Pope Francis is approaching his one year mark as pope. The 77 year old is making serious steps towards change and is very concerned with overhauling and upending the institutional culture of Catholicism. Overall, the Pope would like to convert the church so that faith is positioned to continue to flourish in the future – no matter who precedes.
Many sources believe that the Pope is overseeing three critical strategies – leveling with the hierarchy, teaching Catholic leaders to talk and trust, and evangelizing the world to convert the church.
The Pope preaches to his fellow hierarchs that they should not think of themselves as a “royal court.” Bishops are meant to serve and not dominate through their leadings. Hierarchical “careerism” is a “form of cancer,” said Francis as compared bishops who strut about the church finery to “peacocks.” All and all, the Pope doesn’t want the hierarchy to be about something – he wants them actively doing something to change the world for the better.
The command and control style that John Paul II and Benedict XVI is that of the past. Unlike other popes, Francis is welcoming criticism and opposition. Francis told an Italian newspaper, “fraternal and open confrontations help develop theological and pastoral thinking. I do not feat this, on the contrary I seek it.” To promote constructive change and to hear all sides, Francis has summoned his cardinals and bishops to Rome for regular meetings, including a 10-day stretch at the end of February to talk about Vatican finances, reforming the Curia and launching a two year dialogue on pastoral issues such as Communion for divorced or remarried Catholics.
“The big change is the emphasis on collegiality, on collaboration,” said Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. He advised that the statutes will turn reform proposals into church law. Cocoopalmerio reiterated that Francis wants everyone to realize that they can listen and speak freely without fear of others.
While many criticize Francis’ actions – washing the feet of young inmates or interviews with atheists, he is not letting titles and constraints restrain him from reaching out to the world. The Pope says that he must go outside because the church can only be true to itself when it leaves behind the internal disputes and uneven power struggles that affect spirits.
Pope Francis is making every move to not just be a role model but be a movement of change that will revolutionize history.