- Jan 25, 2021
Is Pope Francis an historic reformer? Well, it depends on whether Vatican II, the Franciscan reform, the child sexual abuse scandals, Vatican finances, or something else altogether is your core test of reform.
Some 300 posters were hung around Rome and the Vatican praising Pope Francis for his “true Christian engagement” with mercy and love. The posters, sponsored by The Global Tolerance Initiative, strike a different chord after only two months since posters criticizing the pope went up in Rome.
In an interview, the Grand Chancellor of the historic Order of Malta, Albrecht von Boeselager, talks about the order’s crisis, the path going forward, the pope’s plan for reform and what is being done to help migrants, refugees and those displaced by war and poverty.
One of the key principles of reform is the idea of return, or rediscovery. To reform is not to change one’s nature or alter one’s identity, but to return to the truth of oneself that may have become distorted or atrophied over time.
Pope Francis on Thursday conceded that his efforts at Vatican reform have attracted opposition — both “open resistance,” offered in a spirit of constructive dialogue, and “hidden” and “malicious” resistance, which he said “sprouts in distorted minds.”
While there were almost 20,000 Catholic priests in Germany in 1990, today their number has dropped to 14,000, and all signals suggest the decline will continue — with some saying the drop indicates the need for reform, and others suggesting it’s been artificially induced in order to change the Church.