At Monday Vatican Andrea Galiarducci, has an interesting piece. It is worth reading, but be prepared for a clunky translation, some rambling, and a buried lead. To be sure this writer is smart, well-informed, and solid. He could benefit from a better translator and an editor.
What Galiarducci does in this piece is talk about how Francis’ pontificate builds on and contrasts from Benedict’s. He underscores an important point in most coverage of Francis: It is as if the Church was never interested in “the poor” before Francis came along, which is patently absurd. The absurdity about that discontinuity just scratches the surface of what is absurd about some coverage of Popes Francis and Benedict.
Galiarducci goes into the weeds a bit with information about the reform of Vatican finances, but wade through them.
I was struck by a couple paragraphs which come toward the end of the longish article. Samples:
Media need to understand that between one Pope and another there is a series of reforms that need to be carried out to ber effective, and that Francis cannot carry anything forward without appreciating and valuing the work of his predecessor. For instance, as Francis, Benedict XVI had spoken of a poor Church for poor. He did during his 2011 trip to Germany, when he outlined a Church that had to be less worldy, less appeased on its own structure. [We can, and must, read Francis through Benedict, but with a difference.]
It was a slap on the face, for the wealthy German Church. Benedict XVI revoked the latae sententiae commination of excommunication for those who do not pay the “Kirchensteuer,” the Church tax. The excommunication was an outcome of the fact that when one declared he was not going to pay the tax because he was not Catholic anymore, this declaration was considered the equivalent of an act of apostasy. The German bishops responded with a document which stated that not paying the Kirchensteuer was equivalent to a “grave public sin,” which bore in the end the same consequences of an excommunication. Until now, this is the only “grave public sin” German bishops have listed, while for every other “grave public sin,” included that of being divorced and civilly remarried (which also has a social impact), German bishops (including reformer Cardinals Marx, Kasper and Lehmann) ask to act with mercy.
How Benedict’s pontificate fares or fared is – now – the least of our problems. There’s an awful lot going on and we had better keep our heads on a swivel. But some sobriety needs to be applied to assessments of the present pontificate. Much of what we read these days is sycophantic slop.