When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

LA STAMPA

Look Closely, Pope Francis' Reform Of The Catholic Church Has Already Begun

Leading by example can be more powerful than any doctrinal diktat.

Some tenderness - Pope Francis at his inaugural mass Tuesday morning.
Some tenderness - Pope Francis at his inaugural mass Tuesday morning.
Andrea Tornielli

VATICAN CITY - What is the power of the pope? Exactly what kind of power are we talking about? It is the power “of service.”

In these first days of the new pontificate, and Tuesday’s inaugural mass that officially begins that service, Francis has already given important and precise signs for the future.

On Monday, in the Casa Santa Marta, the new pope had a long and cordial meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I. This too was a sign charged with true significance.

Up until now, Papa Bergogliohas yet to refer to himself as the pope or the supreme pontiff, but rather always as the bishop of Rome. This choice is a clear signal that Francis wants to both improve the “collegiality” between the Vatican and the world’s Catholic bishops and foster greater “ecumenism” between Catholicism and other Christian faiths.

A pope who considers his principal mission to be the bishop of Rome, and thus “preside in charity,” sends a strong message toward his Orthodox brothers in the East.

Still, one should not be fooled by the explicit references to tenderness in his homily Tuesday, and his offering a poignant portrait of St. Joseph. Yes, Bergoglio is a simple man, who speaks of tender acts and God’s mercy, who wants a Church of “proximity” with the capacity to bow down before human misery, to understand ordinary men and women. But the fact that he is so natural being himself should not be mistaken for weakness.

“Ecclesia semper reformanda…” The Church must always be reforming itself, and Francis’ example, more than any single decision to institute change, is already setting off a renewed process of self-reform. If the pope does it this way, if he behaves like that, it will invite and remind everyone in the Church to follow him.

The faithful now have before their eyes a new Episcopal style; and they will look at their own parish priests, hoping to see reflections of the same sobriety.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why It's Now Almost Impossible For Ukraine To Win The War

It’s hard to admit, but every day, the chance of a Ukrainian victory moves further away. Kyiv is running out of troops and equipment. The enemy is better prepared and has significant reinforcements at its disposal. It’s no surprise, then, that the talk among Western diplomats is of a truce.

Photo of a Ukrainian woman mourning her son in Irpin Cemetery

A Ukrainian woman mourning her son in Irpin Cemetery

Christoph B. Schiltz

-Analysis-

At the start of the year, Ukraine seemed optimistic about its prospects in the terrible war of Russian aggression that has been inflicted on the country for almost a year now.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest