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Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Progressive Pope Francis - Creates a New Normal and There's No Turning Back

Pope Francis is shuffling Vatican bureaucrats.  

Pope warns Vatican bureaucrats to remember their vocation.

He stresses the priority of being compassionate to the needy.

The pontiff removes some administrators and urges those remaining to shun mediocrity, gossip and squabbles.

By Nicole Winfield
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis warned Vatican administrators Saturday that their work can take a downward spiral into mediocrity, gossip and bureaucratic squabbling if they forget that theirs is a professional vocation of service to the church.
click image to enlarge
Pope Francis speaks with a child during his visit to the Bambino Gesu’ pediatric hospital in Rome on Saturday. He continues revamping the Vatican administration.
The Associated Press

Francis made the comments in his Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, the bureaucracy that forms the central government of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. The speech was eagerly anticipated given that Francis was elected in March on a mandate to overhaul the antiquated and oftentimes dysfunctional Vatican administration. Already, heads have started to roll: Just last week, Francis reshuffled the advisory body of the powerful Congregation for Bishops, the office that vets all the world’s bishop nominations. He removed the archconservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a key figure in the U.S. culture wars over abortion and gay marriage, and also nixed the head of Italy’s bishops’ conference and another hard-line Italian, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, earlier axed as head of the Vatican office responsible for priests.
Other changes are on the horizon: In the coming weeks Francis will name his first batch of cardinals and in February he'll preside over the third summit of his “Group of Eight” cardinal advisers, who are expected to put forward a first round of proposals for revamping the Holy See bureaucracy.

Francis said he wants a Vatican Curia that's more responsive to the needs of local bishops, who have long complained about Rome’s slow or unhelpful interventions in their work caring for souls. Francis said he wants the church as a whole to be less consumed with moralizing than showing mercy to the needy.

Blogger response - Perhaps Pope Francis will progress the Vatican to consider allowing women to become Deacons, especially for the thousands of religious nuns who work with poor people throughout the world. Although it's highly doubtful the Roman Catholic Church will ever  allow for the ordination of women as clergy, there is nothing to prevent women from becoming Deacons. The  role of a Deacon is already assumed by many women religious but they are not ordained. Therefore, these dedicated women religious aren't permitted to con-celebrate at the Consecration of the Eucharist or to read the Gospel at the celebration of the Mass.  

Allowing women to fulfill their role as inspired religious Deacons
can promote the evangelizing of the faith by providing more people with access to Catholic religious worship traditions. 

Pope Francis has absolutely moved the Roman Catholic Church forward. Certainly, his pace of change is long overdue, although likely causing many in Vatican City to keep Prozac handy in their top desk drawers. 

Regardless of how the Vatican establishment responds to the changes Pope Francis brings to the world of Roman Catholics, the fact is, the populace tone he sets for the Papacy will never move backward. Pope Francis quickly created a new normal for what it means to be a Pope. He's bound to hit some bumps on his progressive road.  Nevertheless, God Bless Him.

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