Rorate Caeli

A strong and determined Pontiff

NCR's resident newsmaker John Allen Jr. has spent a week in Argentina trying to find out who the real Jorge Mario Bergoglio is. In his concluding text, he says:

[M]ost early profiles of Pope Francis describe him as a theological and political conservative, largely based on two points of his biography: that he resisted some expressions of liberation theology as a Jesuit provincial in the 1970s, and that he’s had a rocky relationship with the center-left government of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, especially over the issue of gay marriage.

While both things are true, people who know the lay of the land here insist there’s little meaningful sense in which Bergoglio could be described as a “conservative”, at least as measured by the standards of the church.

He did not need to go all the way to Buenos Aires to find out about that... If he had read Rorate in 2006, he would have found that out:

If Cardinal Bergoglio is considered a "conservative" in Argentina, one can only guess what an Argentinian "progressive" is like.

One thing seems to be agreed by all sources, including Argentinian newspapers, Italian reports, those interviewed by other media in the past few weeks: Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a man of steely convictions and determination, possibly the strongest Bishop of Rome since at least Pius XI, possibly the pope with the most hands-on approach since Saint Pius X, and who will not change one bit the man he has always been. Which is why his past and the way he acted in the past greatly matter. He is also, as we have said before, a highly liturgical pope, and he will make all efforts to make his liturgical vision stick.

By the way, Allen had a good-humored exchange with Pope Bergoglio's sister that reveals much of the Pope's personality, something already remarked in this blog:

When he was younger, wasn’t he also fond of a parakeet?

Yes, when he was in the novitiate, they had a parakeet and Jorge loved it. He taught it to say some things … knowing him, it probably wasn’t a prayer but some sort of insult!