“In the name of the Church, I beg your forgiveness for the scandals that have recently occurred both in Rome and in the Vatican, I beg your forgiveness. Woe betide the world for scandals! Jesus is realistic and says that scandals cannot be avoided: but woe betide the man because of whom those scandals happen”. The Pope’s call arose during the Wednesday hearing, a direct line between the pastor and his flock which Bergoglio, notoriously allergic to formalisms, has often been used to transmit uncomfortable messages. An impromptu speech in the context of a larger discussion to which the Pontiff has not added any other details which would have been useful to understand who, or what, were the recipients of this message. But Francis does not need to address anyone; it is enough that those “who have the ears to hear” receive his message.
It is impossible not to think about to the letter sent to the Holy Father by the 13 conservative cardinals during the Synod days, in which they invited him to review some of the decision-making processes in the house of bishops. Two days after the journalist Sandro Magister had spread the text, the mystery did not dissipate yet, especially the part of it concerning the authors. Yesterday there were news circulating on the web about the Pope being so furious about this letter as to feel sick. Probably those are mere illations, but in such a delicate phase in the history of the Church, that is, during the discussion of the pastoral ministry on the family and of such a sensitive topic as the Communion for the divorced and for the remarried, it is certain that those things do not please the Pope.
The same is true also for the specious statements made by don Gino Flaim, a priest of the parish of St Joseph and St Pius X in Trento, during an interview with La7. The priest said he was capable of “understanding paedophilia” because some “children look for affection and certain priests can give in”. The priest was suspended by his diocese, but his words went viral on the Web just a few days after the harsh condemnation of child abuse that arrived during the apostolic journey to the United States. For a Pope who is trying, with difficulty, to ‘clean’ the Church from those who concealed those “crimes,” an episode such as this one was certainly difficult to digest.
The same goes for the inappropriate coming out made by mons. Krzysztof Charamsa, the official theologian of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith and the deputy secretary of the Vatican International Theological Commission, who said he was homosexual and urged the Church to “open its eyes on gay believers” and to understand that the “solution it puts forward, total abstinence from love in life, is inhumane”. A forcing that tried to make pressure on the Pope on the eve of a Synod during which was to be debated also the way to relate to those people.
In the background there are always contradictions in the clergy’s and the hierarchy’s bosom on how and to what extent to open to a world that keeps changing. Quarrels between conservatives and progressives in an ecclesiastical re-edition of the national parliament members, whom Francis had explicitly asked not to take as an example during the Synod. And the search for compromise, negotiation, for the politically correct solution, which end up prevailing on the Spirit.
But the Catholic world is not the only thing that alarms the Pope. In his message he talked also about Rome, the city of which he is the Bishop and which hosts the Vatican. The Pope had a decisive role in the resignation of the Mayor Marino. He belied in worldwide live streaming the alleged invitation of the former Mayor of Rome to the congress on families in Philadelphia. By so doing, he made it clear even to the Democratic Party that the Mayor’s adventure at the Capitol was becoming a dangerous boomerang. Truth to be told, the relationship between the two of them had never really blossomed. From the registration of civil unions to the sponsorship of the gay pride precisely during the year of the Jubilee and the Synod on the family, the Senators’ Palace seemed to challenge Saint Peter continuously. But, perhaps, the Pope did not like also the fact that his words had been used by the political oppositions. So much, that now some of Marino’s VIP supporters, as the actress Sabrina Ferilli for instance, reproaches him for stressing it. A typical Italian game in which Bergoglio, from the high of his moral stature, does not want to partake.