- Feb 25, 2020
In the wake of Pope Francis’s decision to summon the presidents of all bishops’ conferences of the world to talk about “the protection of minors,” there are some reasons why it may be the highest-stakes gamble of his papacy.
Romano Guardini wasn’t elected pope in March 2013, but the influence of the great Italian-born German intellectual runs through the pontificate of Pope Francis.
At a time when Pope Francis is under fire on multiple fronts, a Malaysian bishop says he and his fellow prelates came to Rome this week in part to affirm “that we’re happy with the direction he’s taking for the universal Church.”
For some Catholics it may seem that the USCCB has always existed in its current form. However, it was created under challenging circumstances and has changed dramatically over the years. It also became a model for bishops’ conferences in other nations after Vatican II.
Given Pope Francis’s usual disinclination to answer his critics, it may seem a little puzzling as to why he quickly and publicly responded to Cardinal Robert Sarah about the implications of the pontiff’s recent decisions on liturgical translation. The nature of Sarah’s position, the pope’s readiness to be precise, and his personal investment in the issue may all help explain why Francis appears so ready to reply this time.
In general, the president of a national bishops’ conference may be an important post domestically, but it doesn’t have great international interest. The one exception tends to be Italy, where the president of the conference is presumed to be a role model for bishops trying to reflect the current pope’s vision, and now the Italians have a new prelate at the helm.