The Italian Job / Commonweal

Can Pope Francis manage his local opposition as he attempts Church reforms?

A few weeks after Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the political philosopher Giorgio Agamben published a short book called “The Mystery of Evil: Benedict XVI and the End of Times.” In that volume, Agamben calls the pope’s resignation a prophetic moment, and argues that it highlights the crisis of institutional legitimacy … As the cardinals assembled in Rome to elect a new pope, curial reform became the conclave’s watchword. That is Francis’s mandate. It is also one of his greatest challenges. Whether he is able to rouse the church from its institutional coma depends entirely on his ability to manage his opposition …

“According to Bishop Fernández (Víctor Manuel Fernández, rector of the Catholic University of Argentina, whom Franics appointed bishop in May 2013), Francis believes in the participation of the people of God (bishops, priests, and laity) in the church’s decision-making processes. The pope is interested in reforming more than the Curia. That is important, but it won’t solve all the church’s structural problems. The church needs more ‘synodality.’ That is, the church must develop processes through which all Catholics ‘can feel represented and listened to…giving more autonomy to the local churches.’ In this sense, it is time for ‘more listening to the people of God.’

“But listening entails risk. If the pope really does want to allow all Catholics a place at the table, then he’ll have to listen to a lot of people who aren’t especially pleased with his leadership so far.”

By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal magazine — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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