The consistory in Rome showed that Pope Francis’ vision is taking root

Rome- La Barque de Pierre is currently floating along several currents.

The pontificate of Pope Francis renewed the focus on pastoral theology, placing the ideas of the post-conciliar Church in Latin America at the center of the universal Church. She placed concern for the environment at the heart of the social teachings of the Church and reoriented the work of the Roman Curia, as embodied in the apostolic constitution Evangelium Predicate. She emphasized the church as a bearer of God’s tenderness, rather than a bastion of doctrinal clarity. And, perhaps most importantly, he revived synodality as a means of church governance.

All of these have one thing in common: they are necessitated not only by the collapse of modern, post-modern, and post-post-modern cultural critiques or by the spiritual decay of clericalism, as the abuse crisis has revealed. sex of the clergy. A functional rationale for these new approaches – which was fully exposed during the August 27 consistory – is the globalization of the Catholic Church.

In the United States, we have rightly focused on the elevation of our own Cardinal Robert McElroy. At the consistory, the new cardinal who approached Pope Francis to receive his red hat just before McElroy was Cardinal Filipe Neri António Sebastião do Rosário Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Damão in India. Immediately following McElroy was Cardinal Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, Archbishop of Dili in East Timor. Dili has a cardinal, but Milan and Venice do not. It’s amazing.

In his interview with NCR’s Christopher White, McElroy acknowledged that American Catholics aren’t always good at globalization. He admitted that American church leaders “tend not to think of us as part of a global community very often.”

After the official event creating the new cardinals on August 27, pilgrims from all over the world had the chance to come and meet the prelates in person. The most identifiable contingent was from the Diocese of Ekwulobia in Nigeria. The pilgrims who came to celebrate the elevation of their bishop, Cardinal Peter Ebere Okpaleke, were all dressed in vestments made from a special red fabric for the event, which featured the image of the new cardinal on the front and the flags from Nigeria. and the Vatican on the back. Along with the shared cloth design, these pilgrims had a shared exuberance, breaking into cries and chants during and after the ceremony. Later, a percussion group from Ebere filled the square in front of the Holy Office with joyful drumbeats.

Francis recognized this globalization in his address to new cardinals. “Dear brothers and sisters, let us contemplate Jesus once more,” the pope said. “He alone knows the secret of this modest grandeur, this unpretentious power, this universal vision always attentive to detail.” Globalization must never become homogenization.

Nor is globalization the same thing as multiculturalism. The vision is universal, built around a shared relationship with the Lord and a common heritage of apostolic tradition. The goal is a shared communion, evident in the ease with which the new cardinals mingled with each other and with the other cardinals who had come for the ceremony.

This globalization is evident everywhere. The consistory was held in St. Peter’s Basilica. After the ceremony, the Vatican press officers gathered us the journalists and led us to the other side of the basilica by the stairs leading to the crypt. In the blink of an eye, we were rushing past the confession which contains the bones of Saint Peter. There was no time to stop and take a picture of this most sacred site in Rome. I said to myself: there is a metaphor there. The work continues, but it can never stray from its apostolic foundation which is also the purpose of the work: to unite us to the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord.

Conservative critics of the Holy Father may feel that this globalization is changing the Church in ways that will make it increasingly difficult for them to maintain the ever-strange, and sometimes grotesque, idea that what the Vatican and the universal Church really need is a healthy dose of Americanism. Remember George Weigel’s bizarre suggestion that English become the working language of the Vatican?

Or Napa Institute founder Tim Busch’s vision of a new version of Catholic social teaching rooted in his libertarian ideas? “We can be the teaching pulpit of the American church, but also the teaching pulpit of the Vatican and the world church,” Busch said at a Catholic University gathering in 2017. “We can be that. And we will be in the future, especially on business issues and matters.”

Alas, for them, Francis is firmly in control and shows no signs of slowing down. The globalization to which he is committed is not called Pax Americana. Instead, it is rooted in synodality, which is why critics are now so eager to attack the global Synod of Bishops 2021-23 process. They are not afraid that it will fail. They fear it will succeed. Every curia leader I met spoke of the synodal process and how it brings new vigor to the life of the Church.

Watching cardinals and pilgrims from around the world join in easy camaraderie and poignant prayer in Rome, it was clear as day that Francis’ vision was taking root.

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