written and explained, in the commentary presented below, by the one whom Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi has rightly called the “leading Martinian expert": Marco Garzonio, a prominent figure of the Milanese Catholic laity, psychologist and psychotherapist, editorialist for “Corriere della Sera," author in 2012 of the most important biography of Martini, as well as being his longtime chronicler and confidant.

His latest work is in the form of a theatrical dialogue, between “Cardinal Martini and his soul,” performed at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto in July of 2013, and now on the playbill in Milan and in other Italian theaters.

The commentary by Garzonio is the most explicit and detailed interpretation written so far that links the pontificate of pope Bergoglio to the heritage of Cardinal Martini.

It was published in "Corriere della Sera" of October 11.

_________



THE POPE'S DEBT TO MARTINI

by Marco Garzonio



There is without a doubt a great dose of novelty in the papacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. But one who sees only that aspect does wrong to him and to the Church. And he applies only categories of a political or in any case a convenient nature, daughters of a culture accustomed to distinguishing between “good” Catholics, open to modernity, and Catholics attached to tradition, rites, power.

The statements of Francis reported by Eugenio Scalfari must be interpreted in the light of a man of God who has presented a task for himself knowing how bold it is: to transform into crackling flames the coals concealed beneath a heavy blanket of ashes, which threatened, even in recent times, to suffocate all vital inspirations before they could become reforming impulses. Living coals, however.

Some examples have been offered by the pope himself. He has twice cited Carlo Maria Martini. This is already a good endorsement, for the cardinal who passed away a little more than a year ago, to find himself in a gallery that goes from Francis of Assisi to St. Augustine, from St. Paul to St. Ignatius.

To the one who was archbishop of Milan for more than two very difficult decades, Francis is publicly expressing a debt of extraordinary acknowledgment: his having pointed out for years to the pontiffs then reigning, Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger, the model of a "synodal" Church, an institution in which the pope governs not as an absolute monarch, but through “service,” helped by the bishops and cardinals.

In listening to these and being able to count on their support, the pope effectively becomes head of the whole Church, because he takes into account the voices of other continents, other needs, other requests, with respect to that Vatican which is folded in upon itself and its management.

And as bishop of Rome, and therefore without claims of hegemony and proselytism ("a solemn foolishness," Bergoglio says), he is clearing the way for the ecumenism and interreligious dialogue on which Martini centered his episcopate, garnering more than one official reproach for his lack of attention to proselytism.

When Martini, in 1981, as an assessment of the first year of his episcopate and therefore of his contacts with the Italian episcopal conference and the Holy See, began to speak of a “synodal Church," he had to put his personal intuition and the path of development of the Church under the category of “dream.”

As a man of faith and a realistic person, as well as a prudent Jesuit, he had understood that his arguments did not constitute material welcome to the leadership. He presented his ideas as a goal that was perhaps a long way away, but he was not silent. And he paid the price himself.

He still had to speak of a “dream” almost twenty years later, with bitterness and disappointment at the coming of the new millennium, when Wojtyla's strength was declining and the power of the "court," as Bergoglio now calls those who surround the pontiff, was rising. And still he was not understood by some and opposed by most of his own brother bishops and cardinals who gathered at that synod of 1999.

Martini believed in and never gave up on the "dream," which Bergoglio is now trying to get onto its feet so that it can be turned into reality.

In the interview of August 8, 2012, published in “Corriere della Sera" on September 1, the day after his death, Martini, with the grave tone of the testamentary bequest and the prophetic admonition, also indicated the practical means: the pope should surround himself with twelve bishops and cardinals if he wants the barque of Peter not to be submerged by internal waves and by a society that no longer believes in it, two hundred years behind as it is on issues like the family, the young, the role of women (this being a topic on which Pope Francis has promised to speak more).

Martini held the tiller firm until the end. and to give even more incisiveness and loftiness to his speech, he clarified that he was no longer dreaming “about” the Church, but praying “for” the Church.

The prayers must have knocked very high if the conclave, six months ago, selected Bergoglio and he accepted after an almost mystical crisis.

But it is certain that if Francis is revisiting those issues and expressing public acknowledgment of the one who inspired him, it is because Martini was not so alone and isolated after all, as much Catholic publicity has sought to make it believed for years.

In refutation of official public opinion, filtered by the leadership of the Holy See and by the Italian episcopal conference, and of a certain secular Manichaeism that has always liked to indicate a Martini "against" the pope, doctrine, the magisterium, there comes a great karstic river flowing beneath the churchyards, the altars, the sacred buildings.

They were those bishops and priests, those laymen and directors or volunteers of movements for whom there was nothing at all to be feared from the Church losing temporal power.

Beginning with the ecclesial conference in Loreto in 1985, headed by Martini (and even before with the one in Rome in 1976, with Martini, Giuseppe Lazzati, and Jesuits like Fr. Bartolomeo Sorge), there were many who recognized themselves in the image of a Church that, in addition to being synodal, would be poor among the poor, inspired by the gospel of the beatitudes, leaven and mustard seed.

Part of the hierarchy sought to oppose that course, and even to recover the direct management (Bergoglio now calls it "clerical") of power and of relations with politics, at the moment of the end of the Democrazia Cristiana party and the political diaspora of Catholics, in open disagreement with Martini, who instead thought the removal of Catholics from power would serve as "purification."

Francis is starting over from there, certainly with his statements to the newspapers, but also with acts of governance internal (secretariat of state, IOR, the group of eight cardinals) and directed to the CEI. Approaching, in fact, is the election of the head of the Italian bishops on the part of the bishops themselves, with majorities and minorities, with legitimation of debate and of different positions, no longer with official designations and autocratic management.

Let's give an example. Bergoglio said to Scalfari: "I believe in God. Not in a Catholic God, there does not exist a Catholic God, there exists God." In 2007 Martini said in the book-interview "Nighttime conversations in Jerusalem": "You cannot make God Catholic. God is beyond the limits and definitions that we establish." Many there were who tore their garments. In the Catholic world this seemed to some almost a blasphemy. But even among the secularists many were startled. Martini was attacked for that book even within the editorial group of  l'Espresso, Scalfari's group. And it was not the first or the last time.

So there is a great deal of work to be done if one is truly aiming at a society and a politics in which each one can make his own contribution, the best he can and knows how. With honesty and consistency, willing to enter into discussion.

Then wonder and admiration for the pope will be authentic and will help him in reforms, in that he is bishop of Rome, as he takes care to reiterate, the pastor of a whole people that walks with him.

Exalting him too much risks distancing him from that people which to a large extent was already close to his ideas and was waiting for him. And damaging his work.

________


The newspaper in which the commentary by Marco Garzonio appeared:

> Corriere della Sera

__________


On the conversation between Francis and Eugenio Scalfari to which Garzonio refers:

> Encyclicals Have a New Format: The Interview (7.10.2013)

_______


The ecclesial conference in Loreto in 1985, to which Garzonio refers, effectively marked the affirmation of the stance of Martini, who presided over it, but also his public disavowal on the part of John Paul II. With Martini was also disowned the leadership of the Italian episcopal conference at the time.

At that conference, the theologian who delivered the keynote address, in full support of Martini's approach, was Bruno Forte.

Today Forte is the archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, and on October 14 Pope Francis appointed him special secretary of the synod of bishops scheduled for October of 2014, on the theme: “The challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”

__________


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.

__________
3 posted on 10/17/2013 9:14:44 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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