- Jul 12, 2020
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.
A plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture has recommended that Pope Francis revoke an official 1962 Vatican warning about the work of the late French Jesuit scientist, philosopher and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Should Francis do so, it won’t really affect Teilhard’s standing, since he was largely “rehabilitated” a long time ago, but it could have important symbolic value.
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.
A former executive director of the U.S. bishops’ department on liturgy said Monday that by taking primary control over the translation of liturgical texts away from the Vatican and restoring it to local bishops’ conferences, Pope Francis is doing more than settling historical scores from two decades ago. He is trying to “integrate” the Church’s experience since Vatican II “and really balance everything.”
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.
Gregory Baum, an ex-priest who was a participant at Vatican II, has died at the age of 94. Baum attended all three sessions of the council as a peritus, or theological expert, consulting on “Nostra Aetate”; the Decree on Ecumenism; and the Declaration on Religious Freedom. He later caused controversy over his views on women’s ordination and same-sex marriage.