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17 March 2013

Cardinal concerns -The new Pope

Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope. Jesuists, members of the Society of Jesus is a Christian male religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits and are also known colloquially as "God's Marines", these being references to founderIgnatius of Loyola's military background and members' willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world and live in extreme conditions. The society is engaged inevangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue. Following conntroversies are debated:

Power-seeking

The Monita Secreta (Secret Instructions of the Jesuits), published in 1612 and in 1614, in Kraków, is alternately alleged to have been written either by Claudio Acquaviva, the fifth general of the society, or written by Jerome Zahorowski. The purported Secret Instructions of the Jesuits are the methods to be adopted by the Jesuits for the acquisition of greater power and influence for the Society and for the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the book is a forgery, fabricated to ascribe a sinister reputation to Society of Jesus.

Political intrigue

In England, Henry Garnet, one of the leading English Jesuits, was hanged for misprision of treason, because of his knowledge of the Gunpowder Plot (1605). The Plot was the attempted assassination of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack, by exploding the Houses of Parliament. Another Jesuit, Oswald Tesimond, managed to escape arrest for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

Casuistic justification

Jesuits have been accused of using casuistry to obtain justifications for unjustifiable actions. (cf. formulary controversy and Lettres Provinciales, by Blaise Pascal). Hence, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of the English language, records “equivocating” as a secondary denotation of the word “Jesuit”. Contemporary critics of the Society of Jesus include Jack ChickAvro Manhattan,Alberto Rivera, and Malachi Martin, author of The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church(1987).

Anti-Semitism

Although in the first 30 years of the existence of the Society of Jesus there were many Jesuit conversos (Catholic-convert Jews), an anti-converso faction led to the Decree de genere (1593) which proclaimed that either Jewish or Muslim ancestry, no matter how distant, was an insurmountable impediment for admission to the Society of Jesus. The 16th-century Decree de genere remained in exclusive force until the 20th century, when it was repealed in 1946.

Theological rebellion

Within the Roman Catholic Church, there has existed a sometimes tense relationship between Jesuits and the Vatican due to questioning of official Church teaching and papal directives, such as those on abortion, birth controlwomen deacons, homosexuality, and liberation theology. Usually this theological free thinking is academically oriented, being prevalent at the university level. From this standpoint, the function of this debate is less to challenge the magisterium than illustrate the church's ability to compromise in a pluralist society based on shared values which do not always align with religious teachings. The previous two Popes have appointed Jesuits to powerful positions in the Church; John Paul II appointed Roberto Tucci, S.J., to the College of Cardinals, after serving as the chief organizer of papal trips and public events. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have appointed 10 Jesuit Cardinals to notable jobs. Benedict XVI appointed Jesuits to notable positions in his curia, such as Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J. as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Rev.Federico Lombardi, S.J., Vatican Press Secretary. Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope.

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Cardinal concerns -The new Pope
KAROL Jozef Wojtyla, the first non-Italian pope in more than four centuries, did not get elected to the throne in 1978 merely through a throw of electoral dice.

The central purpose of his papacy was not advertised when he became John Paul II, but has become a proud part of the official narrative today.

He rose to prominence in 1964, when he was named archbishop of Krakow: three years after the Berlin Wall cemented the partition of Germany and two years after the Cuban missile crisis brought the world as close as it has come, before or after, to nuclear devastation.

It was the coldest period of the Cold War, and John Paul II was assigned the most difficult job of his era; as shepherd to his Catholic country, Poland, through the dictatorship and depression of communist rule. His mission was upgraded when he reached Rome: to destroy the Soviet Union from within, through the subversive influence of the church and its allies.

Through an exquisite paradox, the workers’ paradise of Lenin and Stalin was blown apart by men like Lech Walesa and their trade unions. Even the normally discreet CIA has let it be known through friendly authors that it worked in partnership with the papacy against the Soviet empire.

John Paul lived on till April 2005 but his principal mission was complete when the Soviet Union lay in smithereens by 1992.

The Vatican did not wait for the minimum five years to begin the process of his beatification, which took only a fast four years.

One requirement is performing a miracle. Officially, John Paul is said to have cured a French nun of Parkinson’s disease. This does seem a bit far-fetched given that the saintly pope could not cure his own Parkinson’s; but John Paul’s real miracle was to help bring down the seemingly impregnable Soviet dispensation.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has not become the first non-European pope in 12 centuries through accident either; or indeed because his genetic origins are Italian. The most powerful religious order in the world has not survived by being sentimental. The 115 cardinals of this year’s electoral college displayed a sharp understanding of geopolitics and assessment of where they believe lies their true challenge in the foreseeable future.

Observers, including sympathetic ones, tend to transfer their own concerns to the Vatican. It was thus widely inferred by the commentariat after the sudden abdication of Benedict that the new pope would be chosen on the basis of his ability to address contemporary concerns like the ban on abortion, or gender equality in the clergy, or the horrifying abuse of children by priests who are required to be celibate.

Instead, we have a pope who is deeply conservative on such social issues. The Vatican views child abuse as a problem, not a plague. As defenders of the status quo point out, this crime is limited at best to just four per cent of the priesthood. It is therefore something that the church can deal with without upgrading a dilemma to a crisis.

The Vatican, in my view, sees the coming decade as a historic opportunity to negate a far greater threat.

Latin America is home not only to the largest bloc of Roman Catholics, but has also seen the rise of a radical new left. The old left has been in retreat after the Soviet Union’s collapse. China has preserved some important elements of traditional doctrine, principally atheism, but has escaped economic implosion by converting state socialism into state capitalism. China is a story that awaits denouement.

But, quite surprisingly, Cuba defies the odds, and shows no signs of changing its colour. It has discovered strong allies like Venezuela, whose pugnacious Hugo Chavez has been transformed into some sort of secular saint after his recent death.

A subcontinent tortured by vicious military dictatorships continues to nourish leftists through democracy. Would it be a stretch to assume that the first Latin American pope’s true calling is to destabilise Cuba and challenge the left in Latin America?

The Vatican does not camouflage antagonism. When critics questioned the new pope’s record during the junta days in Argentina, Federico Lombardi, its spokesman, said, “There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against [Francis I.

His accusers are] anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the church.” The church has fashioned its response. If Cuba crumbles, then the barricades are breached.

Pope Francis is being promoted as “pro-poor”; this is obviously essential if he wants to wean the Latin poor away from the left.

John Paul used trade unions; Francis could use slums. Barack Obama has done his bit by describing Francis as “a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us”.

The first stories about him talk of simplicity. This is not to suggest that the stories are untrue; merely that this is the ideal profile in the church’s coming confrontation.

What odds that the first Asian pope, perhaps in the 2020s, will be from China?

By M.J. Akbar editor of The Sunday Guardian, published from Delhi, India on Sunday, published from London and editorial director, India Today and Headlines Today. http://dawn.com/2013/03/17/cardinal-concerns/

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Pope Francis wants `poor Church for the poor`
VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis called for `a poor Church for the poor` in an address to journalists from around the world on Saturday, as part of a charm offensive characterised by an informal style in contrast with the Vatican`s monumental halls of power.

The newly-elected pope smiled and joked with 3,000 journalists and Vatican communications officials at an audience, as well as imparting a blessing for any atheists present.

The 76-year-old said he picked his papal name at the end of a dramatic conclave on Wednesday because he was inspired by St Francis of Assisi, who was `a man of poverty and a man of peace`.

`How I would like a poor Church for the poor!` said the Argentinian with the common touch, the first pope from Latin America and the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1,300 years.

But the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio faced fresh accusations at home that he had failed to speak out about the brutalities committed by Argentina`s military leaders during the `Dirty War` The special audience with journalists in a Vatican auditorium was billed as another sign of the greater openness in Bergoglio`s first days as leader of the world`s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Francis described the emotional moments of his election in a conclave in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, offering a rare insight from a pope into deliberations shrouded in the strictest secrecy.

He explained that when the cardinals elected him, he had been sitting next to Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who had comforted him when it became clear he would be the 266th pope of Rome.

`He hugged me and kissed me and told me not to forget the poor. And that word went in here,` Francis said, pointing to his head.

`I immediately thought of Francis of Assisi,` he said, adding that the 13th century saint had been `a man of pover-ty, a man of peace, a man who loved and protected Creation.` `Right now our relations with Creation are not going very well,` he added.

The Vatican on Saturday said he had also temporarily re-appointed the entire Roman Curia-the intrigue-filled administration of the Catholic Churchwhich has faced growing criticism.

`The Holy Father wishes a certain time for reflection, prayer and dialogue before any definitive nomination or confirmation,` it said.

Vatican watchers are keeping a close eye on nominations to top posts as an indication of what changes in substance-apart from the already evident ones in style-his papacy could herald.

Analyst Marco Politi, the author of a biography of Francis`s predecessor Benedict XVI, has said it is clear that the new pope-who officially has absolute powers-will rule in a more inclusive way together with other Church figures.

`The Church will be governed by thepope together with the bishops. That is what we will see in the next months and years,` Politi said, adding that he would probably seek to create some `mechanism of consultation` with the world`s prelates.The Vatican said Francis would meet next Saturday with the 85-year-old Benedict, who last month became the first pope to resign for 700 years because he said his physical and mental strengths were failing him.

The two men know each other well and Bergoglio is believed to have been runner-up to the German in the 2005 election, but the pope`s style contrasts sharply with that of his more academic predecessor.

Speaking in a folksy Italian, he has urged Catholic leaders to shun worldly glories and lead a spiritual renewal in the Church that will reach `the ends of the earth`, or risk becoming little more than a charity with no spiritual foundation.

The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent years by multiple scandals including thousands of cases of abuse of children by paedophile priests.

Catholics have also been abandoning churches in huge numbers in an increasingly secularised West-in contrast to Latin America, where some 40 percent of the world`s Catholics now live.

A moderate conservative in Argentina where he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis-the son of an Italian emigrant railway worker-is unlikely to change any of the fundamental tenets of Catholic doctrine but experts say he could push for more social justice and a friendlier faith.

Francis`s inauguration mass will take place on St Peter`s Square on Tuesday and a million are expected to throng Rome for the celebration.
http://epaper.dawn.com/~epaper/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=17_03_2013_014_002
Several heads of state will come including one who has had a tense relationship with Bergoglio-Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner, who will also meet the pope in private on Monday.-AFP 

Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper