A somber anniversary – Catholic World Report

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

The prevailing mood in today’s Vatican is one of trepidation.

Pope Francis holds his crosier as he leads a Lenten penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican March 25, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

March 13 ought to have been a happy day in Rome. But the mood in and around Vatican City before, during and after the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’s election was more somber than festive — and not because the anniversary fell during Lent. Rather, the melancholy reflected the current atmosphere in the Holy See, which has gone unremarked for too long and deserves candid description.

The prevailing mood in today’s Vatican is one of trepidation. That’s not only what those who question the pontificate’s direction think. It’s also the judgment of some who are comfortable with the past 10 years, and who applaud Pope Francis’s efforts to display God’s mercy in his public persona, but who also know that “kinder, gentler” does not characterize papal governance behind the scenes. Because papal autocracy has created a miasma of fear, parrhesia (the “speaking freely” Francis encourages) is not the Roman order of the day, except in private. Even then it is rare, because trust among Vatican officials has broken down. When a brave soul dares to question or criticize the current line of papal policy, it’s almost invariably in the company of those of like mind. Serious, fraternal, charitable debate over the current condition of the Church and of the “synodal process” is largely non-existent. Silos are everywhere.

Living and working in this slough of dysfunction is enervating, and the inconsistencies and contradictions in papal pronouncements and policy that have become achingly apparent are not helping lift hearts.


A somber anniversary – Catholic World Report

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